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The downside of unemployment

/, Day in the Life, Unemployment/The downside of unemployment

The downside of unemployment

It’s been over three months since I was laid-off from KGO Radio, and over time, like the stages of grief, my feelings toward unemployment have changed. At first, I was shocked, elated, free, thrilled to take a break from the daily grind and reclaim my life. Then, I went to Thailand, and experienced a new culture, new landscape, new pace, new activities that challenged me. But then, I came back from the high of vacation to a new low – the feeling that unemployment can be challenging, lonely, and sometimes, sad.

It’s strange being unemployed in a world where everyone works. People are rushing around to their solitary day jobs, making money to put in their own pockets to create their own oasis within this massive crush of people. Their own home, their own car, their own family, their own food and vacations and amenities and this and that. I feel without a full-time job, I don’t really have anything to contribute, and it feels strange.

Living on a sailboat that I leave early every morning due to lack of amenities adds another challenge to this situation, as has not having a car. I decided to leave my car up in Portland after driving a load of my stuff up to my Mom’s garage, so have been navigating the bus system to get from coffee shop to library to gym to my voiceover job in Oakland. Some days, I walk up to five miles with a heavy backpack to make the connections between buses, BART trains and destinations. I know that when I do get my car back, I’ll feel very thankful for it, and will never take it for granted.

Life in the unemployed world feels a bit like being a sailboat on the open sea, sure of my bearing but not knowing exactly where I’ll land. It’s given me a lot of time to think and reflect on where I want to live, what I want to do with my time. I’ve discovered being a freelance writer is challenging and that I miss radio news. I’ve discovered it isn’t easy to focus the mind to accomplish goals. I’ve learned that while living on a sailboat is a fun adventure, it’s not necessarily easy to live without internet, a bathroom and a kitchen.

Not working has had an effect on me. It’s easy to feel a little useless when my day is spent wandering around Marin County, hanging out  at transit centers. But through this, I’ve tried to stay positive. I schedule lunches with friends and exercise heartily and do freelance writing, plus a couple voiceover gigs per week. I figure out new dinners to make on the sailboat, where all I have to cook with is  JetBoil burner and a solitary pan. I sit on the stern and read in the evening sun with a glass of wine. So, life isn’t bad, it’s just a little boring. Society isn’t really structured to live in while unemployed.

Whenever I am working full time, I wish I had more time. I wish more of my mind was my own, to write, to be creative. When I’m unemployed, I wish I had more structure. So, the world between working and not working is a strange Catch 22, and I have to learn how to capture the moment.

I can understand how some people could get depressed while unemployed. It takes a conscious effort to get up and out, to plan fun activities, to get stuff done and feel accomplished. I’m thankful to have a strong social support system around me, or I’d be feeling even more lost. I do know, that soon, I’ll have chartered a course again, and know my exact destination.

By | 2016-06-15T21:49:37+00:00 June 15th, 2016|Categories: Budget Lifestyle, Day in the Life, Unemployment|50 Comments

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50 Comments

  1. Joe Caldwell July 14, 2016 at 5:11 am - Reply

    Best wishes. JC

    • Stewart August 29, 2016 at 6:04 pm - Reply

      We all been unemployed at some time in our lives. The good thing is that you have people the care for you which a lot of people don’t have. I know what you mean about it being hard to concentrate. You’re mind races in self-doubt and it’s hard to focus.

      My suggestion is start a daily routine with specific goals.

      Also, you are young without children, so think creatively like about a career. Sometimes starting a business is more rewarding then working for someone else:

      Some ideas for you

      Start a Video Blog of your interest. People make a lot of money doing this.

      Offer Proofreading Services for people like me

      Start a social media marking company. Companies need people with good comunciation skills to write blog, tweets, etc. for their products.

      The above takes time to make money, but I guarantee you will make money in the end.

      Good Luck

    • Stewart August 29, 2016 at 6:04 pm - Reply

      We all been unemployed at some time in our lives. The good thing is that you have people the care for you which a lot of people don’t have. I know what you mean about it being hard to concentrate. You’re mind races in self-doubt and it’s hard to focus.

      My suggestion is start a daily routine with specific goals.

      Also, you are young without children, so think creatively like about a career. Sometimes starting a business is more rewarding then working for someone else:

      Some ideas for you

      Start a Video Blog of your interest. People make a lot of money doing this.

