The blogosphere is rife with blogs about working, jobs, employment, and hiring information. But what about that unfortunate and ever-more-common converse called unemployment?
John Henion and Tania Khadder fell victim to this state state not too long ago, and decided to make an opportunity of it by creating the blog Unemploymentality. Their approach is both tongue-in-cheek and empathetic, making their blog a fine resource for anyone in the, well, unemployed mentality.
Business Pundit interviewed John for some more on the concept, the experience, and some tips:
1. How’d you come up with the idea for Unemploymentality? What was the context, what happened, why this blog, now?
Tania and I were work friends and laid off on the same day. A week or so later we found ourselves obsessing over the details of what had happened. Tania and I were g-chatting and she mentioned how she wasn’t really inspired to write anymore. So we sort of acknowledged that we spend all our time obsessing about being unemployed, so why not use that as our inspiration. So we hashed out the unemploymentality concept right then and there and just ran with it.
Additionally, we were let go as part of a fairly large layoff, and I saw a lot of very creative and talented people get the axe with us. So for me, I felt the blog was a way for us to take control of our situation and turn it into something positive – an outlet for that talent and creativity. We’ve already had a few contributions made to the blog from some of our former co-workers and fellow layoffees, and I hope that continues.
2. Does Unemploymentality employ you? As in, do you make any money off the blog? Or is it just a productive way to use your time?
We make a tiny bit of money off of google adsense and pay pal donations, but nothing that’s going to support either of us. It may cover administrative costs and hopefully cover some research if we ever wake up early enough to cover any real stories.
But if our traffic continues to grow like it has, I don’t see why we wouldn’t be able to attract a few advertisers…of course who really wants to advertise on an unemployment blog? Probably just liquor companies and Off Track Betting.
In the meantime, it is indeed a great way to not only stay busy, but be productive and express ourselves. I’ve also learned alot about emarketing, SEO and even coding thanks to the blog, so I get the sense that it’s helping me grow professionaly as well.
3. Do you think about unemployment all the time? Does it depress you? How do you escape the mindset?
When I think about how many jobs are being lost everyday – that depresses me, as it probably does everyone. And job searching sometimes seems futile, so that’s depressing too.
I wouldn’t say I think about unemployment all the time, definitely don’t spend a lot of time thinking about my own unemployment. But it has become this weird additional layer of consciousness that informs how I interpret the world around me – that’s the unemploymentality and it’s so new to me that I actually find it pretty entertaining most of the time. Hell, it’s where I get all of my material. But ask me again in five months when I still don’t have a job and I think my answer would be quite a bit different.
4. What do you hope to accomplish with Unemploymentality?
We’d like to see more people getting involved so it becomes a self sustaining community. Even when the economy turns around, there will still be unemployed people, there will still be people that feel like they can’t get a leg up in the corporate world, so hopefully this site will continue to be forum for these types of discussions and more.
5. How many readers, roughly, do you get?
We get about 1,000 a day and that’s been growing. Plus our picture ended up prominently in the Reuters database, so every so often we end up in a newspaper or website and our traffic spikes (we love it when that happens).
6. What are the three main ways you deal with unemployment?
a) Laugh right in its face.
b) Write about it.
c) Play online battleship.
7. Any advice for unemployed people?
Hmmm…well, I think the hardest thing for me at first was wondering if it was personal. It’s not. And even if it was, it really doesn’t do you any good to obsess over it. Move on.
Secondly, don’t drive yourself and others crazy looking for a new job. Now that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go out and network, call around and put a lot of time and effort into your job search, but pace yourself. Extend your day to allow yourself to take advantage of your newfound freedom from cubicles and spreadsheets. Take your time in the morning, take a longer lunch, ride your bike or pick up your kids and play with them. You’re not punching a clock – you can write a cover letter at 10pm just as well as you can at 10am.
Read more by John and Tania at Unemploymentality.com.