Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

The Surprising Benefits of Being Unemployed

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the glass-is-half-full dept.

The Almighty Buck 1053

SimuAndy writes "David Dvorkin, a programmer and writer of some repute, has published an essay on The Surprising Benefits of Being Unemployed. Well worth the reading time as a small break in a busy day."

cancel ×

1053 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Another Benefit of Being Unemployed (5, Funny)

inertia@yahoo.com (156602) | more than 10 years ago | (#7100516)

Becoming a Slashdot Addict

I have time to become intimately familiar with all of the Slashdot memes like FP!, GNAA, In Soviet Russia, and CowboyNeal. I know all of the rules for them and when they're just being faked by copy-cats. Sure, sure, I can stop any time.

this just in!!!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7100536)

Cowboy neal was found dead in his basement masturbating to Natalie Portman while pouring hot grits down his undies, truly an American Beowulf Cluster, he wil be missed in soviet russia!

Re:Another Benefit of Being Unemployed (5, Funny)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 10 years ago | (#7100543)

I was more of a slashdot addict when I was employed. Now I have more time on my hands to do other things then sit here all day.

Re:Another Benefit of Being Unemployed (5, Funny)

KingRamsis (595828) | more than 10 years ago | (#7100550)

the other day I caught myself telling a coworker "you are trolling the meeting you should be mod'ed down" ofcourse I got a blank empty void look on his face.

Re:Another Benefit of Being Unemployed (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7100619)

I was proposing a new business plan, and my boss wasn't too thrilled:

1. Make something Linux related
2. ????
3. Profit!!

Also he didn't seem impressed that I mentioned on his trip to Russia perhaps he would suck his secretary's dick.

Re:Another Benefit of Being Unemployed (2, Funny)

KingRamsis (595828) | more than 10 years ago | (#7100638)

You probably work for that goatse guy trying to imagine a beowolf cluster of business plans but foiled by micro$oft.


I did my homework and Im a proud member of Slashdot Nation.

Re:Another Benefit of Being Unemployed (1)

BarryJacobsen (526926) | more than 10 years ago | (#7100663)

You probably work for that goatse guy trying to imagine a beowolf cluster of business plans but foiled by micro$oft.
I did my homework and Im a proud member of Slashdot Nation.


If you had really done you're homework, you'd know it's SCO this week.

Re:Another Benefit of Being Unemployed (1)

KingRamsis (595828) | more than 10 years ago | (#7100727)

I have this little theory that without microsoft rushing to license SCO claimed IP they would have dried out, but now they have cash to carry on their crusade of lawsuits

Linux itself is not the issue but the entire culture of commodity software is at stake.
anyway : $CO happy now ?

and in two years... (2, Funny)

SweetAndSourJesus (555410) | more than 10 years ago | (#7100626)

the other day I caught myself telling a fellow slacker "you are trolling the unemployment line you should be mod'ed down" of course I got a blank empty void look on his face. also, I really ought to move out of my mom's house soon.

Re:Another Benefit of Being Unemployed (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7100637)

If only the topic of GNAA was politically correct to bring up during cocktail parties, that would be a pretty good way of finding fellow Slashdotters in the crowd.

Re:Another Benefit of Being Unemployed (2, Funny)

KingRamsis (595828) | more than 10 years ago | (#7100749)

I guess being in a cocktail party automatically excludes you from being a Slashdotter.

Re:Another Benefit of Being Unemployed (1)

SunPin (596554) | more than 10 years ago | (#7100664)

The implication...

You actually shout at your monitor on occasion.

I suspect you have the "crazy guy that shouts at the TV" gene.

Re:Another Benefit of Being Unemployed (2, Interesting)

ameoba (173803) | more than 10 years ago | (#7100562)

Yes... now you have all the time in the world to be a FPer. Congrats, yo, you've achieved the Amernian dream.

Re:Another Benefit of Being Unemployed (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7100580)

you forgot... masturbating... alone... in your room...

A thinly veiled political rant, actually (3, Flamebait)

randyest (589159) | more than 10 years ago | (#7100616)

The article runs the gamut, from the mildly amusing:

Some of those benefits are obvious, and I could have anticipated them even before a supervisor tapped me on the shoulder and said he needed to talk to me about something. ("Do you have a minute?" he asked. What would have happened if I'd said no, that I was too busy?)

To the not at all funny but trying really hard (Snuffy Smith! Egads):

There was a character in the Snuffy Smith cartoon strip of many years ago who retired but would still get up at the crack of dawn and go down to the mill every morning just so he could thumb his nose at the place as the get-to-work whistle blew.

It does include a few good, creative ideas useful even for the gainfully emplyed:

Back in the glorious paycheck days, I used to think about telling [telemarketers and salespersons] I'd just lost my job. Actually, sometimes I really did tell them that, because I'm a cowardly kinda guy and it's easier to fib than to be firm. Now I don't have to fib. When I tell them I'm unemployed, they hang up or back away quickly, terrified of infection by the job-loss virus.

