Four things that suck about unemployment

1. Employment is tied to self-worth.

In the United States — at least on the East Coast for sure — a person’s worth (especially if that person is male) is determined by that person’s job. The days of respect for the starving artist and/or Bohemian seem to be gone. In Washington, D.C., for example, the first question strangers will tend to ask is “what do you do?” Who you are is secondary.

2. Applying for jobs is dull and often disappointing.

Applying for jobs is about as thrilling as waiting for a response from that incredibly attractive person you ‘matched’ with on a dating site. You know there’s an 80 percent chance you won’t hear back (especially if you’re a man and the person you messaged is a woman).

3. It’s very hard to stay motivated and on task. 

It’s hard to be productive when you don’t know what that means anymore. A lot of people need someone telling them what to do to be productive. Is it productive to go to fancy networking events for the chance to meet someone important? Should you just apply cold to as many jobs as you can as quickly as you can? Should you pray? Should you read self-help books? Forget having fun: that just takes time away from apply – reject – punch a wall – repeat.

4. Lack of money and benefits.

This is an obvious one, but the biggest problem with employment is precisely that it’s tied so strongly to someone’s livelihood in every way. What if every citizen received a stipend from the government that was enough to meet his or her basic needs, along with universal healthcare, regardless of his or her employment status? This would make choosing a career a far better and more rewarding task. Instead of working to keep the lights on, people would work to make a real difference in the world — or at the very least to demonstrate their talents and creativity. Think of all the wasted potential every time an individual is forced to take a job out of their field for the money and/or benefits. Would it benefit the world if, say, Einstein had been forced to take a job at Starbucks just to pay the bills?

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