      Offer Proofreading Services for people like me

      Start a social media marking company. Companies need people with good comunciation skills to write blog, tweets, etc. for their products.

      The above takes time to make money, but I guarantee you will make money in the end.

      Good Luck

    • steve September 6, 2016 at 3:16 am - Reply

      well as a willing Homeless myself here is my advise. start a routine get breakfast/hit wifi hotspot/job search/ get lunch/ work time/dinner/ relax time (read,movie,any hobby).fill your day keep busy. Internet: my favorite wifi hotspot Panera buy 1 drink free refills all day & wifi, maybe breakfast /lunch/ dinner as well. also there are other places library, many other public wifi systems as well. Bathroom: Walmart & a few convenient stores have 24/7 bathrooms, baby wipes are your friend, if they can clean a baby why not you. Kitchen: this is the tough 1 small propane cooker /1 pan 6″-8″/pot 1-2 qt/ couple Tbs/forks/knives / can opener if you have safe place for a cooler great. country crock/ eggs/ bread really need no refrigeration cooler can keep most items 3-5 days. Urban camping can be a challenge at times, but the money I save, let’s me live the life I want, I meet new people, travel, all because home is where ever i’m at.

    • ePrequal.com (@ePrequalcom) September 6, 2016 at 6:58 pm - Reply

      Kristin,
      Congrats on the adventures. You may know the number one podcast/blogger in SF Tim Ferris, highly recommends living on very little from time to time to achieve that highly focused state of mind that only comes when we are scared or “in the zone” as I call it.

      Please visit my LinkedIn page at David Van Waldick. I have written an article on “The Role of the Private Sector in Helping the Homeless.” I believe if you look deep at your current experience, you are exactly where you belong. The plight of homeless, and “frugal living” by millions and growing, is a huge opportunity for those willing to take the challenge and build a passion and career around finding solutions and resources for those affected. Very few have the education, resoureces, and support that you have. It is up to people like you to find new ways for them to be safe, healthy, and engaged in a meaningful life.

      I would be happy to chat with you directly on the topic and some of the things we have done in San Diego to help the 10,000 homeless of which 1 out of 3 are veterans.

      Thanks for your blog article.

  2. […] then in May, she got laid off from her job. So she moved onto her boyfriend’s sailboat where they are both living full […]

  3. […] then in May, she got laid off from her job. So she moved onto her boyfriend’s sailboat where they are both living full […]

  4. […] then in May, she got laid off from her job. So she moved onto her boyfriend’s sailboat where they are both living full […]

  5. ihernia August 28, 2016 at 11:26 pm - Reply

    Thank You for sharing a lot of important details of your experience for all to consider. You are a smart, healthy, vibrant young white woman with a boyfriend and support system. Imagine if some of these attributes did not exist- brings to mind the many who are struggling these days. Best wishes and hope this challenging period brings you a successful future in many ways.

    • Kristin August 28, 2016 at 11:52 pm - Reply

      I agree with you! I’m thankful that I have an amazing support system.

      • leah August 29, 2016 at 12:22 am - Reply

        Have you considered moving to Portland, Oregon, where your mom lives? We have a steady flow of Californians moving here, due to the exorbitant cost of living there, while our cost of living, especially rents, is increasing dramatically here, altho lot less than San Francisco. Don’t know how long Portland will be affordable either!

        • Kristin August 29, 2016 at 12:24 am - Reply

          I’m actually born and raised in Portland! I am seeing the changes and it makes me so sad!

  6. […] then in May, she got laid off from her job. So she moved onto her boyfriend’s sailboat where they are both living full […]

  7. […] then in May, she got laid off from her job. So she moved onto her boyfriend’s sailboat, where they are both living full […]

  8. Sabrina August 29, 2016 at 12:43 am - Reply

    Hi Kristin, I find your blog inspiring, refreshingly honest and extremely relatable. I’m also in my 30s and live in one of the other most outrageous rental markets in the country, just outside NYC. In 30 days I have to vacate the apartment I pay over $1,800 per month for and I have no idea where I will go. With no savings, close to 20k in debt, and a struggling freelance career of my own, I just may join you on that sailboat! Anyway, I found comfort in your story and wanted to say thanks. You’re an amazing writer. Keep going girl!

    • Kristin August 29, 2016 at 4:03 am - Reply

      Thanks for the kind words and so sorry to hear about your having to move, etc. Good luck on your journey!

