75 Things That Suck About Being Unemployed.

Cross-posted from Don’t Cross the Streams

Today marks ten months since I was laid off from my last job. In that time, I’ve had a lot of time to reflect and the conclusion I’ve reached is not having a job sucks. I never imagined it would take me this long to find a job. At first, you enjoy the free time and the ability to spend time doing things you would be too busy to do otherwise. As the months roll on, it begins to wear on you. I’ve been unemployed before but I was younger then and more optimistic. Being unemployed in your 30s, it feels like time is running out.

I’m sure everyone who is unemployed has their own reasons they hate it but these are mine:

  1. Applying for a job you are perfect for and not hearing back
  2. Applying for a job you are overqualified for and not hearing back
  3. Seeing listings for jobs you applied for months earlier
  4. Slowly lowering your starting salary expectations as you get more desperate
  5. Seeing “Help Wanted” jobs at retail stores and wondering how much more it would pay than unemployment
  6. Filling out the same information over and over again on online job applications
  7. Running out of jobs to apply for
  8. Going weeks without even getting a phone call about your resume
  9. Overly complicated online applications
  10. Accidentally losing all the information you’ve already filled out online and having to start over
  11. Writing cover letters
  12. Trying to find creative ways describe the mundane stuff you used to do in resume
  13. Changing from searching for “a job you want” to “a job you’d like” to “a job you’d be willing to do” to “any job” over the course of your unemployment
  14. Competing for jobs with college graduates
  15. Not having any connections to get you job hookups
  16. Not even being able to get freelance/temporary jobs
  17. Not getting the job because you are overqualified
  18. Going on a great interview and still not getting the job
  19. Going on a great interview and not even getting an e-mail telling you didn’t get the job
  20. Getting stumped by an interview question
  21. Knowing early in an interview that you are not going to get the job
  22. Thinking you did so well on an interview you already start thinking ahead to what it will be like to work there
  23. Feeling overdressed for an interview
  24. Being interviewed by someone who has no time to be doing an interview
  25. Realizing you’ve said something dumb during an interview
  26. Trying not to come off as desperate during an interview
  27. Being interviewed by someone who doesn’t seem interested in hiring you
  28. Preparing all day for an interview that last less than 30 minutes
  29. Overhearing other people interviewing for the same position as you
  30. When the person who you are supposed to be interviewing with is late
  31. When the person you are supposed to be interviewing with ends up not being in the office that day
  32. Being lonely during the hours of 9 AM to 5 PM
  33. Not saying a single word aloud until my wife comes home from work
  34. When all my East Coast friends sign off of GChat/AIM around 3 PM because they are leaving work to go home
  35. Not being able to have normal conversations with people because you’ve got nothing going on
  36. Not making new work friends
  37. Running into people you used to work with who still work where you got laid off
  38. Not being able to participate in an office March Madness pool
  39. Not being able to afford to spend money on anything unless it’s necessary like gas, food and rent
  40. Missing one of your best friend’s weddings because you can’t afford a ticket
  41. Getting e-mails everyday for sales you can’t enjoy
  42. Window shopping and/or “When I get a job, I’m going to buy this” shopping
  43. Not being able to save money
  44. How much money you get for unemployment in relation to how much you used to make
  45. Not being able to buy gifts for loved ones
  46. Wondering if you’ll ever make as much as you used to
  47. Wondering if you’re going to have to start over career-wise
  48. Black Friday/Cyber Monday
  49. Trying to get someone from the Unemployment Office on the phone when your payment doesn’t come through
  50. Hearing the disappointment in your parents’ voice every time they ask about your job search
  51. Freaking out because you don’t know what you’ll do when your unemployment runs out
  52. Trying to avoid injury or cavities because you don’t have insurance
  53. Questioning all the career choices you’ve made up to this point
  54. Being jealous of people’s LinkedIn updates
  55. Not having a reason to get dressed everyday
  56. Free office lunches
  57. A steady supply of milk, tea and coffee from your office
  58. A steady supply of Post-It notes and staples from your office
  59. Not realizing a holiday is coming up because you’ve lost track of the days, weeks and months
  60. Not letting yourself make travel plans because you don’t know if you’ll have a job by then and therefore won’t have the vacation days to do it
  61. Not being able to afford trips back home to visit family and friends
  62. Having to tell people you’re unemployed when they ask what you do for a living
  63. Being unproductive despite having all the time in the world
  64. Feeling bad about having an unproductive day
  65. Feeling like you don’t have the respect of your employed peers
  66. Running out of things to look at on the Internet by 1 PM
  67. Hating that the monthly unemployment data applies to you
  68. Feeling pitied and judged
  69. Laughing every time you hear that job numbers have improved in America
  70. Cabin fever
  71. Losing whole days to Netflix or bad television
  72. Not feeling encouraged by other people’s encouragements
  73. When people ask you how’s it going, trying not to tell them the absolute truth because no one really wants to hear that shit
  74. Getting sad when you don’t win the Lotto
  75. Trying to remain relatively positive in spite of it all because giving up isn’t an option (unless you win the Lotto of course)