As well as a few really stupid comment that make me wonder about this guy's sense of self:

My Beard It's still growing! Well, of course it is, you say. Let me explain that, on an emotional, irrational level, I still feel relieved every morning when I realize that I still need to shave. It's still growing! Despite the way I frequently feel, I haven't really been unmanned.

But, it also has quite a bit of offtopic, annoying, and really rather insulting partisan political nonsense:

These [fake-job advertising scammers] are rotten enough to be members of George W. Bush's cabinet. Encountering them has taught me something about the depths of human nature.

But perhaps the greatest benefit of being unemployed is this. I now feel absolutely free to despise George W. Bush. Oh, of course I despised him before I lost my job. But now I know I'm not alone.

And it closes with a really stupid anti-Bush link [slashdot.org] . Sigh. Bring a salt shaker if you're going to read it all.

Re:A thinly veiled political rant, actually (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7100640)

Go fuck yourself, or rather let yourself be fucked by Dubya.

Re:A thinly veiled political rant, actually (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7100653)

Hahaha, you suck, and you FAIL IT. Suck troll cock loser!

Re:A thinly veiled political rant, actually (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7100718)

No thanks, your whoremom already takes care of any cocksucking required.

Re:A thinly veiled political rant, actually (-1, Troll)

cscx (541332) | more than 10 years ago | (#7100662)

It all comes together in the last section: it's just another useless rant from another neo-communist who just wants a handout. This sap should be grateful that he, unlike others, still has a roof over his head.

Re:A thinly veiled political rant, actually (2, Insightful)

cscx (541332) | more than 10 years ago | (#7100680)

To add to that, anyone could find a job if they really wanted to. It's just that too many Americans are too goddamn lazy to work jobs they don't like. If you're unemployed, I don't think you have a choice, now do you? McDonalds is always hiring. Sell magazines. Mow lawns. Clean toilets. Oh, but you don't like flipping burgers? Well too damn bad, quit whining about it on your blog and complaining about how GW Bush and "da man" is keepin' you down.

Re:A thinly veiled political rant, actually (3, Funny)

inertia@yahoo.com (156602) | more than 10 years ago | (#7100715)

I blame the French.

The USA is dying. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7100665)

It is official; UN Statistics now confirms: the USA is dying.

One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered USA when president Bush confirmed that their markets have dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction their value when he began his term. Coming on the heels of a recent UN survey which plainly states that America has lost its way, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. America is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by being the most hated nation in the world.

You don't need to be a foreigner to predict America's future. The hand writing is on the wall: America faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for Americans because the USA is dying. Things are looking very bad for America. As many of us are already aware, as the American economy continues to collapse.

Red ink flows like a river of blood. For all practical purposes, all Americans are dead, or at least should be.

lame joke festival (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7100520)

insert lame joke about being employed and reading slashdot all day... oh yeah, and...

I for one welcome our new unemployed masters!!

Re:lame joke festival (1)

MoronGames (632186) | more than 10 years ago | (#7100586)

Overlords.

Where did masters come from? :)

Re:lame joke festival (1)

yintercept (517362) | more than 10 years ago | (#7100674)

No, the people who are unemployed and read slashdot all day long are just plain envious of the people who are employed and read slashdot all day long.

Re:lame joke festival (0)

Lost Penguin (636359) | more than 10 years ago | (#7100734)

In this Bushed economy, unemployment does you.

sad, that this is not a joke.

fp anon! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7100526)

lameness filter beat me to it though...

What is this? (1)

alex_ant (535895) | more than 10 years ago | (#7100528)

The latest findings of the Cato Institute?

CATO (3, Funny)

C10H14N2 (640033) | more than 10 years ago | (#7100635)

No, the CATO institute would probably have a paper on the moral duty of the unemployed to increase downward pressure on wages and how the recently homeless have merely chosen to realize capital gains by selling their houses to pay for food. The Heritage Foundation would no doubt follow up with a paper on how eliminating the capital gains tax would then be in the best interest of the future homeless population. It's the compassionately conservative thing to do.

bla (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7100534)

bla bla bla linux is great, bla bla microsoft sucks, bla bla we are all nerds, bla bla ...

Convincing, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7100537)

Almost was on the phone calling my PHB after reading this, but after consideration I think I will stick to being employed.

Can't outsource me now! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7100539)

At least nobody with an L-1 or H-1B visa is going to take my unemployment check.

Re:Can't outsource me now! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7100569)

I saw an Indian Java developer climbing out of your wife's bedroom while you were fishing.

Why isn't this under humor? (0, Offtopic)

bogie (31020) | more than 10 years ago | (#7100541)

nt
no text
no, really. no text.

stupid filter.

check this shit out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7100551)


Benefits of being unemployed (2, Funny)

Mastab286 (712223) | more than 10 years ago | (#7100545)

Yep, according to my dad, one of the best books hes ever read... well worth the read

Yep, the benefits of you being unemployed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7100546)

...like the fact that I can get a job easier.

