04 Oct

FUNemployment

Our economy is currently recovering from one of the worst economic recessions of all time. While the unemployment rate has skyrocketed to nearly 10%, some out-of-work citizens are finding it better to enjoy their free time, then stress over the difficulties of finding a new job.

“Funemployment is when unemployed individuals decide to enjoy the free time that unemployment provides. The term was coined during the financial crisis of 2008-2009 to describe those who had recently lost their jobs and were choosing to use their newfound freedom to travel, go to the beach, be physically active and generally enjoy themselves until they found a new job” (Investopedia.com).

How might these individuals financially afford to spend money on life’s luxuries without a steady, if any, income? Simple, they collect weekly unemployment benefits of up to $475 (recently raised from $450 per week, under Obama’s administration). Furthermore, the American Recovery and Investment Act prolonged the maximum timeframe for receiving unemployment insurance to a staggering 79 weeks! That wouldn’t entice me to proactively search for a job immediately after being laid offer.

Let’s examine this phenomenon more closely. Most unemployed workers choosing to become funemployed are in their 20s to early 30s – this being because they do not have families to feed or mortgage payments to make. A typical entry-level position for gradates of the Class of 2010, as reported by National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), is $48,661. If a recent graduate were to accept unemployment benefits for their first year after graduation, their pre-tax earnings would equate to $24,700 ($2,400 of which is tax-free!). This is making me second-guess my government status of “unemployed.”

Are you reconsidering the daily commute through traffic to sit at a cubicle without a view of the outdoors?

Check out “Stuff Unemployed People Like” for some interesting ideas, and share your thoughts below.


  • Anonymous

    As tempting as traveling around and having fun is, I take issue with a few things.

    Where does that unemployment check come from? It’s not just free money. Someone else is paying for you. It’s the same issue I have with welfare. It can be useful to help people out of a crisis, but I hear too many stories of people becoming complacent because of it. I would feel guilty about burdening others.

    I also take pride in the fact that I have the potential to be a beneficial part of society. I look forward to having a positive impact and instigating progress and innovation, and I’m always looking for ways to do that with my career. Ideally, if I found myself unemployed, I would use my time to think of new ways to turn my career into something I’m proud of and want to be doing. Exploring your passions and fun activities is a great place to start, but you shouldn’t stop there.

  • As tempting as traveling around and having fun is, I take issue with a few things.

    Where does that unemployment check come from? It’s not just free money. Someone else is paying for you. It’s the same issue I have with welfare. It can be useful to help people out of a crisis, but I hear too many stories of people becoming complacent because of it. I would feel guilty about burdening others.

    I also take pride in the fact that I have the potential to be a beneficial part of society. I look forward to having a positive impact and instigating progress and innovation, and I’m always looking for ways to do that with my career. Ideally, if I found myself unemployed, I would use my time to think of new ways to turn my career into something I’m proud of and want to be doing. Exploring your passions and fun activities is a great place to start, but you shouldn’t stop there.

  • Anonymous

    Jessica –

    I completely agree. I did not write this piece with the intent of expressing approval for individuals who are FUNemployed. I simply wanted to shed light on the situation.

    I too feel that it is unfair to collect “free money” at the cost of tax payers. In addition, as you well know, I am always striving to contribute to society. I strongly feel that people of all ages, be that a recent graduate or a soon-to-be retiree, are equally responsibile to provide for their community by any means; volunteer work, charity, innovation, etc…

    To restate my point, the government is providing around 50% of an entry level salary to individuals approved for unemployment benefits. Simply put, the amount of government aid provided should allow for an unemployed individual to JUST get by, but be low enough to encourage him or her to look for gainful employment.

  • Anonymous

    Jessica –

    I completely agree. I did not write this piece with the intent of expressing approval for individuals who are FUNemployed. I simply wanted to shed light on the situation.

    I too feel that it is unfair to collect “free money” at the cost of tax payers. In addition, as you well know, I am always striving to contribute to society. I strongly feel that people of all ages, be that a recent graduate or a soon-to-be retiree, are equally responsibile to provide for their community by any means; volunteer work, charity, innovation, etc…

    To restate my point, the government is providing around 50% of an entry level salary to individuals approved for unemployment benefits. Simply put, the amount of government aid provided should allow for an unemployed individual to JUST get by, but be low enough to encourage him or her to look for gainful employment.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for writing about it. It’s an important topic as the economy goes up and down.

    The one good thing about a bad economy and lots of unemployed citizens is, on some level, it spurs innovation and entrepreneurship!

  • Thanks for writing about it. It’s an important topic as the economy goes up and down.

    The one good thing about a bad economy and lots of unemployed citizens is, on some level, it spurs innovation and entrepreneurship!