I can hear you now. "Being out of work is a good thing? You must be totally crazy."
Don't worry. I won't hold it against you. I get that a lot, even from my psychotherapist.
Now that I've satisfied my need to be facetious, let's be objective. To understand what I mean, let's begin with where I'm at and how I got here.
I'll try to avoid some of the more personal parts of my situation (myob alert.)
To start with, it's been 30 months since I held what people agree is a regular job. Currently, I live in a room in a boarding house in a small town in New York. No guarantees from one month to the next that the landlady has enough cash flow to pay the utility bills on time. We've already had one "service interruption" at the beginning of winter.
My financial support comes from Social Services (rent only), SNAP (food stamps), Medicaid, and what little I make from a walking newspaper route. The combined total is less than half of a regular month's wages from my last regular job.
It would be easy to see myself the way others do, that I am a victim of the economy.
However, where I'm at is the result of a series of events caused by my own actions.
Now the "blame-the-victim" side has their "proof" I'm lazy or whatever. Am I?
I left my last job for health reasons. I am still in the process of getting a final determination on whether I qualify as disabled. Thanks to Medicaid, I was able to have some diagnostic tests run. That was one of the choices I made. As a result, the doctors discovered a condition that, left untreated, would likely have resulted in my death before now. Additionally, other tests led me to begin treatments for a condition that will eventually leave me blind, should I live long enough. Not "might" leave me blind, "will" leave me blind. That is my reality.
Yet, I sometimes hear people say I'm "abusing the system."
Decide for yourself.
So, is this the upside to unemployment?
To make matters worse:
I am at that point in life that I am likely discriminated against for my age, despite claims to the contrary. With no "real" job in almost 3 years, employers are going to wonder about my motivation. Since I left my last job for health reasons, they'd be concerned whether I'd be able to handle the workload.
Since I'm no longer able to perform the physically based blue collar jobs of my past, I need to develop new skills. To be retrained calls for financing. Where I live, jobs above minimum wage are few and far between. Those that exist require college degrees. I'm not able to persue a degree due to finances. Training programs in this area require that I pony up at least part of the cost.
Lots of kvetching, not much proof of a silver lining to the thunderhead.
In my early years, I came to perceive myself as someone for whom the traditional "9-to-5, work for someone else for life" mentality was incompatible with my nature. Further, I was raised by a father whose view on life was to "work for others if you need to, but work for yourself whenever you can." He also believed that "you can do whatever you want in life. You don't need to be the best, as long as you do the best."
Thanks, Dad. And I say that with all sincerity.
Around the same time in my growth, I discovered a love for the arts, especially writing. I developed some skill in that direction, as well as an ability to learn the basics of numerous musical instruments within hours, a modest amount of skill in drawing and painting, and (at least in school productions), some acting chops. I quickly realized it was where I truly wanted to be.
To put it another way:
My choices have put me in a position where I have no more interference from a job to prevent me from following the course I believed all along was mine to travel. No more excuses. The realization that time marches on, quicker than before.
I'm now at the time where life is saying,everything you claimed was an obstacle has been removed. You've been asking for this opportunity since 1970. Let's see what you can do with it.
I accept the challenge.