Re:Yep, the benefits of you being unemployed... (5, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 10 years ago | (#7100611)

Actually, it's harder to get a job when your unemployed then it is when you are employeed. Because, when your unemployeed, any future employer will want to know why and how long you have been without work. But, if you already have a job, then you have a much better reputation for current skill status and thus a better chance of swiching over to a new company.

Re:Yep, the benefits of you being unemployed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7100708)

Just follow the money trail, for it will lead you to the truth.

.. that there is no money.

you should add that to your sig. hehheh

Good to be unemployed (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7100555)

Just make sure you don't end up like this [dangerz.net] dude here.

Parent has goatse. (1, Troll)

FannyMinstrel (656700) | more than 10 years ago | (#7100588)

Beware, Goatse.

DONT CLICK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7100592)

Above is the link to the missing SCO source code, you will not be able to use Linux anymore if you click. The strong NDA required for viewing the link above!!!

Re:Good to be unemployed (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7100603)

By far the best (worst) goatse link ever!

Please... (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7100559)

This is not THAT interesting at all to be a front-page story. Sigh, any use in my posting?

The guy has no job and you say... (4, Funny)

JusTyler (707210) | more than 10 years ago | (#7100560)

Well worth the reading time as a small break in a busy day

He has no job, way to rub it in, you inconsiderate clod! ;)

Re:The guy has no job and you say... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7100589)

I hope you and your family get brutally murdered tonight you stupid fuck.

Jackass parent poster (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7100630)

some admin get this guy's IP and forward the post to his ISP plz. veiled death threats aren't needed here..

- undisclosed responsible /. citizen.

Re:The guy has no job and you say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7100650)

Dude, that was mean.

I mean, calling someone a faggot or Microsoftie passes as a common courtesy here, but I haven't seen any posts like yours before.

Spam, eggs, spam, spam... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7100566)

Baked beans, spam, chicken, spam, spam, spam, spam, waffles, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, potato chips, spam, spam, spam, spam, pizzas, spam, spam, spam, and spam.

Odd Todd (4, Funny)

corz (409850) | more than 10 years ago | (#7100567)

The greatest of all unemployed people will always be Odd Todd [oddtodd.com] .

This man is my idol, and anyone who has ever been unemployed should appreciate "staring at the wall for an hour after waking 'early' up at 10:17, drinking a pot of coffay." I donated a few bucks to help his cause, and you should too, after all, he is unemployed :)

Definitely check out Odd Todd (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7100618)

It's worth a look. Very funny stuff.

Could such benefits have evolutionary consequence? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7100574)

The bacterial flora of my nether regions now gets three, sometimes four days at a stretch between mass extinctions.

I am now back at school (2, Interesting)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 10 years ago | (#7100576)

Yes I moved back in with my parents. :-(

But now I have less stress, met a girlfriend online and I am going back to school.

I feel I am working towards myself and not a greedy souless corporation.

People work to hard today. I think the divorce rate might have something to do with people doing the work of 2-3 in order for bigcorp to boast its stock price for productivity increases.

I love programming and want to do it. However I do not want to work more then 55 hours a week. I also want to learn and better myself. Its hard with such high demands. Also young college kids are willing to work 80 hrs a week so if you don't then they steal your job!??

In other words its now the new norm to be underpaid and overworked where 40 hr work weeks are considered "not meeting expectations".

Re:I am now back at school (0, Funny)

11223 (201561) | more than 10 years ago | (#7100667)

"met a girlfriend online"

How did his surgery go?

Re:I am now back at school (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7100695)

Hahah, what a loser. Stop thinking about orally pleasing your mom, it's gross. Take it from me, your mom's cunt is really gross. Don't go there.

One obvious benefit: (1)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 10 years ago | (#7100585)

more time for pr0n. Because there's never enough time for pr0n...

Been there, am doing that (5, Interesting)

JayBlalock (635935) | more than 10 years ago | (#7100587)

Laid off in April. The usual. Have to say, pretty much everything on this list rings really true. Although in my case, the biggest benefit was:

Time to read up on any obscure or interesting subject that sprang to mind.

I think I advanced my self-education more in the last few months than I had in years previously. I know a whole lot more about our legal and political systems, can tell you all sorts of fun things about Wicca and Buddhism, know more about more obscure European bands than I care to name, and I'm even getting closer to really understanding why the Middle East is the way it is.

But things are looking up. Getting out of the cube farms seem to have freed my mind. I've been taking on odd freelance jobs. I've just gotten hired by a tutoring company which'll let me more or less make my own hours. Been doing some freelance writing. I'm not out of the woods yet, but if things keep going the way they are, I may be able to build up enough contacts and experience to make a good enough living without ever stepping foot in an office, and 3/4 of it from home.

I feel oddly like the Campbellian hero having passed through the Cave. (Week of May 15th: Read "Hero of a Thousand Faces")

So, just to chime in with the message of this article, if you're unemployed, take heart. Look at it as an opportunity. If you've got the money to ride on for a bit, DON'T spend all your time looking for yet another cube. Use the time to boost your knowledge or skills.