  9. […] afterwards in May, she got laid off from her job. So she changed onto her boyfriend’s sailboat, where they are both vital full […]

  10. Allie August 29, 2016 at 1:04 am - Reply

    Write a book of poems reflecting the life you’ve experienced including the pleasant and the not so pleasant. Then, partner with Amazon.com as a self publisher. Sell a million copies at a dollar per copy. I see such a brilliant, vibrant, young woman who can do all things through Christ, who strengthens her. I wish you well.

  11. […] then in May, she got laid off from her job. So she moved onto her boyfriend’s sailboat, where they are both living full […]

  12. Meredydd C August 29, 2016 at 1:23 am - Reply

    I used to love temp jobs. Sign up with a few agencies, work through a contract. It gives you a chance to make money with minimal commitment, maximum flexibility and opportunities to check out potential employment. It also provides experiences and exposure to work situations you might never have considered. Temp work makes a good fall-back position while you are hunting up your dream job.

  13. josh598 August 29, 2016 at 1:42 am - Reply

    This could be a great chapter for you! I am enjoying your blog , it’s great; I definitely understand how the full time work week is a challenge, especially for creative types and unemployment has its own challenges of course! Best to you

  14. Chris August 29, 2016 at 1:55 am - Reply

    Kristin, thank you for sharing this. Doing the same, well, moving in with a friend renting a room to save money for a bit. I think more and more people will likely continue do this and hopefully drive down these exorbitant rent prices. Peace from NJ, Chris.

  15. Cathleen Pomponio August 29, 2016 at 2:11 am - Reply

    I nearly did the same thing. But I practice Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism and I have to enshrine a Gohonzon to chant. It makes me keep focused on housing. We have a Temple in San Francisco. I urge you to visit. I promise it’s not a weird or scary thing. We have a Web site http://www.nst.org you can find the address there. I live in Hawaii and rent is like California, very expensive. I found a little unit in Kalihi Honolulu and am resident manager. Each unit is about $700 for one person. Keep Honolulu in mind and check with the YWCA Fernhurst for monthly rates. There are many nice places on the big Island in Hilo or Kona. But I wouldn’t take a room in a house, people are too unreliable and they do drugs. Stay independent! Best for you.

  16. Tasha Brewer August 29, 2016 at 3:04 am - Reply

    Best of wishes to you!!! I think what you are doing is awesome as well as inspiring!!! Thanks for sharing your journey!!!:}

  17. Jason August 29, 2016 at 3:51 am - Reply

    living on your boyfriend’s boat isn’t supporting yourself BTW. this is the second article this weekend i’ve read about some hot chick who decides to live off her guy and make a big stink about how independent and happy she is.

    • Kristin August 29, 2016 at 3:53 am - Reply

      I pay him. How’s that living off him?

      • Anthony August 30, 2016 at 12:31 am - Reply

        Ignore the negative idiots, you’re doing what you need to do not to be on the system or take advantage of it. I applaud you! I read your blog as i’m always looking for great ideas on how to save for tomorrow and rainy days.

        Best of luck, I will certainly follow you on your blog now!

        Anthony
        Ottawa, ON

  18. Financial Samurai August 29, 2016 at 3:59 am - Reply

    Cool you got picked up on Yahoo! Hopefully you can find a lot of freelance work as a result. I’m based in SF and have been blogging up personal finance since 2009. It’s been a blast and the opportunities for content creation, SEO, social media seem abundant with so many startups.

    Best of luck!

    Sam in SF

    • Kristin August 29, 2016 at 4:01 am - Reply

      Freelancing is hard! That is my dream job but takes a lot of work 🙂 Thanks for the encouragement and good luck on your blog!

  19. […] afterwards in May, she got laid off from her job.Las Aventuras de Miguelito Cabeza Carbonilla 3: Miguelito y el misterio de la alfombra roja: Volume […]

  20. Henry August 29, 2016 at 4:45 am - Reply

    K., you seem to be a very creative person, full of life. Why wouldn’t you consider becoming a teacher motivating kids in your preferred age group from Kindergarten to High School outside the big/expensive cities. You probably have enough College credits already or need minimal additional credits to satisfy requirements. Job security, benefits, peace of mind, and plenty of free time/vacations to go sailing and do the other things you want to do.

    Wish you well and hope you find what you’re looking for very soon!

