March 24, 2010 at 4:45 pm #170373…Make lemonade” my mother often coos over the phone to calm me down when I’m frustrated over my job situation, or lack thereof. While this usually causes eye-rolls of migraine causing proportions, after one year of unemployment and experiencing a wide gamut of emotions ranging from apathy to rage, I’m starting to believe (much to my chagrin) that maybe mom is right, as always. Could there be a nugget of truth in this oversimplified evaluation?No two ways about it: Unemployment Sucks. It can be extremely daunting to be on the tide of unemployment, riding its waves of low hiring rates and mixed reviews on the immediate future of the profession. But there are plenty of discussions on that aspect of the subject, and it can’t be the only thing that consumes a person.Of course, many are spending their time honing their professional skills, building resumes and working hard on a job search; as well they should be! Yet what interests me is the creative ways they are also using this *ahem* “time off” for not only professional development, but personal. What hobbies have been picked up? Any new skills? Traveled outside of your country/ state/ county/ city?I want to hear some good stories of how my unemployed comrades are dotting their tenure of joblessness with some funemployment!-JMarch 24, 2010 at 5:04 pm #170381
I’ll start the ball rolling:
Since being unemployed, I’ve found profound fulfillment in my volunteer work that I’ve done at a nursing home while also taking the time to learn how to weld, which is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I’ve also learned how to crochet, make lace, bake, cook, and have reorganized my pathetic little apartment kitchen into something Alton Brown would be proud of. Reading has also become central to my life and I’ve rekindled my love of sculpture and ceramics. There have been some epic hikes and camping trips thrown in there too! I truly do find that I’ve become a better person in spite of, or maybe because of this period of unemployment.March 24, 2010 at 6:17 pm #170380Jon QuackenbushParticipant
I have learned a dozen beatles songs on the guitar, sketched, slept till 8am everyday, exercised, read, have become the domestic servant (i am tired of dishes), visited family, and continue to pound the job search daily.March 25, 2010 at 12:10 am #170379Kevin J. GaughanParticipant
Jessi, I think this is a great discussion! I have been traveling through Latin America since June. Although most of the time I was just traveling and learning about new cultures, I also had the chance to do a good amount of volunteer work, teach, and also improve my Spanish quite a bit. For me, it has actually been a pretty amazing year!March 25, 2010 at 11:28 am #170378Andrew Garulay, RLAParticipant
If I were unemployed and could not get a job within the profession, I’d still need to feed my family. I’d be learning the phrase “would you like fries with that, sir?” long before I’d be travelling the world or volunteering for anything. How do you people pay your bills, never mind afford trips to exotic places?March 25, 2010 at 4:53 pm #170377
For me, there was an arrangement with the welding company that taught me, so I received a little income that way. And, I’m an avid saver! Also, I’ve done some freelance work around my neighborhood. On top of that, I canceled my cable, downgraded my internet and cell phone packages, started biking instead of driving, and learned to be thrifty. I’m lucky enough to not have to worry about a family at this time, but I can understand how hard it would be to support them with few resources coming in.March 25, 2010 at 8:36 pm #170376Kevin J. GaughanParticipant
I guess its just about different circumstances and a different attitud about life. First of all, I have no family to feed, no car payments, no mortgage, and yes i pay the bare minimum on thousands of dollars of student loans every month. However, I also spent the last 2 years saving my pennies to afford this trip. Like Jessi I had to make sacrifices to save money…and was pretty good at living well within my means. For example, I had a job where i could walk to work, I lived in a house with 5 other roomates, I made my lunch everyday for work, and I shopped at the thrift store, and most importantly i didnt waste my money on big screen tvs, fancy stereos, or expensive cars.
Nrschmid, im assuming by your comment that you believe teaching ESL in Honduras (although it was actually teaching agriculture in Nicaragua) is a waste of time. I am sorry to hear that. In my opinion designers are greatly influenced by what they have been exposed to be it art, music, nature, people, etc… And, the more you are exposed to the better designer you become. Traveling has allowed me to experience more in the last year than I bet most of the people in our country will experience in a life time. I would hardly consider that a waste of time, in fact I would consider it personal development, and since design is based off of personal experience, I would go as far as considering this past year professional development. I think you would be hardpressed to find a famous Landscape Architect to refute this opinion.
Now that my trip is coming to an end, It will be back to the grind. I will agree with you, Nrschmid, about one thing though, work is out there. Heck, ill probably go back to mowing lawns for a bit until I can find an LA position…but even that I would consider professional development.March 25, 2010 at 8:55 pm #170375Chad CrutcherParticipant
I like that attitude! You are absolutely right! The most valuable activity a designer can do is travel. And anything done to feed oneself outside the profession will pay off in spades when you find what you learned is aplicable to so many other problems.
Do well doing good.March 25, 2010 at 10:42 pm #170374Jon QuackenbushParticipant
Right on. I actually spent a few months in Pandora with the Nav’i teaching ESL, let me tell you it was fantastic. All was going well until my avatar bit the dust… woke up back here unemployed.
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