First post about an article from The Stimulist. The article was taken from The LA Times, and falls into category number 2: “Idea to Consider.” The idea is this: seeing unemployment as an opportunity to live life differently – more freely, more spontaneously, and possibly even more happily.
The story interviews a few people who were “freed” of their 9 to 5’s, all of whom have realized that the unemployed life may not be so bad after all. Rather than being a hole out of which one must quickly dig, unemployment becomes more like a vacation or opportunity, where individuals can take more time to travel, figure out what it is they really want to do, and enjoy life. I love this quote: ” ‘Recession gives people permission to be unemployed,’ said David Logan, a professor at USC’s Marshall School of Business. ‘Why not make use of the time and go do something fun?’ ”
One of the positive things that I also agree with is that being unemployed gives one the new perspective that being tied down at work for the majority of the day and week isn’t healthy. It’s the perspective that Life isn’t necessarily defined by Work, and that one might have even more meaningful goals in other things, whether that be Family, Love, or Hobbies. It’s true – Americans are known to be more engrossed in their work than, for example, people in France who are known to work less hours with more vacation days. And it could be seen as a problem for people’s overall health: stress in work can contribute to weaker immune systems, less resilience in times of illness, unhealthy emotional states, and just overall unhappiness.
My complaint is not necessarily with the article as much as it is with the people the article quotes. Sure, unemployment can be seen as an opportunity of sorts – take some time to travel, recharge, come back with a new perspective. But the fact is that having a job provides financial stability, a comfortable and secure living, and mental exercise, not to mentioned overall benefit to society (in most cases haha). Too much fun or relaxation might take away the sense of responsibility that we feel when we work, or the sense of drive that we have in accomplishing our goals. This article just sounded like it was encouraging laziness more than merely taking some time to enjoy life.
Clearly, we shouldn’t lie on either extremes – too much work OR too much play. Maybe this is naive from my perspective, with all the opportunities that I’ve been privileged enough to have, but I would think that (at least for these people the article quotes), finding a job that one enjoys and uses to compliment life and energize it is a balance that is attainable.
Hopefully one doesn’t have to be unemployed for long to realize this…