Creative is. Creative does.

A simple fact that is glossed over or ignored in advertising (among lots of other things) is the fact that we are all at the mercy of our professional environment. You could have the most creatively facile mind that is sizzling with incredible ideas, but if you don’t have the right client, the right agency or the right team to help you, all those hot ideas are for shit.

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Not so Funemployment

I won’t lie. There were days when I woke to the dulcet tones of my alarm clock, pulled my head back under the covers like a turtle with a hangover, and wished very much to be unemployed. But mostly I just didn’t want to get out of bed. I’ve never been much of a morning person. 

Now I am unemployed. I am unemployed under what can be described as nearly the best possible circumstances. I have a generous severance that affords me the luxury of not being completely panicked about finding a job right this moment. My resume and portfolio have been well-received by enough places to suggest that finding employment is but a mere matter of some time, provided I infuse myself with a good deal of patience, which is not my strength. 

A more mentally stalwart individual than I might look upon this situation and muster some excitement about the abundance of free time. An opportunity to catch up on movie-going, on sleep, on reading the pile of books on the nightstand. A chance to reconnect with busy friends and family. Finally, the luxury of time to go to the gym every day and make your body forget about the 50-hour weeks spent at a desk. And travel! Now that work’s out of the equation for the moment, going places for stretches of time is suddenly a possibility. Or: what an excellent time to make headway on all-important personal projects (e.g., novel). 

You’d think I’d be more thrilled. 

Instead, what I do is marvel at how slowly a day passes, yet how quickly these four weeks since the day of the layoffs have zipped by. Normally a social smoker, I seem to have reinstated cigarettes as daylong companions, from morning coffee to the 5pm beer. That doesn’t bode well. I’ve gone from a relatively healthy and measured regimen of meals to eating cold leftovers once or twice a day while standing in front of the open fridge. If I don’t have a reason to take a shower, put on pants that aren’t made of stretchy loose fabric, and leave the house, I don’t tend to get around to these things until well after 3pm. And there have been days when I’ve gotten to nearly eight at night without speaking a single word out loud, making the sudden conversation I might have something of a shock to the system. 

When I do speak, I’m constantly at a loss for words, as if my normally robust vocabulary has flown the coop. Not ideal for job interviews or work-related phone calls, clearly. My brain feels stiff, like its gears, without the daily lubrication of work, have crunched to a halt. And as much as I used to fantasize about a work-free life, I find I miss work. I miss the structure that came with it, the constant engagement with people and ideas. I miss the reason to get up and moving and thinking. 

To be fair, there are many days that I do manage to do something with myself. But those are days that involve an appointment of some kind. I must go to this job interview, ergo I must shower and look presentable. While I’m at it, I’ll manage my time for the day in order to make sure I work on the novel, go to the gym, get some groceries, and make a date with a friend for drinks. But it’s that necessary stud of an appointment that builds the whole house of a day not dawdled away.  

Left to my own devices? Well, let’s just say I have some work to do.