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"Funemployment" Up as The Jobless Rate Heads Higher

Written By Brian Hicks

Posted June 8, 2009





Here’s a story that I happened across this weekend. It’s a fascinating read and sort of scary in way. 

But that might just be me since I am neither young, unemployed, nor able to live off of my parents.

In the meantime, I’ll let you decide for yourself how you feel about “funemployment”.

Apparently, it is all the rage these days.

From the L.A. Times by Kimi Yoshino entitled: For the “funemployed”, unemployment is welcome

“Michael Van Gorkom was laid off by Yahoo in late April. He didn’t panic. He didn’t rush off to a therapist. Instead, the 33-year-old Santa Monica resident discovered that being jobless “kind of settled nicely.”

Week one: “I thought, ‘OK . . . I need to send out resumes, send some e-mails, need to do networking.”

Week two: “A little less.”

Every week since: “I’m going to go to the beach and enjoy some margaritas.”

What most people would call unemployment, Van Gorkom embraced as “funemployment.”

While millions of Americans struggle to find work as they face foreclosures and bankruptcy, others have found a silver lining in the economic meltdown. These happily jobless tend to be single and in their 20s and 30s. Some were laid off. Some quit voluntarily, lured by generous buyouts.

Buoyed by severance, savings, unemployment checks or their parents, the funemployed do not spend their days poring over job listings. They travel on the cheap for weeks. They head back to school or volunteer at the neighborhood soup kitchen. And at least till the bank account dries up, they’re content living for today.

“I feel like I’ve been given a gift of time and clarity,” said Aubrey Howell, 29, of Franklin, Tenn., who was laid off from her job as a tea shop manager in April. After sleeping in late and visiting family in Florida, she recently mused on Twitter: “Unemployment or funemployment?”

Never heard of funemployment? Here’s Urban Dictionary’s definition: “The condition of a person who takes advantage of being out of a job to have the time of their life. I spent all day Tuesday at the pool; funemployment rocks!”

It may not have entered our daily lexicon yet, but a small army of social media junkies with a sudden overabundance of time is busy Tweeting: “Funemployment road trip to Portland.” “Funemployment is great for catching up on reading!” “Averaging 3 rounds of golf a week plus hockey and bball. who needs work?”

As frivolous as it sounds, funemployment is a statement about American society. Experts say it’s both a reflection of the country’s cultural narcissism — and attitudes of entitlement and self-centeredness — and a backlash against corporate America and its “Dilbert”-like work environment.

“Recession gives people permission to be unemployed,” said David Logan, a professor at USC’s Marshall School of Business. ‘Why not make use of the time and go do something fun?'”.

By the way, 346,000 people lost their jobs in May as the unemployment rate jumped to 9.4%.  It was the highest jobless rate in 25 years.

The bad news is that the jobless rate is headed over 10% plus.

Now that ought to be really fun…

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