Am I Enjoying Unemployment?

I don’t think I am. It’s just denial.

One month into my return from China, I find myself making daily to do lists and using phrases like “keep myself busy” and “develop a routine”. And whilst I talk to family and friends as though I know what I’m doing, a recent to-do-list included the tasks ‘shower’ and ‘buy night cream?’ Muahahaa! I’m fooling them all!

But am I fooling myself?

Yes. Yes, I am. That is also what is happening.

There’s something about that moment just after you end a job and have yet to start fully panicking about your next one. It’s like you were clenching something with both hands as hard as you could and then it pops out of existence. Suddenly you’ve got all these interesting things you can grab instead.

The last time I was unemployed I began looking into starting an Etsy business. I have always enjoyed crafting things and consider myself to be a hands-on, creative person. By the time I got a response from an actual job, I had bought hundreds of pounds worth of raw materials and was preparing to develop a product range. The details of which had been stored on an excel spreadsheet complete with costs, earnings, profits and projected income. I had had some serious plans for cashing in on the Christmas rush.

But I obviously preferred employment. You might think I gave up on a dream but it’s more like I was trying on a hat and accidentally left the store with it on. I still have storage boxes full of crafty things that I may or may not use in the future. Most likely not.

So currently, I am once again fooling myself. I look at job posts like a child looks at sweets in a shop knowing I can have a specific kind but wanting to try them all. I am a teacher but have considered being the regional manager for a non-profit, starting a bed and breakfast, designing t-shirts for a living… among other fantasies.

It’s like being on a weird kind of high. Suddenly, without the distraction of a daily schedule requiring my mental and physical labour, I can imagine myself accessing all these potential versions of myself. And it is all potential. I have not thought this time around of opening an Etsy store. That is not a dream I keep revisiting. It’s just that could fulfill an aspect of myself.

I do enjoy teaching and look forward to returning to it soon enough. But the hats are fun to try and maybe one day I will have had enough of teaching and one of my fantasies will turn out to be the next step.

I think that’s an important mindset. The lack of permanence in one’s career path. It’s not like you go up in a career and are then stuck near the top with no way to hop on to another branch. You’re a monkey… and careers are trees… and you can jump to a nearby tree. I mean maybe you need to go down a bit if the other tree is shorter. I suppose you could injure yourself. But no, you see you use your tail as a crutch which is like your savings…

Recently I have been reading a lot about rookie writer techniques. One is an overuse of metaphors.

So am I happy being unemployed? Not really. I am happy that I get to consider myself outside of my current career path and think of possible things that it isn’t giving me. But I would like to stop making stupid to-do lists and do something worthwhile. Before the panic sets in.

Have you ever had that moment between jobs where you just tried on other career hats?

Yay or nay?

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