Did I miss any?

Latest posts by Seanathan (see all)

  • Crystal

    76. Your fat jeans becoming your skinny jeans
    77. Having your sleep schedule be based on what’s on TV
    78. Lowering your standards for acceptable entertainment

  • Shannon

    79. Not wanting to login to your bank account because you’re scared of how little money will be there.

  • Shannon

    80. Over-thinking how to reply to people who show even the slightest interest in helping you. (This applies to in-person, over the phone, and via email.) It feels like you’re losing all of your ability to interact normally with fellow human beings.

  • I hear ya. On all of it.

  • Vanessa

    Hang in there Sean. I was laid off a year and three months ago and have been working a shitty job (it does pay more than unemployment) for seven months while desperately searching for something in my field. And this list was spot on. I’m keeping you in my prayers. You’ll find something.

  • JMC

    81. Feeling like your younger sibling is more of an adult than you are because s/he’s got a respectable job, a nice house, and two cars and you can’t even go our for a beer without worrying. (That’s a killer for me, even as somebody who is underemployed rather than unemployed.)

  • not daring to send this list on to to people you like for a laugh

  • Danielle

    82. Hearing the voicemails the credit card companies leave when you can’t pay the bill.

  • 83. Holding out on laundry and only washing jammies to save costs.

  • Adam

    83. Suffering through all of the above except without a spouse to support you.

    84. Suffering through all of the above in spite of having a degree.

  • logistical

    85. Watching your skills erode because you don’t have access to the tools you used at work and you can’t afford to buy them on your own.

  • Rich

    I assume your all American, over in the UK its the exact same…

    86. Having to ask your parents/siblings etc. for money to pay the rent.
    87. Having to move back in with parents because you can’t pay the rent.
    I’m somewhere between the two at the moment.

    88. Sending numerous online applications for different jobs at one agency, only to be sent back the same template reply every time – not enough experience – despite having the experience they all ask for. Including on one when they forgot to delete the appropriate term on “Dead Sir/Madam”. And on one occasion I was turned down in 9 minutes.

    89. Being told by a ‘careers advisor’ to take your degree off you CV as some employers might consider you a threat.

    • Rich

      “Dear”, not “Dead”. Though somedays that is how you feel…

  • Sal

    Saving up all of your responsibilities for the week for one day, so as to have at least one day of feeling like you accomplished something.

  • S

    90. Wondering why you can’t create a Pixar like Steve Jobs when he “lost his job” or [insert any invention] here by [insert any multimill/billionaire here], and feeling completely and wholly inept and inadequate after coming to grips with the terms that you won’t, at least in the foreseeable future because a lack of resources will always stifle creativity.
    91. Telling your friends you can do drinks (read: one drink) and not dinner, because you already have dinner plans (i.e. eating pasta for the 3rd straight day at home).

  • S

    hang in there though. went through the unemployed (by choice)/underemployed (not necessarily by choice) period this past year. if you allow yourself to, you’ll learn more about yourself (and maybe even the world around you) than you ever will. also, you learn what you really need. which now that i’m fully and worthwhile-ly employed, i’m harnessing to save and not spend.