Re:Been there, am doing that (1)

JayBlalock (635935) | more than 10 years ago | (#7100629)

Heh, I was just looking at that post again. Six months ago I would not have understood my own sig.

Re:Been there, am doing that (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7100724)

You still don't, parrot.

But, your unemployment story does explain why you're suck an abrasive, annoying cocksucker lately. Not that you were ever much better.

In any case, the good news is, now that you're a total loser and you and your family will starve to death (or kill yourselves first) because of your total failure as a man, you and your filthy ilk will be out of the gene pool forever, to the benefit of all (who matter that is, i.e. not you or your dick-dribbling spawn).

Re:Been there, am doing that (1, Insightful)

SunPin (596554) | more than 10 years ago | (#7100735)

Agreed entirely. I'd take it one step further: why are we forced to work for a living? The mind has no limitations once it's free from the bonds of repetitive bullshit. I'll bet that your post represents at least a thousand people here. Our slave week boils down to nothing more than plotting for food making us no different from Cuba or any other "lesser" state. If we're busy plotting for food or we have artificial and impossible ideals f'n with our heads then we aren't focus on the system stacked against us. Everyone has to make a living but being a drone in a corporate machine is not necessary. What do we need out of this world? Not enough to warrant working for the Man again.

Yeah right. (5, Insightful)

sakusha (441986) | more than 10 years ago | (#7100591)

I try to convince myself I've gotten out of the rat race of Upward Mobility, and it's morally superior to have Downward Nobility. But I just want a fucken job. I helped build this industry in the early 1970s, now I'm supposed to be in the peak earning years of my career, but I'm locked out due to the bad economy. It sucks. There is nothing good about being unemployed.

Re:Yeah right. (1)

JayBlalock (635935) | more than 10 years ago | (#7100615)

"Downward Nobility." I'm going to steal that, hope you don't mind. :-)

Re:Yeah right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7100644)

It's all yours. It never was mine, in fact, because it was a typo. I'm an idiot after all.

Re:Yeah right. (1)

sakusha (441986) | more than 10 years ago | (#7100682)

I'd give credit to the person I stole it from, if I could remember who it was.

Re:Yeah right. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7100712)

I hear that.

What good is 15 years of Netware experience today?

How about someone who knows that the original PC had odd size ISA slots, so that 286 and later cards wouldn't fit?

Who cares that you spent a million hours with DOS and QEMM getting an extra 60K of base memory so somone's blasted Autocad machine would work correctly?

It's turning out that spending 20 years working with computers has been a really poor investment.

I should have been a pharmacist and spent my weekends, evenings and not-having-to-wear-a-pager time doing anything else... it would have been more productive, economically speaking.

Excellent (1, Insightful)

petabyte (238821) | more than 10 years ago | (#7100594)

I think that many more people would benefit from these joyous unemployment moments. So don't hesitate, quit today. That way those of us who are stuck day in and day out applying to hundreds of jobs with the hope they we get so much as one interview.

Unemployment is not fun no matter what a book or an article may say. Myself, and the other 10 dozen Slashdoter's need jobs.

In case of Slashdotting (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7100599)

The Surprising Benefits of Being Unemployed

The great ebb and flow of the marketplace has recently forced me to try to convince myself of the benefits of being unemployed.

Some of those benefits are obvious, and I could have anticipated them even before a supervisor tapped me on the shoulder and said he needed to talk to me about something. ("Do you have a minute?" he asked. What would have happened if I'd said no, that I was too busy?)

Not Having to Wake up to the Alarm Clock

That's an obvious one. There was a character in the Snuffy Smith cartoon strip of many years ago who retired but would still get up at the crack of dawn and go down to the mill every morning just so he could thumb his nose at the place as the get-to-work whistle blew. That was an amusing strip, and I saved it for years. But I wouldn't want to take the bus downtown every weekday just to emulate that cartoon character, even if my old workplace had a whistle and even if I had retired voluntarily. So I've turned off the alarm.

(Oh, you ask, but what if you oversleep and waste away the hours you should be spending looking for another job? That hasn't been a problem. The constant sense of dread wakes me up in plenty of time - usually well before the crack of dawn.)

Getting Rid of Telemarketers and Door-to-Door Salesmen

Back in the glorious paycheck days, I used to think about telling them I'd just lost my job. Actually, sometimes I really did tell them that, because I'm a cowardly kinda guy and it's easier to fib than to be firm. Now I don't have to fib. When I tell them I'm unemployed, they hang up or back away quickly, terrified of infection by the job-loss virus. And they seem to have crossed me off those secret lists they hand around. It's true that some of one's friends back away with the same look of fear in their eyes, but I'm sure that's unconscious.

