6 People Who Look Unemployed…But Aren’t

This article originally appeared at unemploymentality.com. It has since been updated for Business Pundit. Unemployentality’s John Henion claims unemployed people love pundits. So here goes.

With the economy being what it is, it’s easy to get carried away and begin to think that everyone you see in your neighborhood without a spring in their step to be unemployed.

True, there are people that exhibit some signs of what we have come to define as “the unemploymentality:” A transformative state of mind caused by a sudden loss of job and resulting in thriftiness, panic and/or lethargy.

But a lot of these people are what we like to call “borderliners,”- they’re not unemployed, but they sure as hell act like it. To keep your socio-economic profiling on course, here are a few people in your neighborhood that exhibit borderline behavior:


1. Old People: Although they wake up at an ungodly early hour, they just putz around all day doing crosswords, pruning flower gardens and talking about the ‘good ol’ days.’

Sound familiar? Yes, if you didn’t know any better, you would swear you’re talking to your buddy, Ricky from Accounts Receivable, who got laid off on the same day that you did. But you’re not. You’re talking to an old guy that lived through two wars, 30 years at the plant, and now trumps your unemployment check with Social Security, Medi-caid and a pension.


2. Children: Sure, all they do is eat, sleep and play video games just like you, but society actually approves of this behavior if you’re under 18. They even provide special shelters for children called “schools” where they can enjoy the camaraderie of their peers free from all the questions and sympathy the rest of us face from family and friends with jobs.

And for the haters out there that think we’re milking the system by collecting unemployment checks while we get our feet underneath us again, the next time you drive by a playground, think about the school taxes you’re paying as welfare with training wheels. Kids eat free!


3. Freelancers: Throw a stone at your local coffee shop and you’re likely to hit at least three freelancers. And freelancing may as well be called, “professional unemployment.” They work 24 hours a month (spread over 20 days) and make more money than I ever did at my fulltime job. But they act just as broke as us because their next paycheck is always an unknown.


4. Stay-at-home Dads: I bet you thought that hip, young guy with a stroller and matching diaper bag was recently laid off, didn’t you? No, that guy has way too much experience with children to have the unemploymentality. He’s a stay-at-home daddy.

Dads with the unemploymentality are the ones standing in the front yard smoking a butt and spraying their child with a garden hose because they don’t ‘do’ diapers. In fact, unemployed dads are rarely, if ever seen in public. If you do see one, keep your distance.


5. Do-gooders: Marching up and down the sidewalk, begging for signatures for this cause or that cause, they actually appear to be gainfully employed. But with them traveling from cause to cause from Portland to San Francisco to Santa Fe and living in vans or eight deep in two-bedroom apartments, their unemploymentality may be stronger than the rest of ours. Respect them, learn their ways and you may find yourself ready for the economic apocalypse to come.


6. Holy Rollers: Walking around aimlessly while pondering the meaning of life seems to attract the company of frumpy older woman in sensible shoes with hip pouches full of scripture. They’ve even started to come to my door during the day. At first, I thought that this was just a religious response to unemployment – I blog to pass the idle hours, they bring pagans to Christ.

But I later learned that most of these bible bangers are actually housewives suffering from empty-nest syndrome. Usually I just give ‘em a hug and ask them if they want to play Grand Theft Auto and they’re on their merry way.

Go to Unemploymentality.com for more shenanigans, useful tips, and insight into the unemployed mind.

Written by Drea Knufken

Drea Knufken

Currently, I create and execute content- and PR strategies for clients, including thought leadership and messaging. I also ghostwrite and produce press releases, white papers, case studies and other collateral.