  21. hugh jorgan August 29, 2016 at 5:02 am - Reply

    Since you don’t have a skill that is in steady demand IN san francisco, then perhaps you need to broaden your landscape and consider moving to another part of the country??? Hard to say it but… San Francisco doesn’t want you or it would have a job for you that pays enough for you to rent.

    If your skill doesn’t even pay enough (when fully employed) to rent a cheap place, then you are going to live a miserable existence JUST because you want to be in san francisco.

    That’s silly..

    • Kristin August 29, 2016 at 2:38 pm - Reply

      When I lived in the car and the tent I did have a job, and didn’t want to quit. I wanted to pay off debt. Yes, now I am looking for jobs outside of San Francisco and haven’t found one yet.

  22. […] then in May, she got laid off from her job. So she moved onto her boyfriend’s sailboat, where they are both living full […]

  23. NIk August 29, 2016 at 8:35 am - Reply

    well, if the things get rough you can always move back to your mom’s house and find a job around, even if it will be at McDonalds, i can’t understand why people try to present their situation as desperate, whereas in fact its just they dont want to go back in their living standart.By the way i like you, i am about the same age and i go through similar dificulties , but as long as we are healthy its all fine

  24. […] She’s also freelancing and writing a blog about living on budget living called “World on a String.” […]

  25. Susan Mason August 29, 2016 at 2:47 pm - Reply

    Wow. you did homeless how I planned to do homeless if necessary.

    As to unemployment, I found myself laid off at 60. An awkward age to be job hunting. Never did find something to replace the six figures. Am running the volunteer fire department in my small community and am on the Grand Jury this year. Also doing some massage part-time. I really resonate with the lack of structure that you mention. Have motivation issues because there are few deadlines in my day!

    Also I remember the stigma I felt as “unemployed”. The stigma has worn off, as I am now 68 and can claim “retirement”. Try looking at your lifestyle as “choosing”. A glass of wine on a sailboat sounds like a lot of people’s dreams. Are there any novels or free lance opportunities in all those transit stations? You are gathering fodder for a project perhaps.

    (I’m also in the Bay Area. Very lucky I got a foot in the door in my 30’s as to a roof over my head.)

  26. Ivan Lee August 29, 2016 at 3:33 pm - Reply

    Hello,….from Canada……I love what your doing wandering aimlessly ……..through life but REMEMBER that all great adventures look aimless when they are really reinvention of oneself.

    NOW, let’s get to the good part ….last week my brother with the Masters of Economics was telling me to keep paying attention to the 20-40 year olds.I have seen 9 cases were they seem to be losing it emotionally.

    One of the 20-40’s was scolded by her grandfather for not having a house on $ 11.25 an hour …..like he did at the same age.I explained that Grampa lived through the best times since the beginning of man.

    If you were born between 1935-1965 and you messed up then your an IDIOT.
    If you were born between 1965-1990 you had some tough times because of inflation.
    If you are born after 1990 then we need to have compassion since it is the hardest time since the cave.

    We need someone to interview these 20-40 somethings and hear the stories in a Documentary made on an iphone, articles, and a GOOD BOOK…..NB….when I told the 23 year old that her grandfather had the best times she wanted to hug me,release her LOSER GUILT and I had struck a nerve deep in her soul.
    Suicides will be more common and human suffering greater without you ____KRISTIN___
    YOU have an opportunity to reinvent yourself and give this suffering a voice.

  27. TJ August 29, 2016 at 3:57 pm - Reply

    “Whenever I am working full time, I wish I had more time. I wish more of my mind was my own, to write, to be creative. When I’m unemployed, I wish I had more structure. So, the world between working and not working is a strange Catch 22, and I have to learn how to capture the moment.”

    This was my experience as well. I’d highly advise getting out of San Francsico. At least your existing funds will go a lot further. It’s hard to get hired somewhere when you are not living in the area where the job is.

    Must be cool living on a boat though.

    I plan on leaving my career in about 6 months to travel by car and AirBNB. Don’t really plan on sleeping in the car, but if it came to that, It’s nice to know it’s an option and that it’s a thing that people do.

    • Kristin August 29, 2016 at 3:58 pm - Reply

      I am hoping to leave San Francisco. Looking for jobs elsewhere 🙂 Good luck on your journey!

