If You Are Unemployed or Underemployed

Make the most of your time...

Escapism is not a good full time occupation due to consequences.

Recent studies are indicating that TV watching and sleeping is rising rather than learning, exercise or self-improvement among the unemployed or underemployed. Other studies indicate that use of prescription psychoactive and painkiller drugs is escalating. Among developed countries the US is the third most expensive place to acquire cocaine along with its cousin methamphetamine due to high demand equaling high pricing by drug dealers. Americans are retreating into escapism and it should be no surprise given the state of our economy. Gratification providers are opportunistic capitalists and more than willing to make a profit at the expense of peoples need for comfort and their weaknesses.

As someone who has experienced both unemployment and underemployment since 2007 I can attest that this is a mistake I personally see a lot of people making. When I lost my job in 2007 due to the mortgage/foreclosure crisis, I determined that I was going to remain positive. It occurred in late summer and the stock market was cascading downward and it was clear that things were definitely awry in the economy in general and the first layoffs in the real estate, construction and financial industry were beginning. It seemed obvious to me that getting employment that matched what I had was unlikely. Fortunately there was another income in my household and by cutting expenses we would be alright for the time being.

My first goal was to keep my time occupied and I determined a course of action that was twofold. The first was practical; take care of items around the home that had been neglected and had fallen by the wayside that two full time working adults often don't have time or inclination for. The other was to reinvigorate my creative interests and cultivate them further. I set goals to improve my creating website and video content aptitude and learn more about interacting on the social web with the natural byproduct of gaining information to get those skills. I wanted to learn more about web templates, CSS, photography, video editing and improve my writing among other things.

It made sense to me to set out on trying to find any income where I could, even if they were small amount multiple streams, for my own sake of pride and pocket money. I have competence in legal work and did temporary and short term projects as well as contracting myself out to individuals and small groups whose technical savvy was behind the curve and wanted help using computers, the web and smartphones for job retention or seeking. I worked part-time for government agencies even though I dislike working in them the fact it was not permanent made it palatable. There were dry spells of income between and sometimes it was sketchy if we were even going to break even at times.

Think beyond the long term social, economic and political disruption.

This is a long term economic reset and it is likely to get worse before it gets better. The road to worldwide and American economy readjustment is a long one that is mostly uphill. Since there are no easy resolutions, as TARP and Quantitative Easing have proven, we may as well settle into the idea of making the best we can of it. My point is that during this time I think we are going to be divided not so much by education or income but by who is making the best use of their time with limited resources and those who are languishing by the wayside. This is a personal choice and I make no judgment on those who choose to fall into escapism but reserve my right not to associate with them or allow them to interfere with my well-being.

As it happens, those people I know who have been taking these past few years of unemployment and underemployment and undertaking self-development are getting some rewards for their efforts. Personally through being engaged with activities and other people I was gaining a new network of people in similar situations. Just over a year ago, right as I was beginning to think I would never hold a regular job again and have health insurance, through my associations and a recommendation I obtained a part-time job with inexpensive health benefits. The pay is much lower than I'm used to but it supplements another regular income I now have. Additionally through my creative work I'm still able to pick up pocket money. None of this would have happened if I had not remained positive and kept myself going.

This has gone a long way to improve not only my financial situation but also my sense of self although life has not returned to what it was financially. Looking back, I'm not sure now I need it to, I've learned a whole new way of living that has given me a sense of liberty and freedom I didn't have when working the drudgery of a "real job for The Man." My concept of thinking if you're doing the right thing the money will follow has been reinforced. I'm not as concerned for the future since I believe that if I maintain and keep current on changes in the society and the way we all will be living then my personal economic condition will eventually improve naturally.

Prepare for after the storm looking toward the future.

There have been times that managing my outlook has been a challenge and it takes work to keep going. During those times it is a matter of pressing forward even if it is slowly rather than pausing and risk momentum. To me it is a mistake to fall into watching too much TV, losing yourself passively watching sports, relying on chemically altering the mind for pleasure and other negative escapism. Whatever your interests are, be they creative endeavors, active sports, outdoor pursuits, mental and intellectual improvement or any combination, figure out a way to engage in them. If money is tight or non-existent there is always something you can do for healthy gratification and positive interaction with people.

This social, economic and political upheaval will end some day and your future beyond that depends upon what you are doing during it.

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