Sunday, June 7, 2009

Funemployment is here

There’s a new term to add to the lexicon of the current recession: funemployment.

An article in the Los Angeles Times describes the new state:

“While millions of Americans struggle to find work as they face foreclosures and bankruptcy, others have found a silver lining in the economic meltdown,” says the article by Kimi Yoshino. “These happily jobless tend to be single and in their 20s and 30s. Some were laid off. Some quit voluntarily, lured by generous bailouts.”

The “funemployed” do not spend their time studying job listings. Instead, “they travel on the cheap for weeks. They head back to school or volunteer at the neighborhood soup kitchen. And at least until the bank account dries up, they’re content living for today.”

The Urban Dictionary’s definition of funemployment: “The condition of a person who takes advantage of being out of a job to have the time of their life.”

“‘Recession gives people permission to be unemployed,’ said David Logan, a professor at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business. ‘Why not make use of the time and go do something fun?’”

If you’re in your 50s, losing your job may not exactly be funemployment.

But there’s no rule that says you can’t take time off to recharge your batteries and have some fun before rebooting yourself. When I “retired,” I took a year off before starting back to work and had a fabulous time. It was the sabbatical I never took earlier in my career, and it thoroughly refreshed me. It gave me time to think long and hard about rebooting, and when I did decide to go back to work, I did so with confidence and enthusiasm.

I’ve often heard it said of work, “If it ain’t fun, you ain’t doing it right.” Some people are proving the same can be said of non-work.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Everywhere you look -- reinvention

Here’s a reinvention story inside another reinvention story.

My Google alert for “reinvention” served up this headline from the Boston Business Journal:

“Job crunch: With unemployment rising, reinvention is a necessity in today’s economy.”

Sounded like just the kind of story I like to comment on. I read on. Here are the first four paragraphs:

Some 50 unemployed professionals gathered in a conference room at the
ValleyWorks Career Center in Lawrence on a recent Monday afternoon. On tap was a presentation by two licensed social workers who started the session by asking those in the room to shout out their past job titles.

There was a banker, a grant manager, a computer programmer, a human resources specialist. “Now go back a few years and think about what you wanted to be as a child,” the social worker, Liz Maniscalco, said. The replies were far more adventurous, yet generic: artist, veterinarian, architect, nurse.

“Your attachment to your job attaches a lot to your personal worth,” Maniscalco said.

Most of the people in the room had recently been detached from their jobs — few, if any, by choice. The message from both the staff and jobless clients at ValleyWorks is that the thousands of workers laid-off due to the deeply troubled economy have a chance to craft new identities, to start over — whether they wanted to or not.

I thought, wow, this is a great technique for rebooting possibilities: comparing your last actual job to what you wanted to be when you were a child. If you’re thinking about rebooting and are unsure of a new direction, revisit your earlier passion.

I was warming to the story, when I came to these lines:

This article is for Paid Subscribers ONLY. If you are already a Boston Business Journal subscriber please create or sign into your account to link your valid print subscription and have access to the complete article. Become a Subscriber to receive immediate access to this article and access to additional exclusive content every week.

There’s the other reinvention story – newspapers charging for online access. It’s one way the experts say that newspapers may be able to save themselves in a rapidly deteriorating industry.

As a serial rebooter, I’m hoping many of these folks – and millions of others who are in the same boat – can successfully reinvent themselves. And as an ex-newspaperman, I’m hoping that the daily print medium survives. That printer’s ink is still inside.