  • Miss C

    91. Being underemployed at an upscale grocery store, and unable to afford to shop where you work.
    92. Eating only beans and rice for months on end.
    93. Having no money at all for food, going to work hungry, and not qualifying for food stamps.
    94. Being evicted every year for three years, because you fall behind on rent, and seeing the same judge every year.
    95. Living in horrible neighborhoods, being burglarized while at your crappy job, and using the computer at the library to type this.
    96. Having to really dig deep to get up enough will to get out of bed daily.
    97. Having no phone, no television, no computer, and watching everyone on the bus play with their “I-Toys”.
    98. Having to beg for change and praying no one you know sees you.

  • Work sucks

    I’ve been unemployed since 2008 and absolutely hate work. I get fed up of seeing the same faces everyday. Drives me freaking nuts! Payday felt like I had to enslave myself for the past two weeks just to get a damn check.

  • Susie

    99. Speaking to people who say “I know what it’s like been made redundant” when in actual fact they were fortunate enough to find a new job before finishing the job they were been made redundant from
    100. Being called a bum, a scrounger and lazy by people who actually think that’s funny – REALLY!

  • Susie

    101. Running out of reasons as to why you are still unemployed when asked in an interview what you’ve been doing for the last ‘x’ months. Truthfully you wanna say looking for a job but realistically you know saying that makes you sound like a failure
    – By the way I think this list is scarily accurate and even scarier is the fact that I’m pretty sure I feel / go thourgh nearly each point every single day and no matter how understanding friends and family are they simply just don’t get it

  • Dan

    102. Hearing your parents laugh when your younger, more successful sister openly mocks you.

  • Faye

    Having to wear maxi or ankle length dresses and skirts in the summer cos i can’t even afford fucking poundstore razors and foam, same applies to trying to keep armpits clamped. Getting fatter and fatter cos i eat from boredom. Getting a date with a guy who claims he has always liked me and thinks i’m great, the same guy the blanks me afterwards cos he realizes that taking the fat unemployed chic home to his parents will go down like a lead balloon. Listening to my brother whine about his overpaid job were he spends half the day doing nothing and getting paid for it. Going to interviews were the interviewer has read my cv and still turns me down the gap is too big or i haven’t got the experience, well its no like i hid anything on my cv so why waste my time and torment me into thinking i actually i have damn chance, especially when we both know i’m just a worthless waste of space who is viewed as no more than a money grabbing oxygen thief. The is loads more i could probably think of, but i am already depressed enough. The best thing is the guy i had the date with is a friend of friend (my only friend who remembers i exist) and i can bet my life that as soon i get a job and lose this weight he will back trying his best to hook up with me, you know when i’m good enough for him and he isn’t ashamed to be seen with me….i know exactly that will happen

  • 103. Being made to feel stupid in interviews because you don’t know the answer to a technical question or have any experience in that particular role; you read my CV, you know I have no experience, why give me the interview?

    I have been unemployed now for nearly 4 months, I’ve applied to 700+ jobs have 15 interviews, and 1 job offer which I stupidly turned down, because I had never done the role before, I’d heard very bad things about the company, and I had just been made aware of my dream job, in a company where an old colleague works.

    I had an interview at dream company for dream job. Went exceedingly well. They described me as the perfect person for the job.

    I didn’t get it because I had two endorsements on my driving licence.

    I’m shattered.

  • 104 people judge you because your unemployed.

  • 104. Learning who your real friends are
    105. No longer having the funds to distance yourself from unsupportive family members.
    106. Feeling as though you have to justify and defend your situation to every insensitive employed person you speak to
    107. Having “a situation’
    108. Maxing out all your credits and ruining your credit after building it up.
    109. Being asked “What’s your plan” over and over again.
    110. Attempting to ward off depression by seeking counseling, but getting no where without insurance.
    111. Feeling depressed
    112. Rationalizing that sleeping late helps to avoid hunger pangs.
    113. Staring at the ground