My friend sent me a link to chapter 3 of The Local’s Single and Unemployed series. The heroine (or as my friend said ‘fool’), Lindsay Cunningham, is sharing her economic truth post-losing her job and a boyfriend. And the truth isn’t pretty. She can’t stop spending money even though her cash flow has been drastically reduced:
Adjusting to a new budget after losing my job has proven to be the most difficult part of this process. I’m used to a certain lifestyle, and, wouldn’t you know, it requires money. The “I’m-so-sorry-you-lost-your-job” free cocktails and dinners from friends are over, but my social life hasn’t changed. I’m still invited to the same cocktail hours ($20), dinners ($30), concerts ($70) and films ($12.50). The only difference is I’m still going out even though I can’t afford it.
Lindsay is suffering from the delusion that her job and money were her identity. And she should be so thankful that delusion is a big lie. It is hard to trade in the comfort of a full time paycheck, but it’s even harder to lie to yourself that nothing has changed.
I have no answers for Lindsay because she’s making her own path and mistakes. I do have some thoughts she may want to consider…..
1. Tweak the rituals
If her daily ritual was to hit happy hour 3-4 times a week, slow it down. I’m not saying cut it out completely, I am saying choose her happy hour time strategically. Don’t go to a bar to stave off loneliness and depression (you can drink at home cheaply for that!); go out to a happy hour where the chances are you will connect with people who can help her transition to her next job, career or opportunity. Put the bar money aside for a class and/or a career coach.
2. The Beauty Regimen
Hair. Manicure. Pedicure. Waxing. It adds up and depending on which spa is your favorite, it can be super expensive. Make a decision on which beauty habit can no longer be outsourced and become fantastic at it. I find doing my own nails relaxing and therapeutic, but I won’t do my own waxing. I’m at peace with this because I know why I can’t buy this cardigan. That’s the waxing* money!
Accept that you can’t see every movie released. Remind yourself that a matinee at BAM is eight bucks. Look at the cable bill and see where you can cut back. Consider reading more. Go to free concerts. Unfortunately this is one of the most awful things about losing a full-time job: joining the ranks of people who can’t do everything they want. Sucks. But the upside of suck is that it’s a great incentive to push her to putting that time, money and energy towards finding a new job, passion or career.
*I do admit that I could go without waxing at all, but I know that hairy legs and sundresses are a lousy combo.
- The Unemployed Speak Out (thedailybeast.com)