I'm hoping to get taken off the snail-mail solicitation lists, too. From time to time, for example, I get invited to contribute to the Republican National Committee. Yeah, sure. Try me again after I've developed Alzheimer's. Throwing solicitations of that sort away was always easy. But it was hard and induced considerable guilt to throw away unanswered solicitations from organizations I support philosophically. Sometimes you're just strapped for cash, you know? Even with a regular paycheck coming in. I'd feel terrible guilt as I tore up the good-guy solicitations and dropped them in the trash, and I'd tell myself that at least if I lost my job, I'd have an acceptable excuse and wouldn't feel guilty. And I was right! Actually, I still feel guilty, but I tell myself that I'll resume making contributions to those worthy outfits as soon as I have a regular paycheck again.

When.

If.

But here are some benefits of being unemployed that I did not anticipate.

Spousal Closeness
My wife and I were close before, but we've been drawn even closer by a sense of common striving and the extra time we're spending together. A lot of that extra time is spent worrying together, fretting together, hyperventilating together - but together!

Long-Range Planning
I used to obsess over long-range planning. Not that I did any long-range planning; I just obsessed over not doing it. And I used to spend too much time mulling over - even obsessing over - the past. Or at least obsessing over the fact that I was mulling over it so much. You should live in the present, I would tell myself. Now I'm doing just that. The present and our immediate situation is intensely with me. I'm obsessing over it.

Scamsters
They've always been around, and they're an amoral, revolting bunch. I'm no kid, I'm no naif, I know all of that.

Nonetheless, I've been surprised at just what low reptiles some of them are. There are companies that post fake job ads so that, brimming with hope and desperation, you'll send them your resume. Then they call you, ask you to come to their office for an interview. Of course you go, dressed in your best interview clothes. The office is sumptuous. The people are well dressed. The pitch is slick. Give us lots of money, and we'll show you how to find the high-paying hidden jobs, the ones that are never advertised, the positions only we know about.

If you do fall for that pitch, you'll only spend money you can't afford to spend, you'll almost certainly never get a job through them, and they, the piles of excrement in human shape, are the only ones who will benefit. How do you think they can afford those offices?

These people are rotten enough to be members of George W. Bush's cabinet. Encountering them has taught me something about the depths of human nature. I guess that qualifies as a benefit of being unemployed.

My Beard
It's still growing!

Well, of course it is, you say. Let me explain that, on an emotional, irrational level, I still feel relieved every morning when I realize that I still need to shave.

It's still growing! Despite the way I frequently feel, I haven't really been unmanned.

Clutter
Our house was so cluttered!

We had dangerously outdated canned foods in kitchen cabinets. It just sat there taking up space and making the house look smaller, the way clutter does. Now we're coming up with inventive ways of combining stuff that we would once never have thought combinable. Why, back then we might even have thrown it out. (Eventually.)

We've rediscovered old hotel-sized bottles of shampoo and bars of soap that we stashed away and forgot about long ago. (Golly, where did those come from?) Now we're using those up instead of actually paying for bars of soap or bottles of shampoo.

And how about all those CDs that we never have liked and always wondered what possessed us to buy, let alone to keep? Well, that's what the used-CD store is for! (Oops. They've gone out of business.)

We have clothes we know we'll never wear again and should have gotten rid of long ago. How fortunate that we didn't! Why, you can get money for that stuff at a thrift store! A tiny amount that we might once have thought not worth bothering with, but our standards have changed. Round 'em up, move 'em out, Rawhide!

Now we're gaining space in the cabinets and in the closets and in the bookcases and even in the refrigerator. Some day, that space could come in handy. Some day, when we can afford to buy things again.

We actually have two refrigerators in our kitchen, a big one and a small one. (The reasons are historical and trivial.) Now we've reached the point where we could easily get by with just the big one. Soon, we'll be able to manage with just the small one. When we reach that point, perhaps we'll sell the big one, assuming anyone would be so foolish as to buy it. (It wasn't a great refrigerator even when it was new.) That will give us extra space in the kitchen, but more to the point, it will make it easier to move to smaller quarters, if it comes to that. Such as under a highway viaduct. Do they have power outlets there? I suppose not. It's not something I used to think about all that often.

The kitchen cabinets are built in, so we'll have to leave those behind.

Snobbery
We have been cured of the sin of snobbery.

It was very minor snobbery, really. It was limited to the conviction that name-brand items are superior to those sold under supermarket house brands. Oh, sure, sometimes we'd buy the house brands out of some sort of general moral conviction that we ought to save money. And then we'd gradually drift back to the name brands because . . . well, we just did. But, say, that house-brand food tastes pretty good! And the house-brand toilet paper, er, holds up better under use! And the house-brand cans stack better! And the labels are spiffier! Yes, sir, solid values, suitable for normal daily use. Or every-other-day use, if you feel the need to make the item last a bit longer.

Power. Shower.
Are you a fan of the television show Smallville? We sure are.

Although there are a few details about the show that keep bothering me.

How do the desperately cash-strapped Kents keep that farm running? They have no employees. 'Course not. Can't afford 'em. Wouldn't need 'em, either, if Clark did all the work with his superspeed and superstrength instead of spending his time mooning after Lana Lang and otherwise engaging in superteen superangst. Pa Kent's no use. He spends his time vaguely and ineffectually tinkering with odd bits of farm equipment. That's why Ma Kent had to get help from her nasty father and go to work for the remarkably evil and devious Lionel Luthor. I also wonder if I really did once glimpse snow-capped peaks in the background in, er, Kansas.

