by John Hawkins | June 5, 2009 11:49 am
It’s hard not to notice that the media was doing more economic “woe is me” stories about people suffering during the fat years of the Bush era than they’re doing now, when Obama is destroying whole industries and permanently damaging the economy with his spending.
Here’s one that you definitely wouldn’t have seen during the Bush era: From the LA Times, For the ‘funemployed,’ unemployment is welcome.
Oh boy. I don’t have a job. Wheeeeeee!
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?”
…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.
The LA Times goes on and on, trying to talk about this like it’s some big cultural trend.
I can tell you from personal experience that if you lose your job, don’t have much money in the bank, and don’t qualify for unemployment, unemployment is anything but “funemployment.”
On the other hand, if you have a lot of savings or better yet, can live off of unemployment, it’s not necessarily so bad. How often in your adult life do you get to take a few weeks off from the grind?
I had a friend who was laid off not too long ago. My advice was keep looking for a job, but enjoy the time. Go to the beach. Go see some friends. Have a little fun. You may not get this much time off again until retirement — if you live that long. Been there, done that — and I will admit that it was fun.
However, what it also shows is the folly of one of the things Congress likes to do when times are hard: extending the length of unemployment benefits. Some people may be looking hard for a job from the first day they go on unemployment, but another large block of people are going to look at it as “funemployment” and they’re not going to get serious about getting a new job until it looks like the money may run out.
That’s not some radical new trend or a “statement about American society,” it’s human nature. One of Newton’s laws of motion is that, “A body at rest stays at rest, and a body in motion stays in motion, unless it is acted on by an external force.” Well, people tend to be like that, too. When they’re moving, it’s easier for them to keep moving. When they’ve stopped, it’s easier for them to stay stopped unless they’re motivated by something, like running out of money and having to potentially live in a cardboard box. If you do get to that point, it ain’t “funemployment” any more.
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