Unemployed and Bored

Wow, have I ever been remiss!

This blog has been around for over a year now. That's like 30 in blog years. Most bloggers give up after a few months. It's understandable. You work your butt off for every pair of eyeballs in this business.

Anyway, I have managed to cover a lot of unemployment-related topics. One of the areas that inflames my passions is the emotional health aspect of unemployment; I really love writing about this and think that I know a thing or two about it. The emotional health issue is not as widely addressed as it should be. I really wish the government or somebody would offer grants for therapy (I do not know of any. If you do, please mention them in the comments.) because a lot of unemployed people could use it. Being unemployed, especially for an extended period, puts heat under a roiling cauldron of negative emotions that does not help anyone survive.

To my credit, I have addressed many of these emotional issues: anger, depression, fear, discouragement and probably a couple of others, like stress.

A big one has been neglected, though: Boredom. What unemployed person has not experienced it in spades?

Staying productive ameliorates boredom but does not slay it. Human beings (and, I happen to believe, all animals) need to have some fun. Being unemployed makes that difficult because having fun so often involves spending money in our culture. If someone else pays, it feels weird and detracts from the fun. That's how it is for me, anyway.

So how can you amuse yourself and beat back boredom? I'll make a list. (And I really hope somebody adds to it in the comments. Comments make me so happy!)

Ways to have fun when you are unemployed and bored out of your mind:

  • Take a hike. I need to follow this advice but it's not easy for me living in the megalopolis without a car. If you live where it's convenient to hike, take advantage.
  • Go jump in a lake. With winter coming, this isn't too feasible, but this post will still be up next summer. Seriously, swimming holes deserve to be included among top-five most awesome free things there ever could be.
  • Hop on the bus, Gus. Take a cheapo tour of your town by getting on a random bus and seeing where it takes you. Get a transfer so that you can get off and explore interesting new neighborhoods.
  • Play a musical instrument. If you do not know how, learn! I am convinced that if time travel is ever invented, it will involve music. For me, time literally disappears when I pick up my guitar. I'll start noodling, then I look up and four hours have passed.
  • Write. If writing is not fun for you, don't do it, obviously. For me, it's a barrel of monkeys. Sometimes I giggle as I type. Silly, but who cares!
  • Pull a prank on someone. Pranks are way better than jokes because you get more mileage out of them. People laugh about a good prank every time you recount it.
  • Exercise. Some people do not consider this fun, but I would rather die than not have some form of physical exercise.
  • Go fishin'. You might have to pay a small fee for a fishing license, but it will pay for itself many times over on those days when you catch your limit. Dig your own bait or tie your own flies for extra credit.
  • Have a friend over. Brew a pot of coffee and chew the fat for a while.

OK, I've done my part. Add your own ideas!

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Good ideas, for the most part

But what happens if you actually catch a fish while fishing? I don't mind fishing. I do mind taking it off the hook (unless I wear gloves or something), and I really would mind having to clean it. YUK! Of course, there is catch and release, so it may be ok.

Having a friend over is good - I love to visit with my friends. But every one of them still has a job, so my "friends" are my computer and my TV.

I love to cook, and there is a house down the street that is open eveings for free meals to anyone who needs one. Its kind of like a homelss shelter, only there is usually no staff, so no one can sleep there. But you can eat, so I went over and volunteered to make some evening meals, if the groceries were provided. Its great. I don't make any money, but I have found other volunteers that I can network with and maybe spin one of those contacts into a job. I feel productive, I get a lot of compliments on my food,and I get some really good conversations. I have a feeling of self-worth.

So that's my idea - volunteer. Its good for the soul, and may help keep your situation in perspective.

chuck's picture

Fishing is not for everyone.

I think it's weird that people have no problem with slaughtering animals by the billions (not saying this is you), but they get squeamish at the idea of doing it themselves, one-on-one.

Anyway, volunteering is good. It keeps popping up. I keep meaning to head over to the senior center in my neighborhood. Thanks for the reminder.

We have this "all volunteer" military. Wouldn't it be cool if we evolved to an "all volunteer" work world where people just worked because they wanted to and not for the filthy thing called money? I bet everything would get done and done well.

When life hands you sh*t, make fertilizer.

What happens when a guy is

What happens when a guy is unemployed for a while and during this time he has been, on a regular basis, going for treks and hikes, swimming, playing football, playing his guitar, meeting his friends, wander around the city and he still isnt satisfied? What might this guy be looking for?

If u have an answer please reply to signinginsecret@gmail.com

chuck's picture

That's an easy one.

The problem is that the guy is wasting all his time doing things that won't bring him money.

It's all cool to play your guitar, swim, hike, meet your friends, wander around the city, whatever. You just gotta make sure that you do all that stuff AFTER you take care of your responsibilities. I do all that stuff. You should read through this blog. I do that stuff to reward myself for doing the stuff that gets (or could get) me paid, though. That's the difference.

If this guy spent some time working a plan, he'd be as satisfied as I, and that's pretty satisfied.

You gotta get that cheddar, man.

When life hands you sh*t, make fertilizer.

