Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Funemployment

Has anyone out there heard of this concept of ‘Funemployment’? I stumbled upon an article today that describes the trend of frustrated people who have been laid off or have quit of their own volition to take a break from work and travel, volunteer, or simply be still. [source]

The Urban Dictionary's defines this trend as:

“1. a happy time in one's life when one is not employed and is not wanting to be employed. People wonder how I pay my bills when I'm on funemployment”

“2. 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!”

In an LA Times article, Kimi Yoshino professes that, 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.”[source].

She interviews David Logan, professor of USC’s Marshall School of Business who muses, "Recession gives people permission to be unemployed, why not make use of the time and go do something fun?"

He may be onto something, but it’s not all narcissim and self-entitlement. Many folks are finding their lives out of balance—the break from the daily grind is finally giving them a chance to reflect on their experiences and to re-evaluate what is important in their lives. Some are using the chance to reinvent themselves and discover which vocation could provide not only income but satisfaction.

So instead of the short sided definitions above, I would propose to you that funemployment is actually the result—when someone takes a setback, re-evaluates their career, and changes course, finding fun employment. Perhaps a positive result of this economic downturn is the growing number of people who are experiencing this. It’s tough to lose your job. You may want to take a ‘paycation’ with your severance or unemployment, but after that it’s time to discover what to do next, and the best course of action may not be to find the same job somewhere else.

Dave Ramsey once said (he may have been quoting someone else when I heard him say it) that the key to being satisfied with your work was to figure out what it is that you love to do. What do you love to do so much that you would do it for free? Figure that out , then become so good at it that people will pay you to do it.

Now, all that being said I think it’s time for our politicians to come clean of special interest and realize that our economy suffers from their manipulation of the open market system. They can’t simply bail out failing companies who should be allowed to fail, then go back and say the system is broken and that greater restrictions are needed. The ever rising burden on businesses, large and small alike does nothing but push corporations overseas and make it harder for small businessmen to get started. Indeed it seems as if it is in fact our own government who is displaying narcissism, attitudes of entitlement and self-centeredness. Shocking, I know.

So if we want more Americans to find ‘funemployment’, trust capitalism.

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