Why being unemployed rocks

ok, so maybe it *doesn’t* rock. But there are benefits, which I was reminded of yesterday. If your work environment is as bad (or stressful) as this (mine wasn’t this bad), step back and take a breather… and read on 😉

I took a relative to the airport and waited with her at the gate. So I got to sit in an airport for over an hour, walk the halls a little, see all the same ol’ restaurants, and a flood of memories came back (I’ve spent a lot of time in airports in the last few years). While I thoroughly enjoyed what I did, here are some things I like about not having that job anymore:

1. No more commute. I hate commuting. When I was in high school I would commute with my dad (or his buddies) into Washington D.C., which was at least a 45 minute drive from where we lived. The last couple of years here in the Salt Lake area I’ve had a 35 minute commute. Spent a fair amount on gas and set my car up for maintenance… not a huge deal, and I know lots of people have worse commutes, but I’ve hated commuting ever since I was a Junior in high school!

2. No commuting *in the snow*. The only thing I hate worse than commuting is commuting in the winter, when the roads are icy, the sun is down and there are a few crazies that speed through like it was a nice summer day. I do not, will not miss that!

3. No airport time. I haven’t been in an airport since last year (so, over 9 months)! I didn’t realize how much I disliked it, but just spending time there yesterday reminded me… the layovers, the delayed planes, worrying about devious shoes or fraudulent water bottles (j/k, I’m not one to worry down to that level)…

4. No hotel time. I like the quiet time in a hotel to get some work done and be able to concentrate, but I didn’t begin to raise a family so I could spend most of my time in a hotel. There was a point were I was gone for 5 weeks in a row with a one day “visit” home per week. By the 4th week I was ready to look for another job – it was just too much travelling, and I was missing out on my family’s experiences.

5. Newfound time to reflect on my life. When I was working I was so busy doing… everything I did (I was the General Manager of a software company) that I had no time or mental energy to think about who I was and where I was going. Sure I thought I knew where the company was going, and I was enjoying the ride, but the truth was that I was neglecting a lot of personal growth and needs during that time. Since I *left employment* I’ve been able to think… about me! And my family, and my future. It was nice to have time and mental energy to reflect on the important things.

6. Time to actually develop relationships outside of my old “circle.” It took me about 6 weeks to go to my first networking event, and once I went I was quite shy and left early (ya, I left before the networking even happened!). And I left early the next two times. But now that I didn’t have a job I had time to meet new people. And I’ve been to many events to expand my network. This includes formal networking events (my least favorite was a professional job fair) and informal lunches, and everything inbetween. I have developed relationships with people that I never would have been able to meet while I was at my last job. And developing your network with various circles (like, the techie circle, the salespeople circle, the academic circle, etc.) is super valuable.

7. Quality (and quantity) time with the family. I’ve been able to get to know my kids better, and develop better relationships with them, because I’m more accessible. And they’ve grown to trust me more since I’m home more – I’ve become more familiar to them. Sad truth, there are too many parents that don’t have a good relationship with their kids just because the time isn’t there. It has been a lot of fun strengthening my relationship with my kids.

Maybe this post is a little too PollyAna for you but it is true stuff. Looking frantically for a job while you see your savings erode and there is no income is scary – very scary. But there is a bright side, and this might be the only time to take advantage of it.