Things to do during funemployment

We all know how not having full time employment, or any employment at all, can allow for a whole lot of nothing to do. At one point in your life this probably seemed like an amazing concept: Sleep in until 11, watch What Not to Wear and then quickly change it before the dreadful Baby Story comes on, eat lunch, look at yourself in the mirror, watch Netflix, see your parents get home from work, consider working out but don’t, eat and then go to bed.

However, the humdrum routine of absolute freedom and having nowhere to be and nothing on your to-do list can have its downsides. Back aches from sitting around, a gut from eating all day and being a huge bum are only a few of the less glamorous sides of unemployment. While you’re hanging in employment limbo, try out some of these amazing activities to get you off the couch and doing… anything else.

Watch Netflix foreign language films 

El hombre maravilloso, Gael Garcia Bernal, habla español. Así que tu deberías hablar español también!! Think of the cute babies you could have. Image via rubyssecrets.blogspot.com

Hopefully you went to a high school, college or university that required second language study. Netflix has a fair amount of films in foreign languages on instant and an even larger selection for their mail-home DVDs. Sometimes the instant movies are already dubbed over in English, which is a huge drag. But the DVDs should have subtitle and audio options.

You can even get into a telenovela on Telemundo or whatever Spanish channels are available around you. They are so ridiculous and awesomely bad. Just think: Once you master your foreign language, you could be talking to men who look like Gael Garcia Bernal. Yeah. Get on it.

That could be you: Meditating for peace and job interviews. Image via organicsoul.com

 Work out

There is absolutely no excuse to not workout if you’re under or unemployed. Not only will it keep your body looking good, you’ll feel better mentally and physically, which can definitely help your job hunt. Plus, exercise will help your focus and give you more energy and confidence in applications and interviews.

My favorite free yoga podcast is Yogamazing with a nice yogi named Chaz. You can download or watch them for free here or find the yogamazing podcasts through iTunes.

Invent something for incredibly lazy people

Maybe this is the time to create that invention you thought of when you were stoned freshman year. I’m pretty sure the Snuggie was invented by huge stoners whose arms kept getting cold when they reached for snacks or the remote. If you make something to make lazy people’s lives easier, they will buy it. That is a fact.

Volunteer 

PUPPIES!!!!!! Image via hercampus.com

Volunteering can help your job hunt mucho. It gives you something to pour some energy into every week as well as being a great, philanthropic addition to your resume. Try to pick a volunteer position that you’re interested in. There are volunteer dog walkers in many cities at dog shelters, volunteer English language positions at many community centers, homework help for kids and teens, etc. You’ll have somewhere to go each week with the added bonus of building a network and good references.

Learn how to cook

If you’re living back at home with good ol’ ma and pa, this is the best time ever to learn how to cook. Tell them you’ll do all the grocery shopping and cooking (on their dime of course). This way you’re picking up a major part of running the household, groceries and cooking, as well as cooking what you want to learn with a little parental guidance nearby. Pick up a bottle of wine to sip on while cooking and get your iPod out; it makes cooking WAY more fun!


You could be in an attractive study group like this one. Image via film.com

 Take a class 

If you’re like me and studied something liberal artsy and then watched the economy collapse, leaving you no where to turn except free internship work, then it’s probably a good idea to take a class. You could go the take-something-you-like route, like medieval basket weaving, or something that will actually get you a job, like web development. Check out your local community college for offered classes, so you can take a class on the cheap AND pretend you’re a character in Community. Win-win.

Library

Remember all those books you wanted to read when you got older? That time is definitely now. And if you haven’t read The Hunger Games or Harry Potter yet, you are an alien and probably can’t get a library card without an address on Earth. But for real, reading is a great thing to do during un or underemployment. Plus it’s free at the library, which sadly some people probably don’t even know.

PS doesn’t it sadden you to no end when you hear people say they hate reading? It’s equal to saying they hate puppies.

Laundry

Yeah, laundry sounds lame. Until you get to the dryer part. Putting on warm pants is probably the best thing ever.

The main thing to do while sitting un or underemployed is to STAY BUSY. Especially in an economy like this, where the employer has their pick of the educated litter, it’s best to keep adding substantial things to your brain and/or resume. Who knows, maybe you’ll meet your future boss in a yoga class. Better yet, you’ll have a genius, million-dollar idea while trying on pants straight from the dryer. You never know! Just keep moving.

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The Netflix Diaries: All-time faves

What a beautiful classic. Image via misstoptenimage.blogspot.com

Ahhhh, Netflix instant. Many a nightcap and rainy day spent in front of the computer or Xbox watching Netflix.

One of the best parts of being an underemployed 20 something gal is delving into the arts. And yes, Netflix counts as delving into the arts. Call them films, if that makes you feel artier, or cinéma if you’re pretty annoying.

It can sometimes prove daunting and a huge waste of time to click your way through most of the crap that gets put on Netflix. So in order to indulge your lazy butt, I’ve compiled my favorite Netflix selections for your ease and enjoyment.

