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The Neverending To-Do Lists

28 Nov

My dad once told me that when my grandfather retired, he remarked, “You know, I have absolutely nothing to do…and no time to get it all done in!”

Unemployment is a lot like that. I don’t exactly have something that takes up all of my time every day, but I feel like there are a million things that I should be doing.

Here’s a quick list of the things I prioritize every day:

  • Job hunting (obviously)
  • Putting together and submitting job applications (very different from the previous task)
  • Investigating job hunting resources, like alumni networks and career counseling and networking events
  • Working out
  • Learning Hebrew
  • Going through my personal emails (so many emails)
  • Clearing out photos from my computer and uploading to cloud
  • Clearing out photos from my phone and uploading to cloud
  • Taking advantage of time off to spend with family and friends
  • Blogging a few times each month (hello!)

And here are some things I need to do over the next few weeks:

  • Get a new registration sticker for my car
  • Figure out insurance for 2017
  • Write a letter of recommendation for a former researcher
  • Deal with American Airlines (don’t ask)
  • Figure out if I’m auditioning for a local play (and if so, spiff up my resume and memorize a monologue)
  • Gather holiday presents for loved ones
  • Get a refund from insurance that seems far more complicated than it should be
  • Organize those last few items I moved in with and never quite got around to

And here are the fun things I’m also trying to do so that I don’t want to spend every day curled up in a corner huddled against the constant storm of job applications:

  • Finishing my reading challenge strong (on book 32 of the year now!)
  • Watching various Netflix shows on my own
  • Watching various shows with my family
  • Meeting loved ones for meals, coffee, and fun
  • Playing my ukulele
  • Reading anything from the stack of magazines that pile up on my nightstand
  • Listening to the constantly growing number of podcasts virtually piling up on my phone
  • Digging out and playing games on old video game systems (my gaming prowess never quite passed the level of GameCube and PlayStation 2)

What’s on your never-ending to-do lists for how you spend your free time?


It’s in your head forever now. You’re welcome.


Of Furballs and Volunteers

7 Nov

2016 has been a rough year. What’s the best way to put aside thoughts of the US election and beyond? Why, PUPPIES, of course!

This weekend, I volunteered with Orphans of the Storm, a local animal shelter in my area. Since I’m unemployed, I wanted to do some good with my free time – and if it involved fuzzy animals, I would have basically paid them for the privilege.

In one of the best strategic moves I’ve ever seen from an animal shelter, every holiday season they take a space in the local mall on weekends to let people pet adoptable puppies and kitties, get their gifts wrapped, and learn more about ways to support the shelter. I showed up for my afternoon shift and found a room full of happy people and puppies.

Since it was my first volunteer shift with Orphans, I bought a t-shirt (see? I did pay for the privilege after all!) and introduced myself to humans and animals alike. The shift leader (and full-time puppy petter – er, I mean, employee of the shelter) explained to me that they were going to give me the dog who was the most…energetic. He was on a potty break outside, but he would be back soon. Some looks were shared among those who had already met this dog. Bring it on, I thought (and likely said out loud).

After spending some time with Speedy the puppy and Arietta the aptly-named kitty, a small commotion was heard outside of the shop as a woman was more or less dragged in by the hyperactive bundle of energy that was about to be mine for the afternoon.

“Hi, Buck!” I squealed, immediately in love with this one-year-old canine jumping bean.


Are you in love? I’m in love.

The two hours of my shift flew by. Not only was Buck the cutest little fuzzball of a puppy I’ve gotten to be with in a long time, but I made some human friends too. The shift leader turned out to be a fellow nerd and fellow decent human being. The high school girls holding the other two (significantly calmer) dogs were happy to be there. The dad of one of the girls works in a field that I want to learn more about, and was happy to take my card and let me pick his brain in the future. The mom and daughter team in charge of the cats couldn’t have been nicer. And I adored chatting with the people who came in to pet the puppies – both to meet them and to share ways they can support the shelter.

(Brief sidebar: If your pet has anything they won’t use, be it toys, beds, treats, food, anything – your local animal shelter would love to take it off your hands!)

So all in all, I had an amazing afternoon and left feeling significantly more confident and happy than the general feeling of unemployment has left me feeling recently.

I cannot recommend volunteering highly enough, no matter your employment status, but especially if you’re unemployed. Fill your time by doing good, making connections, and – if you can – petting puppies.

Want to get involved, but don’t have time/resources at the moment? Check out these 7 easy ways to volunteer from home.

Unemployment’s Silver Lining

28 Nov

I’m getting laid off soon.

This isn’t news to me. The small nonprofit that I work for is run by one woman (I work out of her home). She’s been doing this for five years without taking a salary and, while she does such good things, her work has pretty much turned into a desk job. So she’s bored and busy, which is not a good combination. She’d much rather spend time with her kids, grandkids, dogs, and friends. I can’t blame her – she could have been retired all this time and instead helped people all over the country.

Instead of working my usual two days a week for her, I’m moving down to one. If she can find someone to take over the business, who knows what my job might be like…but if she can’t, I shouldn’t expect to stay employed by her much longer.

(I can almost hear you out there going, “Wait, she’s giving away a job – why aren’t you taking it?” I have three good reasons:

  1. No salary
  2. No health insurance
  3. Working at home by myself

So, not the best plan for a social 24-year-old who lives with her mom and would love to move out someday.)

Today, work was pretty fun though – I’m sort of running out of work to do, so after I finished, we went on a field trip to Party City to get toys for children she’s visiting on a tour of a Costa Rica nonprofit. We went with hacky sack soccer balls and Yo Gabba Gabba bubble dip. Seemed like some solid choices.

Then we were visited by a friend of a friend of my boss who sells Israeli jewelry. He showed her his pieces, which she examined quite thoroughly. They were GORGEOUS pieces, but the reasonable ones were $40 earrings and $70 necklaces. Believe me, I know that’s very reasonable for fine jewelry, but not in the case of a soon-to-be-laid-off worker. So I watched and sighed.

The irony of the situation didn’t strike me until the third or fourth case. Here I am, with an uncertain employment future in my soon-to-be-ex-boss’s house, watching display after display of fine jewelry pass me by during my normal work hours. A little cruel, don’t you think?

But I really can’t complain…after I recommended a pair to her for one of her daughters-in-law, she insisted I try them on and then insisted on buying them for me as a Hanukkah present.

Goodbye, irony. Hello, gorgeous silver flower drops and a Roti gift card for my boss.