10 Reasons Why Funemployment Can Change Your Life
Unemployment! That word sends shivers down the spine of any baby boomer. It makes grown men and women shudder at the thought of not going into work every day. It forces us to begin thinking about questions like “What would I do with all that time?” Six months ago I was that guy. I was unhappy with my comfortable job and was only staying because of a great paycheck. I was locked to my unhappiness with golden handcuffs. I was scared to think about leaving my career because of the negative stigma around such a life choice. Like the majority of people here in this world trying to make a living, I came to the realization that happiness is much more important at the end of the day. So what did I do? I saved up, I prepared a plan for the unemployed life, made sure my real estate was pulling in enough income to live, and I left. I left my job for the most freedom I’ve ever had. I left because it was time for a change.
At first, I was lost. I was used to the 70 hour work week of a sales professional, but when I didn’t have that any more there was a massive chunk of my life that needed filling! After a cross-country trip back to Florida, I started to plan out what I wanted to do and where I was going with my life. When people asked me what I was doing, I would proudly announce that I was “FUNemployed” with a grin from ear to ear. Before arriving in Florida, I could barely say that I was unemployed. The best part, is that it’s not just a simple word that you get to use at a bar for a laugh, but it’s something that can really change your life and mindset!
10 Reasons Why You Should Consider FUNemployment
The pressure is gone and it feels great (Literally)
You know the feeling you have when you are on vacation? That first day when your phone is disconnected, and you finally get to catch an extra hour of much-needed sleep? That’s every single day being FUNemployed. By leaving your job (with preparation) the stress that came with it disappears. It’s unbelievable the amount of stress and drama any job can have on your daily life. When that (work) variable disappears, you realize how much of a strain it puts on you. Stress can dramatically impact your health and by removing something like a negative job, you can get back on track to being a healthier and more fit you. That may not be the original reason for leaving the job in the first place.
Thoughts of your future are more prevalent than ever. Soak it in.
After I quit my job I started the cross-country drive back to Florida, it was then that the feeling of uncertainty started to set in. Between my trip back home, some work on my real estate venture, and a trip to South America (which took about a month), only then did I realize that I was making an investment in my future. I was unhappy and needed a planned departure to spend some time finding my roots. This enabled me to put some thought into my future.
- “What do I really want to do”?
- “Where do I see myself in 5 years”?
- “What really wakes me up in the morning (other than a ton of coffee)”?
Even though I didn’t have a job to wake up to, I still felt happier than ever waking up in the morning at 6AM to work out and do what I had planned for the day. Don’t be afraid of the future thoughts which come creeping into you’re mind immediately after your resignation, or worse, firing! This transition into your next chapter will give you the time needed to draw out your future, not trace someone else’s. You’re the boss here. Take charge! This transition will most likely start out as a whirlwind of uncertainty, but can turn into a clear and bright future.
You find out you can be alone and survive!
It’s natural for every human being to want to communicate. To be touched. Loved. Talked to. Yes, there are the introverts whom cringe at the thought of being the center of attention, and extroverts who fight for that role, but, no matter your personality there is an ever-present primal instinct that craves socialization. So why would you ever want to be alone?!
Because it allows you to be more introspective for a change. There isn’t a ‘social guard’, or an image to uphold, because you’re by yourself. The funny thing about being FUNemployed is that 99% of the people you know are still working a “9 to 5”, which means you’re going to be alone for a few hours, daily. I was prepared to have a lot of free time, but I ended up spending the first week twiddling my thumbs, thinking about my decision.
Whether you like it or not (I promise, you’ll start to enjoy the time), you’re going to be by yourself during the week. You quickly find out that you can begin to get Starbucks by yourself, and maybe listen to some of your music. You find out you can start writing the book you’ve always wanted to. You find out that you can get lunch by yourself, and realize it’s not as bad as it seems. You can even start going outside, doing activities you once thought impossible without a group of people. Needless to say, as an extrovert, I found that I love a bit of alone time; it really changed the way that I balanced my day-to-day living. Alone time in the morning is something I like to get my day started. I now have the time to think inward, be thankful for another day, for being alive and well, which gets me pumped to start the day. You might not believe me yet, but I promise you’ll survive.
“I spent 17 hours around Machu Picchu on my own”
You’ve got time to find yourself
Obviously being alone means it’s just you and your own thoughts. It might be one of the best parts about introspection, but it’s scary for a lot of people, including myself. We are afraid of what we don’t know. Most people don’t have time for themselves, and don’t give enough thought about who they are. They’re too busy working for someone else to care for themselves, and others. Do you remember when you were younger? Then, it was much easier to know what you liked and disliked? It’s as if we grow up and completely forget who we are and what we want. This is a great opportunity to get reconnected with the person who knew what they wanted.
With all that time in your head, you can discover where your comfort zone begins and ends. Only when you know how far you are willing to go, will you be able to expand it through experimentation.
