The Upside of Unemployment
Slack your way to an exciting new career.
If you're in this boat, or fear you could be, you might be wondering how to cope. Lesson number one: Vandelay Industries has already been taken. You're going to need your own list of fake companies when speaking with the unemployment office. Lesson number two: don't waste time with Yahoo or any of the big banks; they won't be hiring any time soon. Lesson number three: use the down time to learn why being unemployed can actually help you, and the economy.
First, some background. Economists vary wildly in their ruminations on causes of unemployment. Keynesians point to a lack of effective demand for goods and services, while Classical economists blame government regulations like taxes and minimum wage.
A third school of thought alleges certain people are out of work voluntarily, because they're "in between jobs." Before you dismiss this breed of joblessness, called frictional unemployment, consider its close ties to the American dream. If you're in this crowd, dear slacker, you're in luck. Your laziness could translate into a boon to your career trajectory.
Here's why: Frictional unemployment is what allows individuals to find the job niche where they best fit. Let's say you're a budding hip-hop, jazz and klezmer fusion musician, but as fate would have it, you're stuck at your job at the coal mine. One day, you toss your shovel to the ground, and tear-covered face covered in ash, you tell your boss you've had enough of this hard life. You quit.
You're frictionally unemployed. You're poor. You face stigma. You even miss the scent of coal. But on the upside, you've got plenty of time to lay down those phat beats that sound so unexpectedly harmonious against the backdrop of vibraphones and clarinets. Next thing you know you get discovered, score a film, win a Grammy and go on to sell millions of records. Unemployment was the best thing that ever happened to you.
In December 2007, the US Department of Labor reported that "the number of unemployed persons increased by 474,000 to 7.7 million," and that the rate of overall unemployment was 5.0%.
Of the total number of unemployed persons, 798,000 fell into the frictional camp. A big number, to be sure, but more significant than its trail of zeros is what can be gleaned from it: 798,000 of your fellow Americans are pursuing their dreams. Starring on a soap opera is a great start.
If this sounds like you, slacker, keep your chin up. Times may be tough, but think of this moment as one rife with opportunity. Just because you're out of work doesn't mean you don't have a job to do.
The information on this website solely reflects the analysis of or opinion about the performance of securities and financial markets by the writers whose articles appear on the site. The views expressed by the writers are not necessarily the views of Minyanville Media, Inc. or members of its management. Nothing contained on the website is intended to constitute a recommendation or advice addressed to an individual investor or category of investors to purchase, sell or hold any security, or to take any action with respect to the prospective movement of the securities markets or to solicit the purchase or sale of any security. Any investment decisions must be made by the reader either individually or in consultation with his or her investment professional. Minyanville writers and staff may trade or hold positions in securities that are discussed in articles appearing on the website. Writers of articles are required to disclose whether they have a position in any stock or fund discussed in an article, but are not permitted to disclose the size or direction of the position. Nothing on this website is intended to solicit business of any kind for a writer's business or fund. Minyanville management and staff as well as contributing writers will not respond to emails or other communications requesting investment advice.
Copyright 2011 Minyanville Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Daily Recap Newsletter