List/Challenge (Rough Draft) –Diary of an Unemployed Dude

When, you have no income, it’s not just about finding a career. You also have to avoid spending money and find the little ways to get by without a paycheck. Here are some creative ideas I did and you can too!!!

  1. Suggest a Mexican restaurant, then tell your friends “I’m not really hungry, I had a huge lunch” when it’s time to order. Proceed to annihilate three basket of chips with salsa before smoking the “short” from your friend’s cigarette.
  2. Tell your friend that you miss them and would love to cook them dinner and catch up. Ask if they have ingredients for a pasta dish, which everyone does, and proceed to cook them and your self a filling carb fest that will fuel your non-working-ass lifestyle for days.
  3. Go to the library! Not only do they have tons of good books for smart people, they’ve got plenty of dross for the rest of us, too! My last three library items were MAGIC Mike XXL, Pitch Perfect, and origami for dummies. Go rent Orange is the New Black–just cause you don’t have food doesn’t mean you can’t binge on “The Kitchen”.
  4. When out at a bar with friends, tell everyone that you’re “very picky about beer” and taste everyone’s beer until you catch a buzz, then say, “I guess I’m just not feelin’ their selection”. When your friend responds, but you always drink PBR–It’s your favorite beer.”, just say, “Meh, I guess I just grew out of it. I’m developing a more refined palate.” When your friend points out that you just ate three packets of ketchup, just say you have a phosphorus deficiency.
  5. Take a few sugar packets from McDonald’s and a few crackers from Wendy’s, and shake them up with some creamer from Starbucks for a well balanced breakfast shake. I think that’s what Ensure is made of anyway.
  6. Move to Chicago. World class museums, music festivals, mega library, yoga in the park–All free!! Just don’t move in December, if you want to survive. Winter’s Coming!
  7. Get on a bus and tell the bus driver, “I forgot my wallet”. The bus driver will kick you off at the next stop. When she does, get on the next bus and repeat step one. You will eventually get to your destination, one stop at a time, with the side benefit of meeting a bunch of interesting, cool bus drivers!
  8. Be Awesome! I find that most people don’t much mind hanging out with a bum, if said bum is awesome.
  9. Go to events with suggested-donation entrance fees. They’re just suggestions…
  10. Use the money you made donating plasma to buy a six-pack of beer—you can return the bottles for nickels! That’s money in your pocket!
  11. Don’t self medicate with shopping! It’s so easy to buy delicious food or a tasty craft beer, just cause you’re bored, not hungry. Maybe you like to buy beautiful new clothes when you’re sad or a cup of joe from Starbucks when you get writer’s block. There are myriad stores I would frequent, in person or online, to distract myself from the excruciating pain of existence. I self medicated myself into bankruptcy going out every night for dinner and drinks, buying vinyl and books I never read, fashionable suits and shoes. I never knew what I truly couldn’t live without until I had no choice but to choose. When I was making $50,000 a year I was living paycheck to paycheck and felt more broke than I do now, unemployed, no savings account, making and spending about $20-$40 a week, depending on which little jobs I pick up. I am very blessed to have an amazing, loving family who I am living with and eating with, so you can factor those expenses in however you want, but I haven’t bought anything other than food in the past four months, a third of a year—no clothes, no books or movies (The Chicago public library has literally every book and movie and music I’ve ever looked for). The inability to buy alcohol, take woman on dates, shop for relief, distraction, has forced me to sit with my demons face to face, no escaping, and I honestly don’t know if I’d still be alive if I hadn’t. Some of the most beautiful sights in the world are in your imagination. Some of the most moving and heartbreaking dramas unfold solely in your mind. It isn’t easy to just be—sit in a park without entertainment or distraction. No food, no magazine, no phone– with nowhere to go but inward. But if you can, and you survive, I promise you will be stronger, wiser, and happier, for the highest, most treacherous mountain in the world is that of your own mind. I challenge you to go three days without buying anything—eat every last can of beans in your cupboard, ride your bike to work, live without caffeine. What is the hardest thing to not spend money on? How easy or hard is it? Can you keep going for a full week? Keep your wallet at home and see what it’s like to rely on the kindness of strangers and friends, how it feels to ask for help. It’s not just about saving money, but saving intention.

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CHALLENGE: Don’t buy ANYTHING for three days

Comment below: Was going even 1 day harder than you imagined? Were you able to complete the three days? how did it feel?

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2 thoughts on “List/Challenge (Rough Draft) –Diary of an Unemployed Dude

  1. Phil, I never met you and to be honest, was really attracted to your “raps” and your looks. Reading this adds a whole new dimension. I know our stories are different, but they are also pretty similar. I am in the same field as you, suffer from anxiety/depression/eating disorders, and had one hell of a year last year. I, too, found myself unemployed and on the opposite side of the services we usually provide. It is so hard to find motivation to go hour-to-hour and day-to-day. It’s even harder to put into words all of which accompanies it. I love this list. You made something funny out of something so devastating and that’s truly a gift. I hope you keep writing and I hope you stay around for a very long time. I personally don’t feel that everything happens for a reason, but you know as well as I do that these extremely difficult times will aid you far more than good times ever will. Your clients will find solace in someone who truly understands and has been there. Someone like that is so hard to find. I hope good things come your way and that you never find yourself in a depth such as this ever again. You made it through. Keep going. I can’t wait to see what you do with this life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much for those kind words. I agree, “everything happens for a reason” is Sunday-school bullshit. Some shit just happens, and it sucks, and that’s it. Only one thing definitely happens for a reason, how we choose to navigate and react to this ridiculous world of chaos and the excruciating pain of existence. I don’t know how it feels to be you, and I still have huge problems, no money, feelings of despair. If there is ever anything you wish to talk about I’ll be here.

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