January 12, 2009
Unemployment: A fine time to reconnect with hobbies and family?
Speaking of surveys, there were a rash of them from outfits like CareerBuilder.com in 2007 and early 2008 saying that many workers -- especially parents -- would gladly cut back their work hours and salary in exchange for more quality time with their family, friends, and hobbies.
I have a friend who used to work in freelance film and video production in the 90s, which is a fancy way of saying she'd work 14-hour days for two or three weeks straight, followed by seven to 10 days off. Only she could never enjoy her down days because she was always worried about where her next gig was coming from and whether she'd have enough money to make it through the month if a new job didn't materialize, like, now.
I'm more of a go-with-the-flow freelancer who prays for days off, so my friend and I argued about the "panic between jobs" mindset a lot. "Why live the project-to-project work life if it stresses you out that much and you can't even enjoy your extended weekends?" I'd say to my friend.
But having heard from so many other buddies, sources, and strangers who've been laid off in recent months, I'm reconsidering my argument with my long-time friend. Maybe she wasn't cut out for the project-based way of making a living (she now has a full-time telecommuting job for one company and is much happier). But maybe she was also onto something.
Tell me, readers, if you've been laid off, have you been able to allocate any of your newfound daytime hours to those hobbies or that quality time with loved ones you used to crave while stuck at work? Or has the job of looking for a job and the stress and financial uncertainty of unemployment sapped up any hope of putting those extra hours you've gained to more fulfilling pursuits?
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.
Kristen Fife is a senior recruiter, career mentor, blogger and resume consultant based in the Seattle area.
Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.
Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.
Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.
Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.
Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."
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