But I digress.

What really bothers me about the Kents is that despite their constant worrying about money, and even though their house seems to be nicely designed to let in lots of sunlight (in Kansas . . . ), nonetheless during the middle of the day they seem to keep every single electric light in the place turned on!

(I also wonder if perhaps this is a terrible cultural side-effect of that evil socialistic institution, the Rural Electrification Administration, but I'm digressing again.)

People don't need that much light. Especially not people who are worried about money.

We decided to start taking our showers in the dark. Cool showers, of course. Fortunately, it's it's still late summer when I'm writing this, so the cool water feels nice and there's sunlight coming in through the bathroom window. Are you paying attention, Kents?

Oh, and say, speaking of it being summer, we're learning that we don't really need the air conditioning quite as desperately as we used to think we did. This winter, we'll try to make the same discovery about heat.

Popcorn
Speaking of things you don't need, what about that tub of buttered popcorn at the movies? Or the movie itself? The movie will be out on DVD soon enough - and maybe when that time comes you'll still be able to afford to buy a DVD and you'll still own a DVD player. And a TV set. And a living room. And if you don't still own all of those things, you certainly won't be wasting time thinking about missing that dumb movie. On the negative side, should you eventually find yourself without a living room or a kitchen, the idea of that popcorn - of its smell, of its taste, of its essential fillingness - will start to affect you powerfully. Even without butter.

Weight, Losing
We both talked for years about trying to lose some weight. As you will have guessed from the preceding paragraph, we're finally doing it. If I hadn't lost my job, we'd still both be doing nothing more than talking about it. I might soon be able to get into those older Dockers and jeans covered with dust in the closet. Not all clutter is bad.

Weight, Lifting
And exercising more. That's something else I always knew I should do. Time, time, there was never enough time! But now at last there is enough time. I really do intend to start exercising lots and lots just as soon as my stomach acid settles down again.

Triumph of the Will
It's really all a matter of will power, isn't it? Thanks to being unemployed, I've developed more will power. I've become very good at maintaining my self-control and even smiling when people ask me if I'm taking advantage of all this time off by relaxing and enjoying myself and getting a lot of writing done. Well, yeah, I do keep tinkering with my resume. (Go read it! Click here!)

FEH
I never really expected that being unemployed would give me a deeper understanding of our wonderful capitalist-- I'm sorry, I mean Free Enterprise Hurrah! system. Or the FEH, as its friends call it.

For example, I have a much clearer understanding of what a true living wage is, what's really necessary for two people to survive on. The amount is certainly less than I used to think it was. I may even learn to adjust my estimate downward even more in the future. Of course, I'm talking about surviving on, not living happily on.

That's what you might call the practical, personal-finances aspect of the FEH. There's also the theoretical side. I had that all wrong, as well.

I actually thought - and this is really silly when you consider that I've been working in the FEH for nigh on to a thousand years and so should know better - that companies feel the same sense of obligation and duty toward their employees that they insist their employees should feel toward them. If you contribute to your company's success and help it to advance its interests and financial health, often making sacrifices of your own time to do so, then your company will reciprocate by making sacrifices in bad times to take care of you by not depriving you of your paycheck and benefits. That's the way I thought it worked.

Where in the world did I get that idea? Now I finally understand - and I'm so much the better man and citizen for the understanding - that the true, indeed the only, obligation any company's top management has is to its Board of Directors and major shareholders. And of course to the continued employment of its top managers. My appreciation for the wonderfulness of the FEH can only be deepened by this knowledge, even if I am now forced to gaze upon that wonderfulness from a cold and comfortless place outside the warmth and safety of its shelter.

But perhaps the greatest benefit of being unemployed is this. I now feel absolutely free to despise George W. Bush. Oh, of course I despised him before I lost my job. But now I know I'm not alone.

The reality of popcorn for the jobless (4, Informative)

JusTyler (707210) | more than 10 years ago | (#7100605)

Speaking of things you don't need, what about that tub of buttered popcorn


Popcorn is actually an ideal foodstuff if you're on a very tight budget. It's SO cheap!

I bought myself a popcorn making machine for $20. Basically it's a big "hot air generating machine". You throw your popcorn kernels in, they get heated up and blown around for five minutes, then they all pop and out tumbles the popcorn.

You can buy a bag with two lbs of kernels for about a dollar. Lasts me about 15 gigantic bowls of popcorn. Keeps your regular too. High in fibre.

So you pay about 7 cents a bowl, which is a good stomach filler in the evening, and a cent or two for the electricity needed. Popcorn is a bargain, particularly if you like it plain, or with some salt thrown over it (as I do). Just make it YOURSELF.

Triumph of the Will? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7100607)

Apparently being unemployed makes you appreciate Hitler's propaganda.

