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The Surprising Benefits of Being Unemployed 1053

SimuAndy writes "David Dvorkin, a programmer and writer of some repute, has published an essay on The Surprising Benefits of Being Unemployed. Well worth the reading time as a small break in a busy day."
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The Surprising Benefits of Being Unemployed

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  • Please... (Score:0, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @11:24PM (#7100559)
    This is not THAT interesting at all to be a front-page story. Sigh, any use in my posting?
  • by JusTyler ( 707210 ) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @11:31PM (#7100605) Homepage
    Speaking of things you don't need, what about that tub of buttered popcorn

    Popcorn is actually an ideal foodstuff if you're on a very tight budget. It's SO cheap!

    I bought myself a popcorn making machine for $20. Basically it's a big "hot air generating machine". You throw your popcorn kernels in, they get heated up and blown around for five minutes, then they all pop and out tumbles the popcorn.

    You can buy a bag with two lbs of kernels for about a dollar. Lasts me about 15 gigantic bowls of popcorn. Keeps your regular too. High in fibre.

    So you pay about 7 cents a bowl, which is a good stomach filler in the evening, and a cent or two for the electricity needed. Popcorn is a bargain, particularly if you like it plain, or with some salt thrown over it (as I do). Just make it YOURSELF.
  • "simple living" (Score:5, Informative)

    by penguin7of9 ( 697383 ) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @11:40PM (#7100660)
    There is actually an entire movement of people that have discovered this. Look for "simple living" on Google. "The Simple Living Guide" by Luhrs is pretty nice reading, too.

    Even if you don't want to adopt frugality and simple living right now, just knowing that you could can make you worry a lot less about the future.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @11:54PM (#7100737)
    Didn't have the money to fix a 25-year-old furnace shaking itself apart with a horrible delayed ignition problem (Kaboom!). Did later sell the condo at a nice profit.

    The condo had large single-pane windows that always drew comments, but did nothing for insulation. The lowest temperatures at the first floor thermostat hit low 50's (Thankfully there was a heated space below that did some good). It actually became bearable although I wouldn't want to do it again. Wore a hat, couple of long john tops, couple of t-shirts, sweat top. 2 long-john bottoms and sweat bottoms. Would sit in a chair or at my computer with a blanket (was still paying for DSL till the end!!). The worse part was my hands and face. With my nose being the worse. Should have got one of those face mask things. Sleeping was fine. Showering was avoided at all costs. Going to the bathroom also involved the shock of cold as you had to get all those layers positioned or off.

    I had very few pipes and they all ran through a heated space to me. Your pipes may break before you do. If you do the no heat thing make sure you insulate pipes. Take a small room and make it your heat space. Crank up the TV and computer and confine you activities to that area. Your own body heat can raise the ambient. You need all the help you can get.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @12:09AM (#7100825)
    Regardless of McDonalds "Long Term Carrer" hype they tend to expect you to run to the first better job you find. I really don't think that they are going to look at your resume and see you as over qualified. (who gives a resume to a fast food joint anyway) I think that they would tend to look for people that are over qualified to work there. I mean really how good of a worker could a worker be if a worker was only qualified to work at mcdonalds?

    I would hope that even the majority of youth are over qualified to flip psuedo meat.


    AC 'cause I don't need no stinkin slashdot account
  • Keep dream'in (Score:4, Informative)

    by Colonel Panic ( 15235 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @02:54AM (#7101442)
    I suspect that, a year from now, people will be talking about the "Bush recovery," and whoever emerges from the Democratic primary is going to be scrambling for issues to run on.

    For the last two years I've been telling myself that things would be better by this time next year. Now I really doubt it. With the Gartner Group saying that over the next 18 months 10% of the remaining IT jobs are heading overseas I really don't think it'll be any better next year at this time. With consumer confidence back down where it was just before the war started because so many people are afraid they'll lose their job, I really doubt things'll be much better next year. With us spending hundreds of Billions of dollars to rebuild Iraq, I really doubt it. But maybe I'll be wrong again this year?

    Nah, I doubt it. Bye, bye Bushie, looks like it'll be a democrat next time.
  • by danheskett ( 178529 ) <danheskett&gmail,com> on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @02:58AM (#7101455)
    A few points:

    We're hemorrhaging 400k jobs a month,
    No, not exactly. The most recent month statistics shows a net loss of 93,000 jobs. Check it out yourself here [].

    consumer confidence is going down
    In the link above, you'll notice that one month of stastics shows a decline. The trend was upwards all summer long. Essentially things trended upwards over the summer, and are starting to trend downward. One month or two months or even three months is a very small trend. It is *NOT* considered a big economic indicator to have a month of declined consumer confidence.

    we're spending more on social services in Iraq then in the U.S
    That's patently absurd. The entire budget for the war, social services, rebuilding and operational expenses for the next 12 months does not exceed the cost of one month of social services in the US. Second, are you somehow suggesting that the social welfare of minorities like the Iraqis and muslims is somewhat less valuable than an unemployed person in the US? Which is worth more? Is one okay to be unemployed and the other not? Why? One the surface your statement belies a latent racism/nationalism that is offensive at best and abhorrent at worse.

