Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Fear of Unemployment

The first chapter in my new book is titled: "Unemployment Is Good". I realize that might be debatable to many people, but I believe it. A little bit of unemployment can go a long way toward changing a person. Unemployment made an impression on me that no other lesson or life experience ever has. Now that I am getting paid I appreciate the money so much more. There are other reasons unemployment is good which I won't cover in this post. They will all be in my book!

Since getting my paychecks I have been putting away half of my pretax and other fees income. In other words, somewhere around 2/3 of my actual paycheck has gone to my savings account. It is building rather rapidly. While there is a temptation to spend some money and buy something like a motorcycle, the truth is I am afraid of being unemployed again. That fear is still so strong that I have not bought anything over $100 since being employed for over two months. No 15 year old Laphroig, no new computer, no new cell phone, no new car, no new flat screen, no new iPad 2, or even a set of ice tools. All of the things a year and a half ago I planned to buy once I had a job seem immaterial now. I hope to just be able to pay my bills for the next year.

The fear of unemployment drives my purchases. The fear of unemployment drives my savings account up. I feel that I am taking a much more active role in lowering my expenses and raising my income than I did before I was unemployed. Although, Janzen Gear has not sold anything yet and my Amazon sales are one total sale for a commission to me of somewhat less than $0.50.

One of the benefits of this blog is that a number of times my friends have said something like, "Isaiah, I read your blog and... it's depressing sometimes." They are of course referring to my unemployment posts. While I hope that the general attitude here is far more positive now, I am happy to know that my experience can vicariously teach others who are still in school. I had no idea that I could possibly be unemployed. WPI is too good for that! Yet it happened. Now I know that it can happen to just about anyone. You are not protected entirely by the name of your school or your GPA or your patents or your software expertise.

While I fear future unemployment and I diligently plan for it, I do not worry. Whatever happens will happen. I am working now and will be for some time. With quite a bit of help from those who care about me I made it through unemployment once, I will be able to do it again, if I must.

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