Thanks for this blog!

Thanks Chuck for this blog! I can relate to your blog regarding Unemployed and depression. You where writing about me. So is sounds. I hate this way of life. I quit my job of 22 yrs. at United Airlines (2006) and I just could not bring myself to work there one more day. My thought was that I would find work after a little well deserved break form the rat race..so I thought. I have done jobs I never thought I would ever do. Most lasted a day or two. I was with Hyatt hotels for 2 yrs. until my parents whom I'm caring for and living with, took ill on a consistant basis. From Dr.appointments, hospital runs. I had no time to work a 9-5. I'm 51, living with mom and dad, claimed bank ruptcy,no income but a losey $450. pension from United. on my PC all day looking and applying for work that just dosen't seem to exsist. Boy if that all isn't a reciepe for depression I don't know what is. This is NOT what I pictured my life to be. Even GOD doesn't seem to be listening either. I hope and pray that this economy turns around and we can get back to the business of having a life! Cheers! David in Chicago.

unemployed for three fucking years!!!!!!!!!!!!!

hey your advice sucks have you ever been unemployed?if so for how long? Ive tryed everything when your broke in a small town there are no buses.DUMBASS its fucking freezing 30 degrees in Texas.

chuck's picture

I feel you, Ms. Rawlinson

Yes, I have been unemployed. This last stint was almost three years. Of course, I kept myself busy. The only alternative involved living under a bridge in the Northeast where 30 degrees is beach weather. :)

Go ahead and take out your frustration on me if you want. You're in no danger of hurting my feelings. The emotional scars are an impenetrable armor.

My advice doesn't suck, though. It worked for me, and I get a lot of e-mail telling me it's working for others. Open your mind and try to tilt the cosmic balance in your favor.

You will be in my prayers. Good luck.

When life hands you sh*t, make fertilizer.

Angela J. Shirley's picture

Chuck we appreciate you :)


Wow, I am so amazed at how well you handled this!

And that is why you are who you are, been through what we have been through - hung in there and did what was needed.

I know personally, that since I have been both unemployed for 2 years before finding a 6 month temp job at age 52, it has made me more "creative" in figuring out life.

Yes, this recession does suck and folks need to realize that just because someone does not complain does not mean they have it all. They have learn't that complaining does not change anything - only action. Yes, we all need to vent at times, but vent then move on.

Thank you Chuck from the bottom of my heart for this site and in spite of finally getting a job, still checking in on us.


Angela J. Shirley,How I Keep Income In My Life!



I have been unemployed since Sept 2010, so 6 months! Fir the record, I was laid-off. Not quite 3 years, but trust me! I know how shit boring it can be.

I have moreso taken it as a time to do all the things i never had time to do before such as reading books, organizing and getting rid of things, learning new stuff etc. It is also a great time to focus on your own health; mental and lhysical...this is reallly key while in this type of situation!! Minding your spiritual state is equally important too, as one effects the other -n btw i agree with the host - there should be some sort of therapy offered to the unemployed, granted they have proof of actively searching for work or some such thing.

Being unemployed can be very stressful n trying esp. in terms of mental health. If you have medicaid though, you can get theraly for quite cheap.

Volunteering is an excellent idea. Im at the point where im looking into this. It is good for many reasons, not only will you feel busy and feel useful, youre serving others which is really serving yourself bec it nurtures your soul too! On top of this, you can get a very real oplortunity to network with otherss, which offers the very real possibility of turning itself into a job (as mentioned by the previous poster). Not only this, but if you volunteer doing something in your field of interest it can be added to your resume n increase your chances of landing a job!

I actively look for work and do get interviews, the fact of the sheer amt of competition is the real problem vs nmbr of jobs. Oh and the mad poster should consider financial aid and school! Trade school! That is MHO.

Ive also learned n am learning right now n everyday the power of staying positive! Its a decision and a discipline!

Best of luck to everyone.

P.s. Sorry for any typos n short hand....this is alll from my mobile!

Staying Positive is truly the

Staying Positive is truly the key when you are unemployed.Negativity is the biggest challenge you will face and if you are not careful,you will find out that unemployment will not just affect you but also affect your relationship with your family,boyfriend or girlfriend and generally,your loved ones.
You Start seeing yourself as a failure,you have to be careful with money and you cant truly enjoy yourself when someone is spending on you.
The key is looking for something to do while you are unemployed.I was unemployed for two years after school,finally got a job and the job was absolutely crap.I left the job this year by May and since then i have been looking for a job.So far what i ve been doing is trying to do different things each week and since ive not discovered whatan good at,I just wrote down a list of things to do.Who knows i might actually discover something i like and make a career out of it,might not even need the job.I try to take my mind off my unemployment issue and made the decision to be happy.
I am unemployed but i am not a failure,i dont have to be sad.I choose not to allow unemployment turn me into a sad,depressed person or get discouraged.There is always a light at the end of the tunnel and as my boyfriend always tells me,I tell you who is discouraged or depressed"Pleasant Lines will fall in Beautiful places for you.

Cheers and God Bless

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