My First Unemployed Month

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I was laid off my job as Lead Developer of a Web startup on August 15, 2012. I was sad, changing email and API accounts. Nevertheless, I expected to put my unexpected free time to good use.

I missed riding my bicycle. I wanted to promote my novel, Sociopathic Surgeon. I needed a new job.

What should I do first?

I decided to clean my apartment. I wanted to treat myself to a maid service. However, I was unemployed. Should I start in the kitchen or the bathroom? I thought about this in bed. I took a nap.

I got up to make coffee an hour later. I drank coffee and checked email in bed. It was sad, mostly work-related. I read Ron Paul’s Texas Straight Talk for inspiration. I stopped for dinner and recharged my iPad.

I realized that I was depressed during dinner. The kitchen and bathroom were daunting. I needed something easier. What would cheer me up? I had free time, I should find a girlfriend. I stopped drinking, but I could get dressed and walk to a bar.

I am 5'9", 145 now. I lost thirty pounds, have clothing in all sizes. Sadly, I discovered that everything I wanted to wear was dirty. I needed clean clothes more than a girlfriend.

My dirty laundry is in a deep closet under the attic. Four or five large plastic bags of dirty laundry fell out when I opened the door. I left them there. My iPad had enough power to order new clothes with second-day delivery. I went to sleep satisfied.

Day 2

I forced myself to take a bicycle ride. Not my challenging, hilly course; a flat ride around downtown Lexington, Kentucky. I was in lousy shape. I checked one bag of dirty laundry after dinner. Nice clothes, but they smelled. I put the bags deeper in the closet so I could open the door easily.

I had accomplished enough. I read Ron Paul speeches until I fell asleep.

Day 3

Prepared for new clothing with sixty situps and planks before breakfast. I had a delightful breakfast until I saw my clothing receipt. I needed a job more than clean clothing. I edited my resume until new clothes arrived.

New clothes were outstanding. I showered and changed my outfit. I am supposed to be sharing a washing machine with my landlord, but she moved it and she was not home. I washed my previous outfit in the bathtub. I changed my sheets. I started a new dirty laundry pile outside the closet with the sheets and whatever I found under the bed.

New laundry pile was brilliant. A constant reminder. New pajama bottoms fit perfectly. I vowed to buy another pair with my first paycheck. I would apply for jobs tomorrow.

Day 4

I woke up at sunrise without a schedule. I removed my pajama bottoms after sixty situps / planks. I showered, shaved, dressed in my washed outfit, went outside. A glorious Summer day. I had to ride my bicycle.

I wasn’t tired after I rode 12 hilly miles. I stopped for a drink and energy bar before riding downtown. At home, I treated myself to a personal favorite, three scrambled eggs with mustard and pretzels. I drank a quart of milk.

I answered a few emails before I slept until sunrise.

Day 5

My back and legs hurt. My pajama bottoms seemed old. I looked at an old man in the mirror. I will collect Social Security in a few years. I wanted it now.

I stayed in bed, registering for job sites. I was forced to get up because most sites require a real computer to upload files.

Remarkably, I had forgotten that I am more productive at my desk. I concluded that the iPad was behind my depression. I turned it off. I celebrated by ordering three pairs of pajama bottoms.

Days 6-10

I could read mail in bed with my iPhone, but needed to sit at my desk to reply. I improved my resume, uploaded to more sites. I felt productive, so I went for a bicycle ride to loosen up my back. I reinjured my back, stayed in bed with iPhone.

Days 11-30

More job applications were sent and rejected.

Used iPhone to explore Wikipedia in bed. I sent a daughter their list of online dating services. I clicked several links before sending it. In a couple of hours, I had two apps and many notifications.

I answered and rated hundreds of weird personality questions. I was rewarded with the opportunity to answer weirder questions on the phone, from potential partners who might be hundreds of miles away.

My first favorite lonely woman, a 96% match, was 400 miles away. I sent her inspirational messages. She sent meaningful replies. I wanted to meet her.

Then I received a thoughtful inquiry from a 94% match, 1500 miles away. We spoke for an hour, agreeing about everything.

I stayed up after that call, wondering whom I should visit first. Sunrise cleared me up. I needed a job more than a long distance girlfriend. I deleted my dating apps and profiles.

Days 31-

Felt better after I learned that it is normal to be depressed while unemployed.

Why Is Daddy Crying? wore the same sweater for three months, until his wife made it disappear.

Joe Barlow switched to sweat pants after 192 days. Barlow said:

With the stress, boredom, and depression that goes along with an unemployed lifestyle, sweatpants become ideal. The comfort, ease of putting on, and especially the room for weight gain makes sweatpants the best clothing option.

A compelling argument. Alas, my sweatpants are somewhere in the closet.