    top administration officials are leaking the names of covert CIA agents
    One agent is in question. It is two "senior officals" in question. The persons status has not been necessarily declared to be covert. Not every analyst in the Operations Directorate is a spy. It is likely the husband of the outed agent tipped Novak off himself. Wilson told Novak that he went to Niger at the suggestion of his wife. Novak called around to confirm the story. Additionally, before Novak broke the story it was common knowledge that Plame worked for the CIA. Read Novak's defense of the situation [] and you'll probably change your mind on the situation.

    we have a humongous deficit and an administration that doesn't give a rats ass
    Deficts are a long-term problem, not a short-term problem. What you seem to forget is that the world economy and the US economy specifically are cyclical. Boom-bust-boom-bust etc. Look at over time and you'll see essentially its a 9-10 year cycle. I do not agree with the spending patterns of Bush or even of the last administration (or any in the last 40 years really), however, to suggest that the current administration cares not for deficits is false. To solve current deficits would require drastic short term action that is not justified by the severity of the problem. A deficit of 5% of the budget is not a serious long-term concern.

    Next November you're going to be enjoying a democratic president back in the white house
    Of course, that is possible. Anything is at this point time. But it is speculation, just FYI.

    I know, the freepers and little green footballers and NRO and all you guys will attempt to smear the shit out of anyone who shows up but I don't think it will matter
    Thats an odd statement, but I dont quite follow. NRO (I assume you mean the NRA?) is as far as organizations go blisteringly forthright about how it selects to endorse candidates. They rate candidates based on issues determined by the executive board and membership at large. They assign points on a 100-point scale and then give out a grade-letter. Are you suggesting that somehow the NRA doesn't have the right to lobby citizens to vote for candidates they support? Are the 1 Million + memberso the NRA not allowed to express their collective political opinions?

    Kiss president fucktard good bye.
    Bush may well be voted out of office in favor of a democrat. But the bigger issue here is why yourself and the author of the article puts so much weight on the office of President of the US.

    The United States is not a central
  • by benjamindees ( 441808 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @03:42AM (#7101611) Homepage
    I'm sorry if it sounds stupid, but it's true. They're called discouraged workers [], those who have given up trying to find a job. Maybe the next time you find yourself in the situation of either believing some random person on /. or blindly trusting your government to act reasonably, you'll think twice.
  • Re:Bitter much? (Score:3, Informative)

    by ojQj ( 657924 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @04:25AM (#7101745)
    Neither of us knows his entire story, but I had a different take on his capitalism rant. Basically he was complaining about an asymetric relationship. He gave a lot to his company, and thought that he could depend on them in return. But some companies don't realize the value of employee loyalty and don't choose to foster it, instead making brutal, but (hopefully at least) economically correct decisions which don't see any practical value in intangibles such as loyalty.

    My answer to that not would be to pretend its not true. It is. Instead, it's time to realize that companies are this way and to plan around it. A few possibilities are:

    1. Get together with others so that you can have the same kind of collective bargaining power as the monopsonists (ie create a labor monopoly, ie unionize).
    2. Make sure that the company really can't live without you by performing a critical service no one else can.
    3. Keep your skills and contacts up-to-date so that you can find another job, even while you perform consciencious work at the job you have. Don't let unpayed over-time at your current job suck away the time you need to do this.
    4. In addition to retirement savings, save to bridge potential dead periods. Negotiate your salary with the need to do this in mind.
    5. In short calculate all the costs and risks of employment into your decision making processes at all levels. Don't let optimism and the desire to like your employer corrupt your judgement.
    Just because someone has recognized that capitalism can be brutal doesn't make him a bad employee. I'd say it could make him a better employee because he enters the contract with open eyes, and a clear understanding of his position.

    The author of this article was simply saying that he didn't realize this before, and that now he does.

  • Re:Yeah right. (Score:3, Informative)

    by hanssprudel ( 323035 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @07:29AM (#7102224)
    Maybe the fact that you are limiting yourself to that town is the problem?

    Anyone who isn't willing to take any job they can get, anywhere in the world, is unemployed by choice.
  • Kinda sad (Score:3, Informative)

    by Headius ( 5562 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @07:49AM (#7102278) Homepage Journal
    I was out of work for a while when everything went under. Actually, I was out of work twice, once right at the end of 2000 and once in late 2001. The first time was because a major corporation decided to trim the fat and clear out an assload of consultants. I don't blame them for that, and I wasn't really sorry to go. The second time, I was working for an HMO provider, and they went belly-up because of shady accounting practices. Neither time was really related to the bubble.

    However, the first time I was only out of work for a month, and the second time for about three months. During the inbetween times I kept studying software development, cleaning up my resume, and tossing it off. In the end, I got those new jobs because I actually had the skills necessary for "senior"-level positions.

    This guy's resume is exactly the kind I walk away from. He's floated from language to language, technology to technology, and doesn't have a mastery of any of them. I won't go into specifics, but this looks exactly like a guy that doesn't learn anything he doesn't pick up from his current job. One job leads to another only by virtue of what odd jobs his former employer required him to do. A single one-off project in language X produces a marketable skill? I've been doing server-side Java development for 7 years and the market is still a tough nut to crack.

    Learn how to do something (software development or tech writing, for example) and learn how to do it really well..the jobs will follow.

Mathemeticians stand on each other's shoulders while computer scientists stand on each other's toes. -- Richard Hamming