- Not comfortable with being around people you don’t know? Try discovering a networking event on Meetup.com, or better yet, attending a MySociety event. MySociety events are great because they are a close-knit, curated community. They spend a lot of time making sure the people are genuine, and thoughtful, so this could be a great place to begin.
- Not comfortable flying on a plane by yourself? Quickly! Go find a short flight and visit a friend that lives in another city.
- Care too much about the post you just created on Facebook? Don’t look at Facebook more than 3 times in day.
Maybe this is the time you have to figure this out… I mean you do have some time on your hands.
You figure out what you like to do with your time
Although it seems like you’re going to be alone, you don’t actually spend the entire FUNemployment phase thinking deep thoughts and swimming in a sea of loneliness. Since you have time that you haven’t had in a long time, you can now channel your efforts into how you will use this valuable asset! Time is the one asset that we can easily lose track of, and we don’t get a chance to make anymore of it. So with something this precious we should make sure we are spending it the way we want to. In a way this aligns with our values and goals.
An easy way to find something worth spending your time on is to start by thinking of the things you’ve always wished you had time for. Wish you had more time travel? Now is the time to do it. Ever wish you had time to learn something new? Pick up that new hobby!
Travel outside of the United States
The week I quit, I booked my second trip outside of the United States. My first trip was to Europe while I was working and I spent my entire allotment of vacation time. I did the “running of the bulls”, canyoning in Switzerland, and traveled to Pompeii. All in 12 days. It was a fast trip with little sleep, but I swore to myself that when I travelled again I’d take more time.
When I quit, I booked a month in South America, I now had the time, which is why I booked a trip immediately. Because my trip wasn’t rushed, by the time I had seen everything, I was ready to come back home to the states. I did want I wanted to do, in the countries I wanted to be in, on my schedule and dime.
This time, I realized how much more I needed to appreciate everything I’ve ever had, and now have. This trip opened my eyes, showing me how big the world is, and how we have to travel outside of the United States. This gave me a better understanding of what we have at home compared to other people in the world. Leaving the states and seeing what is out there is a great way to alter your life and mindset. Of course, the only way to experience that is by doing it! Stop viewing and liking Instagram photos, go take your own.
Traveling inside the United States
When I got back from South America I looked at a map and thought hard about where I hadn’t been in the U.S. There is so much to do and so much history here in the United States that you are doing a disservice to yourself if you don’t take advantage. Again you’ve now got the time so go travel somewhere in the U.S. I chose D.C., Philadelphia, New York, and New Jersey.
I got to see the house my father grew up in, Gettysburg, and so much of the history that has allowed me to work, write, and invest in my future here in this country. Did I mention that I did some of this trip on my own? By myself? I did and it just added to the significance of the trip. Just because you’re not traveling outside the U.S. doesn’t mean you can’t take some time to travel.
“My 4 day trip through some of the Mid-Atlantic (Philadelphia)”
Invest into your relationships
“Sorry I can’t hang out tonight… I’ve got work”.
“Sorry I can’t get dinner, I’m at a work event”.
“Sorry I can’t see you this weekend, I’m tired as hell from working all week”.
We hear it all the time from our friends and family. I know, because I’ve said these things multiple times. While being FUNemployed you should get rid of the word ‘no’, or at least put more thought into opportunity before turning it away. Some of the best things that happen in our lives are because of someone we know, someone we are close to, or someone we love. So while you’ve got the time, invest the new time you’ve gained into your current relationships, or perhaps some new ones. Now, you don’t have an excuse to avoid going out and adding more meaning into the relationships you have.
Go learn a new skill
My grandfather was a pilot. Not a commercial pilot, but a private pilot, which really just meant he could fly around in a plane and not get paid for it. Although I didn’t take an interest in aviation until my early 20s, I never really took to the idea of learning to fly until I had the time. What a great time to learn a skill that less than 1% of Americans have. I’m about 12 hours in, and I’m in love. I can’t wait to take my family and friends into the air. Your skill doesn’t need to be flying a Cessna. It can be learning a new language, an instrument, how to shoot a gun, you get the idea. Learn something that can be regarded as a skill, or personal development that you’ll never forget. Again, if you haven’t noticed the pattern here, you now have the time.
“Me setting up for slow flight and stalls in a Cessna 162″
Do I need to explain this one? Whatever you choose to do during your FUNemployement, make sure it ultimately allows you to grow as a person. You learn what you love, where you want to spend your time, who you want to spend it with, and even where you want to be years down the road. Growing is consciously and consistently stepping outside of your comfort zone. FUNemployment gives you the time to do it all!
Wondering how to get ready for a transition like this? We will cover that in the next post. Feel free to reach out, add your own ideas, let me know about the topics that you would like to discuss. Share about the amazing things that free time, and FUNemployment have done for you!
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