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
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.