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Jobless Making Efforts To Enjoy Unemployment

By CityTownInfo.com Staff
August 19, 2009

Some laid-off workers are using their newfound freedom to travel, visit friends and explore new careers.

"We're talking about people who are more accepting that their job can disappear at any time," said Gayle Porter, professor of management at the Rutgers-Camden School of Business, who was quoted in the Philadelphia Inquirer [from an article originally located at http://www.philly.com/philly/jobs/20090819_Jobless_-_but_painless_.html]. "It's not as shattering."

She also pointed out that because of the recession, employers today are much more likely to be unfazed by gaps in a resume, so there is less pressure to find a job immediately. "It used to be a stigma," she noted, "but that's no longer the case. Companies have had to trim some of their best people."

When Chris Sembrot lost his job as an art buyer at a Philadelphia-based advertising agency, for example, he decided to pursue his dream of becoming a freelance photographer. His experience gave him crucial business knowledge and contacts, and he arranged to share working space with some photographers and graphic designers.

Jamie Bordoshuk, meanwhile, discovered a love of cooking and teaching after he lost his job following 9/11. Now he not only prepares meals for his family but has become a professional caterer and cooking teacher.

"I like teaching people to cook with basic ingredients using simple recipes," he told the Daily Herald in Illinois.

Anna Goldfarb, from Philadelphia, earned her master's degree in journalism from Temple University but was unable to find a job. Instead, she took work as a substitute teacher and has created a blog about dating called Shmittenkitten.com. In September, she will start a speed-dating program for those who read her blog, charging $5 per person.

"If I had a real job that required more of my energy and time, it would be really hard to do this at the same time," she told the Inquirer.

Recessionwire.com even defined a term to describe the phenomenon: Funemployment, which is "a period of joblessness that you actually enjoy--maybe you get to lay out, sleep in, work out, read up."

Sara Clemence, who founded the Web site, said that younger workers are more likely to approach unemployment this way because they have less obligations and expenses, and are more accustomed to the idea of switching jobs. Having just been offered a full-time job in publishing, she somewhat regrets the amount of time she invested in Recessionwire.com.

"I wish I'd goofed off some more. I wish I'd traveled, swapped my apartment and lived in Paris for a month. I tell my friends: Don't freak out. You've been a successful person and you'll have a job again. . . . You might not have another period of time off like this for years."

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