Unemployment Opportunities
January 1, 2010 6:59 PM   Subscribe

Recently fired from my job, I'm wondering if there's something I can do with this time on my hands besides immediately looking for a new job, keeping in mind that I still have bills to pay.

I was recently (read: yesterday) fired from my job. I am re-hireable should I want to return, and I have already for unemployment.

I have bills to pay. Car insurance, car loan, cell phone, credit cards, student loans, and so on. I received a payout that can keep me afloat for about a month or so, but I'd rather not use it all if I don't have to. I do not have health insurance any more, as I was insured through my employer. I have enough money in the bank to last me until when my next payday would have been this coming week, and then I'll need to start tapping into my payout check.

My immediate response was to start hunting around craigslist.org and Monster.com, updating my resume and job hunting. I have a B.A. in psychology, 8 years of retail experience (some of that at a supervisory level), and both creative writing and grad school aspirations, but I know that school and work aren't all there is to life.

Part of me is wondering if there isn't something else I could do with all this free time I now have. I'd been talking about wanting to take a week off to catch up on my personal life, to do things that keep getting put aside after or before work.

Maybe I could do something more than just catch up.

But, what?
posted by digitaldraco to Work & Money (11 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I do not have health insurance any more, as I was insured through my employer.

Chances are you're covered under COBRA for a time, for what it's worth.
posted by odinsdream at 7:11 PM on January 1, 2010

Well, we don't know where the OP is located. If he is in the US, then, yes, COBRA is a possibility.
posted by dfriedman at 7:13 PM on January 1, 2010

I live in southern California.
posted by digitaldraco at 7:14 PM on January 1, 2010

Have you considered volunteering your time for a charitable cause? Aside from being rewarding, some programs like Meals on Wheels may reimburse mileage (you can count that as income or not, depending on how you look at it).
posted by sah at 7:33 PM on January 1, 2010

The best method I ever found for making money is to make something that makes other people money.

In my case this was drawing tattoo designs and selling them to shops..a friend of mine made the best samosas in NYC and sold them to all kinds of groceries and restaurants. Turning lead into gold, basically.

If you're trying to just float for a while until you find another job in your field, it might be a good time to get something like this going as backup, and just work a (relatively) crap job like bartending until you find what you want.

My grandfather told me when I was a kid that the key to happiness was having a job doing what you'd choose to do anyway, even if it weren't your job.
posted by chronkite at 7:37 PM on January 1, 2010 [3 favorites]

Pick an area of your life you want to improve in, be it organizing, finding a relationship, picking what you want to do for the rest of your life. But, limit yourself to one week to narrow down on that project and then start working temp jobs to keep yourself going. The advantage of doing a temp job is that it won't drain you mentally like your real job (which involved more knowledge work did) and hence when you come home you have energy to continue working on the project that you decided on in this week.
posted by iNfo.Pump at 7:51 PM on January 1, 2010

I suggest working on something you've always wanted to do but never thought you would. For me, this might be making a photography book. This will help keep you sane as you hunt for jobs. I would update your resume and hit the job sites first, and then catch up and follow a few dreams. You may get something else immediately. If you don't, make sure you enjoy yourself during your job searches.
posted by xammerboy at 9:17 PM on January 1, 2010

When I had tons of free time and little money, I did two things:
1) Culled all unnecessary crap. I had stuff that had sat in boxes for years (including horrible poetry from middle school).
2) Running (there's loads of challenges online if you like to compete against internet people).

Now I have only the stuff I actually need and use, and I'm getting healthier. And as the crappy job market drags on, running helps me relieve stress.
posted by shinyshiny at 11:30 PM on January 1, 2010 [3 favorites]

I suggest you redo your resume and start applying for jobs now. Don't wait. You can still do all of those things you mentioned and others while you're waiting for the phone to ring.
posted by bunny hugger at 1:30 AM on January 2, 2010

COBRA, uneployment, start a band/make art/go on game shows, simplify your life, read What Color is Your Parachute?, and get your priorities in order.
posted by hworth at 8:25 AM on January 2, 2010

It is fallacious to view this as binary: either job searching or doing something else. Do both: job searching does not take up the entire day, and you will have plenty of free time. And given that a great deal of businesses begin their financial year with the calendar year, in January, it may be disadvantageous of you to not immediately look for a new job, what with the economy now trending upwards, and companies now having their "2010 budgets" to play with. Plus, for the moment, you have the added benefit of not having been unemployed long, which gives you a leg-up on other applicants for positions to which you might apply. (If that sounds a bit crazed to you, I agree, but it is nonetheless a metric which businesses are using in hiring.)

In the meantime, you are most likely eligible for a government subsidizing of your COBRA benefits, making them affordable for the first nine months of your unemployment. Call up the vendors to whom you owe bills and be blunt -- many are at least somewhat flexible. File for unemployment: it is not a salary replacement, but it is money (and given that you paid unemployment taxes from each and every paycheck, it is not undeserved), and it will help you pay those vendors who are inflexible.
posted by MikeHarris at 9:24 AM on January 2, 2010

« Older Is the force trainer a scam?   |   Help me learn how to interview people. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.