Irony deficient (5, Funny)

watchful.babbler (621535) | more than 10 years ago | (#7100608)

Surely I'm not the only one who finds a dark amusement in seeing both "The benefits of being unemployed" and "Where do I find an honest headhunter?" showing up simultaneously on the Slashdot front page.

Re:Irony deficient (1)

tmark (230091) | more than 10 years ago | (#7100661)

I guess it's the people who are unemployed who also need help finding a good headhunter. I take my amusement at wondering what these articles say about the readership....

Coincedence? (0, Offtopic)

wasabii (693236) | more than 10 years ago | (#7100612)

Heh I just applied for GM on DragonRealms right before I noticed a post on /. from SimuAndy. Now THAT"S a coincedence!

Kind of unimaginative.... (4, Interesting)

puppetman (131489) | more than 10 years ago | (#7100614)

What about,

- working on that interesting open-source software project. Good for the resume as well

- do some volunteering (hey - just go to the park and pick up garbage for an hour or two, till the unionized city employees chase you off)

- get in shape (running is cheap, and so are push-ups)

- eat better; too broke to eat out, so buy lots of veggies; kick the coffee and beer habit (too expensive)

- go to the library and get out all the "classics" (whatever your definition of a classic might be) and read them. No essay at the end required, unless you really want to.

Time like that should be used in a positive way. The silver lining around the dark cloud. And when you go for interviews, let them know what you've been doing - makes you look like a well rounded person who knows how to organize his/her time.

Re:Kind of unimaginative.... (1)

rossz (67331) | more than 10 years ago | (#7100701)

kick the coffee and beer habit


You can have my coffee when you pry it from my cold, dead hand. The morning I wake up from a double bypass I will demand a double espresso - because that's how I start each and every day and I'm not about to let something minor like heart failure get in the way.

Re:Kind of unimaginative.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7100732)

I don't know where you buy your veggies, or how well your experienved with having no money, but anything fresh is out of most unemployed peoples ranges.

just imagine (0, Redundant)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 10 years ago | (#7100621)

a beowulf cluster of unemployed people:

playing cards?
watching the game on tv?
etc.

Re:just imagine (1)

Laconian (578463) | more than 10 years ago | (#7100696)

Imagine a beowulf cluster of unemployed petrified naked Natalie Portmans! I've done the Slashdot Gods proud.

unemployment (4, Funny)

Unominous Coward (651680) | more than 10 years ago | (#7100645)

The boss told me that if I'm late for work again tomorrow, I shouldn't bother turning up on Monday.

Woohoo! Four day weekend!!

Re:unemployment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7100743)

"Homer, have you been up all night eating cheese and reading Slashdot again?"

"I think I'm blind!"

For perks of being unemployed without the guilt... (5, Funny)

goodbye_kitty (692309) | more than 10 years ago | (#7100646)

For all the perks of being unemployed without the guilt, frustration and lack of income that it brings with it...Do a PhD! ......back to the grind, another day of back-breaking research ahead...ooops...dont feel like working, i think ill go home and sleep instead....better tell the boss...wait...there is no boss...hehehe....my paper is not due till next month, ill just do it the night before.

Re:For perks of being unemployed without the guilt (1)

mlk (18543) | more than 10 years ago | (#7100753)

Or work in IT.

Drawback. . . (0)

XplosiveX (644740) | more than 10 years ago | (#7100648)

A drawback about being unemployed would be to not ever get the satisfaction of having sex on your desk with a hot co-worker. ;)

Who said the Slashdot editors weren't smart ? (4, Funny)

tmark (230091) | more than 10 years ago | (#7100649)

After all, they're smart enough to realize that articles about being unemployed are likely to be of great interest to a large proportion of those people spending the most time reading Slashdot.

Way to go after your core readership guys !

What a waste of an article... (1)

boomgopher (627124) | more than 10 years ago | (#7100651)

why would anyone bother... oh wait, "Posted by michael". Nevermind.

Reading this article... (1)

Qinopio (602437) | more than 10 years ago | (#7100658)

Reading this article on the job just got me fired!

</lie>

Cast off thy chains, all ye slaves of desire! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7100659)

Move to alaska and hunt for food. Burn your BMW before your life runs out paying for it! Cube monkeys are slaves! Thinking that you need to get ahead is just a trick to keep you humping! Run! Run!

"simple living" (4, Informative)

penguin7of9 (697383) | more than 10 years ago | (#7100660)

There is actually an entire movement of people that have discovered this. Look for "simple living" on Google. "The Simple Living Guide" by Luhrs is pretty nice reading, too.

Even if you don't want to adopt frugality and simple living right now, just knowing that you could can make you worry a lot less about the future.

What to do when unemployed. (-1, Troll)

rice_burners_suck (243660) | more than 10 years ago | (#7100678)

Don't like being unemployed? Then instead of wasting your time writing this anti-Bush crap (notice that I did NOT say whether I am against or for Bush; that's for me to know and for the reader to wonder), you should:
  1. Look for a job.
  2. Start a small business.
    --OR--
  3. Sign up for unemployment and welfare, like some lazy piece of shit.

