Boston Globe Reporter Gushes Over 'Joys' of Unemployment

The most important thing to keep in mind while reading this Boston Globe article, is that it would never have been written six months ago. Why? Because at that time the "evil" Republicans controlled the White House and unemployment would have been portrayed as grim. However, now that Barack Obama is in the Oval office, rising unemployment is being presented almost lovingly as you can see in the very title of the article written by Jenn Abelson, "For now, laid off and loving it":

A few days after David Adler's wife decided to leave her law firm in December, he was laid off from his job designing software at Brightcove.

It was shocking. And scary.

Until it wasn't. Adler has quickly learned to appreciate some aspects of his unexpected unemployment.

The 42-year-old spends his days doting on his 6-month-old daughter, visiting museums with his family, and preparing for a possible exhibit of his photos at a local coffee shop in Dedham. Living off savings, unemployment, and severance packages, Adler knows he has to get a job eventually and has started the search. But for now, he's cherishing every moment. "It's our first child and I love watching her grow," Adler said. "And it's nice to have time off and get in touch with my old hobbies."

Hey, all you out of work folks! Don't lie awake nights worrying how you will pay your bills. Instead you should cherish every unemployed moment. 

As the ranks of the nation's unemployed grows, more Americans are facing the reality of life without work. Despite the grim task of making ends meet (firing the nanny, bailing on Whole Foods, applying for unemployment), there is a newly forming society of people who are making the best of being laid off. They are rediscovering hobbies. They are greeting kids at the school bus. They are remembering what daylight actually looks like.

LOL! What elitist bubble is Jenn Abelson living in? Yeah, I'm going to tell my unemployed friend, Beercan Bob, living in the Alabama backwoods that he will need to make ends meet by firing the nanny while firing up the still and refrain from chowing down Whole Foods (no big deal since he is a KFC man).

And the massive layoffs by companies nationwide - nearly 600,000 jobs were lost last month - has helped remove the stigma and shame of being unemployed, according to John A. Challenger, chief executive of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a Chicago outplacement firm.

Whoopee!!! No more stigma attached to being on the bum...especially since The One is president. 

"There's less of a 'why aren't you working attitude' that is giving people some extra space and freedom to explore new directions and just take time off to do the things they've wanted to do, whether it's spending more time with children, taking a class, or traveling around the world," Challenger said.

You've just been fired and lost your source of income. What are you going to do next? Why I'm going to Disney, better yet...I'm going to travel around the world!!!

John Stephen Dwyer so far isn't missing his job or former office overlooking Chinatown. The 41-year-old Boston native was laid off in November from his $40,000-a-year job as education coordinator for the Clinical Research Graduate Program of Tufts University Sackler School of Biomedical Sciences. And he hasn't started seriously looking for new work.

Don't get Dwyer wrong - times aren't exactly easy. He has applied for unemployment and now takes the subway instead of taxis. But he has started doing things he enjoys: taking a class in history and ethics of biotechnology at the Harvard Extension School; cooking food for the homeless; and attending weekday Mass at churches around Boston.

Just what my unemployed buddy, Beercan Bob, is looking for. A Harvard Extension class in the ethics of biotechnology. I don't know about the ethics part but I do know he might be interested in the biotechnology since he could use some extra tips while cultivating his new green weed cash crop out in the sticks.

As bad as it feels to lose a job, temporary unemployment can provide a much-needed intervention to workaholics who can benefit from such a break, said Douglas T. Hall, a professor at the Boston University School of Management.

"It's the success syndrome. You work hard, you do well. It's very satisfying and that gets you more involved to start working even harder," Hall said. "It's a success spiral that people get into. And sometimes it takes some extreme experience to get out of that spiral."

Don't think of it as unemployment. Just consider it a mandatory vacation. 

Kendra Winner, who in September lost her $95,000-a-year job designing teacher professional development training, described her escape from the spiral: "I'm loving being home because I no longer feel like the Eiffel Tower is crushing my skull. I was squeezing so much into limited bandwidth as a working mom. Now, I don't feel like I'm chronically overcapacitated."

Winner's epiphany has come at a price. The 46-year-old has cut back on the nanny, slashed last year's Christmas budget in half to $400, and started shopping for less expensive groceries at Market Basket. The usual February ski vacation is being replaced by a stay-at-home vacation with the kids.

She cut back on the nanny? Such sacrifice! And Beercan Bob can really sympathize. He cut back on the more expensive groceries at his local Piggly Wiggly. Just ham hocks for him nowadays. None of that fancy pork shoulder.

And these days, Winner has a hard time imagining going back to the crushing schedule of a full-time job and missing out on the simple joys, like staffing her first school field trip.

She is looking for work, particularly because she's concerned her husband's job at an advertising technology firm isn't safe. And after spending a recent week home with her sick 3-year-old, Winner was starting to miss work.

Yeah. Like Maynard G. Krebs missed work. ...WORK! 

And don't be suprised if next year reporter Abelson writes a glowing story about the joys of hyperinflation as paper money becomes worth less and less due to Obama's "stimulus" package. Prepare for stories about how much fun folks have living by barter rather than paying for things with highly devalued dollars. Such a creative joy!  

Unemployment Boston Globe
P.J. Gladnick's picture