So How am I Doin’?

Ed Koch Jobless Rules BlogTen Rules for How to be Unemployed:

Ten More Rules:

Hey guys.  Now in Week 11 of Unemployment, I have posted 20 rules to live by, thus far.  Here’s an update on how I have fared in following that first batch of 10 Rules for How to be Unemployed.

Rule #1:  Stick to the same routine.  Done. I do still rise at the same old time every morning and work a full day.

Rule #2:  No jammy pants.  Have followed this one faithfully.  No slippage!

Rule #3:  Get ripped.  I have indeed worked out “more than ever before.”  In two-and-a-half months, only once have I gone as much as three days straight without exercising.  My forearms are nearing Popeye proportions, a new muscle now is visible in my triceps, and I can do an hour on the elliptical, hard.

Rule #4:  Cut back immediately.  Done.  Subways instead of cabs have saved me hundreds of dollars.  Am using cheap drugstore shampoo instead of a $28 bottle of Bumble & Bumble bought at Sephora.  And I am cooking more at home, and letting (male) friends pick up the tab when we’re out and they are kind enough to offer.

Rule #5:  Apply for unemployment.  Done.  Even got a polite phone call from state staff checking into my claim, all good.

Rule #6:  People not websites.  Been doing that on steroids.  And I have been both buoyed and humbled by how kind so many people have been.  In 10 weeks I have contacted a total of 47 people.  Only one never got back to me (associate of a friend).  I already had known 26 of them, the other 21 were newcomers to me.  Only nine of these contacts were by phone-only, the rest were in person.  Ya gotta press-the-flesh!

Rule #7:  What to say about your sitch.  Confession:  I’d advocated using the f-word—“Fired!”  But, now that the some of the sting has eased, I subtly have switched to “got laid off,” without even realizing it.  Even that may be too much info a few months after your exit.  “You need a better story to tell.  Do you have to be the guy whose story is he lost his job at Fox?” a friend and PR sage implores me.  New spin: “After six years in TV, I’m now looking for new opportunities to leverage those skills in new ways.”

Rule #8:  Shed the shame.  Still working on this one, frankly.  When you are escorted out of the building and most of your colleagues still have their jobs, you wonder what you did wrong.  There must be something.  But it is backward-looking when I need to look forward, it is a waste of focus and bandwidth.

Rule #9:  Strike quickly.  This one has me waffling, in that I have turned down one generous, full-time offer in public-relations work because it didn’t feel right as yet.  It was just too difficult to give up on more than three decades in journalism after only two-and-a-half months out of work.

Rule #10:  But don’t panic.  This rule is difficult to master.  Sometimes you feel the panic start to push up into your throat from the pit of your stomach, when you get startled and suddenly remember you don’t have a job.  It is an alienating, disconcerting feeling.  Like the bottom could drop out.  The upside of a little panic:  I don’t ever want to feel entirely comfortable with this state of joblessness.

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