  28. sennymatts August 29, 2016 at 4:42 pm - Reply

    Thank you Kristin, this is truly inspiring, I am without a car and live in Maryland, costs are not as high but surely high enough. I either walk, bus, run, take a cab or train (my bike was stolen recently) everywhere, I find in my travels, that complaining is only a hindrance and it’s moving forward with a positive attitude that keeps us going.

  29. Staser August 29, 2016 at 4:54 pm - Reply

    The late Sidney Jourard, a psychologist, spoke long ago about reinventing oneself, about living outside “normal” boundaries in housing, relationships, etc. It’s well worth reading what he wrote. He was ahead of his times and died an unfortunate and accidental early death,

  30. Good Lessons to be taught. Been there, actually twice and rebooted life afterwards. So much more peaceful & stress free to live today & tare so much easier to cope in the twilight of my life.

  31. Thanks for sharing your story Kristin. I’ve shared it with my fans because it’s important for anyone who is struggling to pay rent, bills or just to pay off debt to realize that the only way to do it sometimes is to give up something. Well done.

  32. Daniel August 30, 2016 at 12:52 am - Reply

    Ever thought of these cold & calculated companies laid people off once they see you are better off?

    On a corporation management or human resources’ interest perspective, the less financial burden an employee has, the less commited he/she is. If employees have little or no financial pressure, they won’t bear down, at least not as much as the ones whose living paycheck to paycheck, have mortgage to pay & have a family to feed. In other words, its bread or the end.

    The whole country is supported by the credit system. If people are loan free & mortgage free, there simply wouldn’t be a mandatory reason to put themselves in the job market, and companies don’t like that. With today’s unreasonable mortgage, high rent, and insanely inflated necessities that don’t commensurate with employees’ average salary (even after their so-called “raise”, not to mention Uncle Sam’s ruthless bite of your biweekly dough), one could only keep spinning his/her wheels & wish capitalism don’t become so slavish.

    The whole country is either in predicament or is going south. So is the world since financial market are interrelated. Like domino effects.

    Your post reminded me of some news:

    :A Yelp employee publicly complained to the CEO that she couldn’t afford to buy groceries – hours later, she was fired” – Business Insider (2-20-2016):

    http://www.businessinsider.com/talia-jane-fired-yelp-eat24-2-2016

    “Two thirds of US would struggle to cover a $1,000 crisis – Fox News (May-2016)”:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9SvzGvnsxU

  33. Lauren September 2, 2016 at 12:20 pm - Reply

    Kristin,

    I was also unemployed and uninsured (medically) for a short period of my life. The only employment I was able to get was a temporary job making a very small hourly wage with zero benefits and part time at that! After four months of that I went from entry level job X3 and moved before I landed a decent job! It has been seventeen years and I NEVER lose that feeling of gratitude that I started with on that first day! I have learned so much from that journey and would not change anything! Good luck you are beautiful and smart you will appreciate everything so much more from this struggle in life! PS jealous of your yoga moves!!!! Try to find a job that you can get a pension! Best advice I can offer! My son and daughter in law our in San Diego and have enabled themselves to do so! I will be able to retire in a few years and have secured my small slice of stability by doing the same thing! Then you will be set!

  34. AlliTerativeAnxiety October 6, 2016 at 3:43 am - Reply

    I so relate to this post! I’m discovering many of the same challenges. I was relieved to have the gift of so much free time at the beginning. While working I was always imagining the things I would do if only I had the time. Now that I have it, I’m lonely and envious of the people around me who I see coming and going with such purpose. I know I’ll miss this freedom when I’m back to work but it is rough being so isolated. Wishing you the best.

    • Kristin October 6, 2016 at 2:14 pm - Reply

      Soooo I’ve been working some 8 hour days and I can barely stand it! I keep thinking I want a fulltime job but maybe I actually don’t. Enjoy that time off!

    • Kristin October 6, 2016 at 2:14 pm - Reply

      Soooo I’ve been working some 8 hour days and I can barely stand it! I keep thinking I want a fulltime job but maybe I actually don’t. Enjoy that time off!

  35. hazelmaddie October 11, 2016 at 6:32 pm - Reply

    I relate to this so much, especially when you said that you feel like you are not contributing. I have been unemployed for about 2 weeks now, and while I have some financial security because my husband works full time, there is an expectation to contribute and be busy always. My situation is better than most, but the pressure is still there. Good luck on your journey!

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