Great (funny) unemployed link! (1)

earthforce_1 (454968) | more than 10 years ago | (#7100681)


http://www.oddtodd.com/cartoons.html

Watch a day in a life (Laid off Land)

I nearly laughed myself sick! This was acutually made by a laid off dot bomber.

(It is worth the wait, and reminded me that flash is useful for more than just annoying ads)

A real benefit (2, Interesting)

tmark (230091) | more than 10 years ago | (#7100686)

Most of his "benefits" seem to have been writing with a smirk. One friend of mine who has been unemployed for about 9 months has been catching all hell from his wife. However, even she has to admit that his being unemployed and his consequent stays at home with their 2-y old son has made them much closer. For instance, before the son never ran to his father for comfort (only ever his mother), now he does. I think my friend has become a much better father largely because he is unemployed. (Of course, that doesn't stop him from wanting to leave the kid alone while he's sleeping so he can go checking out the satellite dish store down the street, because he thinks the baby monitor will reach halfway to the store, but don't tell his wife).

Bitter much? (4, Insightful)

The Tyro (247333) | more than 10 years ago | (#7100689)

Sheesh... a few of flashes of insight in there, but it's mostly bitter, sarcastic, angst-ridden despair... quite depressing read, actually.

Notice how he blames it on everyone else, as if some puppetmaster controls his destiny? (evil corporations, GW Bush, supervisors and managers). Sheesh, guy... I hate to sound like your dad, but that's life. Lots of people have been screwed out of jobs before, and lots of peolpe have had jobs that frankly sucked, but there's always work out there if you are willing to swallow some pride, and make some sacrifices. Go back to school for god's sake.

I wish I hadn't read that depressing little piece... I'd say it was a lot higher on the despair scale than the humor scale.

well said (1)

ScottSpeaks! (707844) | more than 10 years ago | (#7100690)

"...a small break in a busy day."

Or not so busy.
{sigh}

What I really want to know... (2, Insightful)

wessto (469499) | more than 10 years ago | (#7100705)

...is at what point he gives up his monthly internet bill.

I've been looking at my monthly budget for ways to save a few bucks and dsl is costing a lot, but I feel I can't let go of it.

Okay, Dubya may be an idiot, but... (2, Offtopic)

1337_h4x0r (643377) | more than 10 years ago | (#7100706)

damn, this guy is OBSSESSED! Check out the link [dvorkin.com] at the bottom of the article page. I can totally agree with people wondering about the policies of the president, and even not liking him as a person, but insulting someone's daughters and his family is going a wee bit far... hard to agree with his "I'm a nice guy" comment after reading his list...

This is News for Nerds? (1)

GoofyBoy (44399) | more than 10 years ago | (#7100721)


Nothing tech related, just one person's view on being unemployeed. Are us Nerds generally that unemployeed?

Spell it out... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7100725)

L - O - S - E - R

lived through the no heat thing 2 winters ago (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7100737)

Didn't have the money to fix a 25-year-old furnace shaking itself apart with a horrible delayed ignition problem (Kaboom!). Did later sell the condo at a nice profit.

The condo had large single-pane windows that always drew comments, but did nothing for insulation. The lowest temperatures at the first floor thermostat hit low 50's (Thankfully there was a heated space below that did some good). It actually became bearable although I wouldn't want to do it again. Wore a hat, couple of long john tops, couple of t-shirts, sweat top. 2 long-john bottoms and sweat bottoms. Would sit in a chair or at my computer with a blanket (was still paying for DSL till the end!!). The worse part was my hands and face. With my nose being the worse. Should have got one of those face mask things. Sleeping was fine. Showering was avoided at all costs. Going to the bathroom also involved the shock of cold as you had to get all those layers positioned or off.

I had very few pipes and they all ran through a heated space to me. Your pipes may break before you do. If you do the no heat thing make sure you insulate pipes. Take a small room and make it your heat space. Crank up the TV and computer and confine you activities to that area. Your own body heat can raise the ambient. You need all the help you can get.

Half your pay without even working 20 hours (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#7100741)

He's missing one of the biggest bonuses... unemployment pay:

Your state pays you to sit at home and make a half-hearted effort for looking for a job, even though you were already really trying anyway. Nice little bonus that reminds you the reason you lost your job in the eyes of the state was not your fault.

This hits home... (1)

OgreChow (206018) | more than 10 years ago | (#7100742)

His comments sound very close to my recent experiences in starting up my own business. You would be amazed at how much time you can spend comparing laundry detergent prices.

You insensitive clod! :-) (1)

Dr. Photo (640363) | more than 10 years ago | (#7100745)

SimuAndy writes "David Dvorkin, a programmer and writer of some repute, has published an essay on The Surprising Benefits of Being Unemployed. Well worth the reading time as a small break in a busy day."

Oh, sure... go ahead and rub it in, Mr. Busy Day!
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>