Thursday, September 2, 2010


My lovely wife and had a late lunch in town at a new place that just opened. The building was nicely remodeled, but the kitchen staff hadn't quite gotten its act together. We were warned there was a 40 minute wait to get served. No problem. We didn't have any pressing engagements and we enjoy each other's company.

While there I ran into a guy who went to high school with me so very long ago. He wasn't in any hurry. The guy is a big wig in the State Employment Office. Long leisurely lunches don't turn any heads there.

After lunch, we chatted for a bit and caught up. He mentioned the concept of fun-employment. That's when a person who's collecting unemployment really embraces it. The idea is to treat it like a long vacation. Instead of fretting about the next job, they kick back a bit and live a little. Why not? Retirement for many of us is only a dream, so might as well take that extended paid leave when it falls in your lap.

A good friend of mine was laid off when his factory closed. He referred to his unemployment checks as his "artist's grant." For years the guy did in art in his spare time. After being laid off, he really threw himself into his art -painting, sculpting, photography, mixed media and he explored many different styles. After the factory reopened, he worked just long enough to be able to afford a top notch computer with cutting edge graphics programs. He quit the factory job and did art full time once more.

He had two blissful years doing art, reading philosophy books, and hanging out in a small cabin along the river. One day he had a massive stroke, almost died, and was totally paralyzed. At least he had those two years following his dreams.

The story of his life isn't done. Over time, he recovered good control over his left side and some over his right. The guy used to be right handed so it looked bad. After two years of recovery, he's back to doing art, using his left hand. This month he's got a major art showing, with 40% new work. He calls the show, "The Bonus Pictures." One of the things that got him through the tough times was all that philosophy he read during his "artist grant" days.

Another friend of mine works seasonally. Last winter he didn't even look for work, but improved his small farm and worked on a new house. Now he's really looking forward to getting laid off at the end of this month.

My cousin is a firefighter and suffered a bad foot injury in the line of duty. A large diameter hose broke and the metal coupling smash his boot flat, as if the steel toe protector didn't even exist. There was a time when he recovered enough to get around, but wasn't up to working yet. Now my cousin is an avid pool player. I encouraged him to fly down to Florida and stay with my dad. Dad's the president of his local pool club. They had a great time shooting pool all over central Florida.

We've been brainwashed with this whole Protestant work ethic. Doesn't that idea serve the masters well? Where did slaving for some overlord become something noble? Hope you wear your chains lightly. The whole economic system is set up in such a way that we never have any time to really think. What is it that we really want in life anyway?

If you do find yourself unemployed, turn it into fun-employment.

As for me, I describe myself as self-unemployed.



  1. I absolutely agree.
    I haven't even got my first unenjoyment check yet but I plan on doing exactly what you are talking about. I am 50 years old, haven't collected unemployment for 25 years and my body is wiped out from 30 years of wrenching on just about anything you can think of.
    Screw it, I am going to kick back and enjoy it.

  2. Sixbears that is some great insight.


  3. Milk the buggers dry sez I! They don't seem to have a problem doing it to us...

  4. "I describe myself as self-unemployed"
    Thanks Sixbears, now I have a term to describe my ultimate goal.