Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Top 5 Ways I'm NOT Going to Deal with Unemployment

After a month of commuting from my new apartment in Silver Spring (or Not-So-Silver Spring, but I'll get to that in a later Where I Live post) to my job in Baltimore, it was painfully clear that working as a restaurant hostess was not worth the hassle or the gas money of an hour drive. I want to work in music, film, and theatre, so I took the big plunge and I quit my job to start freelancing in the theatre arts. The funny thing about freelancing before you actually have any jobs lined up, though, is that it looks an awful lot like...

...being unemployed.

For the first time since I was 15, I don't have a job. It's terrifying. And while I'm not yet exactly sure where the money IS going to come from, I have decided that there are certain things I am NOT going to do as I'm faced with impending destitution.

1. I will not sit in my apartment all day every day. I will get out and meet people. I will go to auditions and classes and workshops just to network and have my face seen. And now that I have free time, I will take advantage of the thousands of free opportunities that D.C. offers me. (Did you know that the Kennedy Center has a free performance every day at 6 p.m. on their Millennium Stage? 365 days a year, and they don't ask for a penny.) There is so much to do and see in the city, and if I'm not working, I'm going to get up and do.

2. I will not run to my boyfriend's every time I feel nervous. I'm a big girl, and this was a big girl decision. Yes, it scares me sometimes, and I want to curl up and just feel safe. But I know I can handle the uncertainty of the unknown by myself, and that's what I'm going to do.

3. I will not relax and stop working. I don't need a job to keep working on myself professionally. I will read new plays, rehearse new monologues, and learn new songs. I will sing scales and do yoga. I will hone my skills so that I'm more prepared to go out and get jobs once they crop up.

4. I will not settle for a job I don't want or that's not worthwhile. I am not going to cave and start working as a Starbucks barista if I don't have to. And as B. Graham often says, "We deserve to get paid for the work we do." I am a professional, and I am going to be sure that I am treated as one.

5. I WILL NOT PANIC. I can do this.


Here's to the adventure.

8 comments:

Matt Lindeboom said...

Amen

Matt Lindeboom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jstone said...

if you do sit in your apartment, do something useful like read a book, or plan a wedding. I did that last part for a while.

B.Graham said...

man we're trading lives. and yet all those things apply to me too....

Stephen said...

#4 is a pretty crucial item. About the only thing as bad as being unemployed is being underemployed.

Alex said...

This reminds me of going to the gym every day while I was in Brooklyn just so I was doing something productive.

ali d said...

@Jstone Sounds lovely. Whose wedding should I plan? Any suggestions?

@B I wouldn't say my little restaurant job quite compares to your legit full-time job (with benefits!)

@Stevie B I'm so glad you think so! That's the tenet that I was a little worried about. I wasn't sure if the reaction would be, "You're unemployed; you need to take what you can get, missy!" I'd really like to work for what I WANT, and now seems to be the time to do it.

@Alex I went to a yoga class yesterday, and it was wonderful, if demoralizing. I want to get out and do more.

Damo said...

Great post. I can't encourage you enough to get and there and follow your dreams. The underemployed thing stings. I hate wasting 40 hours a week on a job that has me living paycheck to paycheck.