Favorite Movies

LOVE this movie so much. Image via iwannawatch.net

2 Days in Paris is one of my favorite movies. A lovebird vacation gone awry, but not in a lame, slapstick predictable way. Written, directed and starred in by the amazing Julie Delpy. Adam Goldberg plays her boyfriend, an American interior decorator dealing with meeting his foreign girlfriend’s parents. Goldberg’s character keeps learning new things about Delpy, especially her past sex life and her extreme closeness with her parents.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s is one of those classic movies that you always hear about but may have never seen. Watch it. It’s a great glimpse into not really wanting to work or have a real job, but in the 60s with great clothes, no cell phones and lots of cigarettes.

Louis C.K. Chewed Up is hilarious. Great stand up comedian who I have a crush on in a ginger, balding, 40something comedian sort of way.

Eagle vs. Shark is an awkward and weird love story from New Zealand. Think Napoleon Dynamite meets 20 something nerdy love.

Howl’s Moving Castle is an instant, instant favorite the second you watch it. It’s a Hayao Miyazaki anime film with a beautiful and creative storyline. Based on a Japanese fantasy novel, it includes witches, flying castles and a oddly sweet love story. A wondrous fairy-tale for everyone.

Favorite TV

Downton Abbey Duh! A PBS mini series chronicling the upperclass elite, yet oddly kindhearted Crawley family and their servants. Both upstairs and downstairs have an equal amount of drama that ranges from the Titanic’s sinking in 1912 through World War I up to 1920 when season two finishes. Season one is all that’s available on Netflix now, but you can still catch some season 2 episodes at PBS.com! Lucky you.

Don't you just love those manipulating, schemy little faces?! Image via backseatcuddler.com

 Arrested Development Oh God. So many memorable quotes and episodes from the Bluth family. Once in a while I’ll meet a person who hasn’t seenArrested Development yet. If that is you, you’re welcome and start watching NOW!

Parks and Recreation/30 Rock I decided to put these two shows together because they are THAT GOOD. Both SNL alums Amy Poehler and Tina Fey shine in their respective NBC shows. Poehler plays Leslie Knope, a parks and rec lady who loves her town and parks more than anything. And Tina Fey’s Liz Lemon is the weirdo single gal/guy living inside us all who hates working out and loves philly cheese steaks. Perfection in both shows with amazing casts and even more amazing writing.

Cheers It’s impossible for me to even think about Cheers without hearing the theme song. “Where everybody knows your na-a-ame (bum bum bum!)” Friends, love and life at the neighborhood bar. And a young Ted Danson. Need I say more?

Coupling The pilot episode is one of the best written pilots I’ve ever seen in my life. Think a raunchier Friends with way more sex, swearing and yes, coupling.

So many bad decisions. Yet so much fun! Image via netflix.com

The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret  This show is absolutely hilarious. Todd Margaret is a deprecated, sad, pathetic American man who moves to England to try and sell toxic energy drinks. Todd Margaret- you guessed it!- makes increasingly poor decisions. The title sets up the show perfectly. Sometimes I feel so bad for characters with bad luck that I can’t watch the shows. But when it’s laid out so wonderfully in the title, you can sit back with ease and watch the beautiful shit storm happen.

Also, check out Lost (best show ever!), Workaholics, Party Down, United States of Tara, America’s Funniest Home Videos, Anthony Bourdain No Reservations, Never Been Kissed, Shutter Island

Guilty Pleasures

Keeping Up With the Kardashians, Hoarders, Intervention, Gossip Girl, Kourtney and Khloe Take Miami, The City

Dating: 20 something style

Dating with extremely limited funds can be stressful due to normalized date activities like going out to dinner, to a movie or some other event that costs money. When dollar bills are tight, there are still fun things you can do with your dates without having to spend your shitty, one-bedroom rent money.

20 somethings are poor. If you're not, you're doing it wrong. Photo: Dan Perjovschi
20 somethings are poor. If you're not, you're doing it wrong. Photo: Dan Perjovschi

 Plan your Netflix accordingly 

There’s only so much joy we can all squeeze from Netflix instant. If you plan your queue correctly, you can have your movies arrive just in time for your low-budget date. Plus, there’s something retro about watching a movie on a DVD. Traditional, even. That is if you still own a TV and DVD player. If not, cuddling up close to see your small laptop screen is good too.

Learn to cook, you lazy asshole

Cooking is not that hard. Of course, mistakes can be made, but you’ve gotta stop being such a wimp and get back on that horse, sport! Cooking at home is not only fun (I swear!) but can also be relatively inexpensive, compared to going out to a restaurant.

Cooking dinner together is a really fun date anyways. Get an inexpensive yet not god-awful wine, break out the cookbook and ingredients and let the kitchen fun begin. You’ll have something to keep your hands busy, a drink in your hand and a (hopefully) amazing dinner to eat at the end of it. Otherwise the fast food you order will be a hilariously good time. Win-win.

Game night, bitches

Game nights are awesome. Don’t pretend like you’re too cool for game nights. A bottle of wine, a double or triple date and a hearty game of Apples to Apples is the definition of fun, folks. Plus you get to yell at people and tell them why they suck for not picking your card, which is great stress release.

Anything free

There are always free activities to take advantage of, whether they are free days at the museum or some friend of a friend’s crappy band playing a crappy house show. In the summer, lots of cities and communities have free concerts that are more than perfect for 20 something dates, as they provide the perfect environment to be snobby about your music preferences. That’s love, kids.