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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Manifesto for the underemployed, not wanting it all and other thoughts on doing very little with your time

When I made the move from El Paso to Evanston last summer, I told myself I would totally switch career gears and change from a workaholic media producer who didn't know her son's teacher's names to a person with a regular job, who lightly participated in parenting. I was determined to finally take my maternity leave (both pregnancies found me back at work within days of delivering my children) and just hang out for the summer and then find a regular job, working 40 hours a week, maybe even 35, and be happy about it.

The break lasted six months and I finally went to work at the beginning of last December, where I work 35 hours a week at a totally regular job doing project management for the advancement office at the Illinois Institute of Technology.

My six months off found me just hanging out in my apartment and at the beach. I didn't do much with my free time and I was totally okay with it (most days). On days where I wanted to nap, I napped. It turns out it's incredibly easy to do nothing, you just have to keep the television off and your social life to a minimum so that peer pressure doesn't put you off your game.

Recently my old friend Molly Miller transitioned out of a job and now finds herself with lots of free time. She sent around a manifesto and I just had to post it here as so much of my last year has been spent telling myself that "it's okay to do nothing" and you've been living through it with me. Molly makes not doing much sound so empowering, I love it and I just had to share it.

Manifesto for the Underemployed by Molly Miller

Getting as much sleep as you want and need will make you feel amazing
After mid day power yoga & hot shower, it’s ok to change from your yoga pants into a clean pair of yoga pants. Who needs clothes?
If your mouth feels weird half way through the day, ask yourself, did you forget to brush your teeth?
Laying down on your bed with the covers over you and napping while the rain softly falls is a very good thing to do after an intense mid day yoga class
Planning soups and having the time to go get the ingredients and make the soup is not just for Sundays now. That goes for anything you want to make
Make things
When all else fails, go to the park and walk or just walk in the neighborhood. Walk to the store and get fennel for soup. Take the long way through the park.
Go to the museum
Write a blog
Catch up with friends
Call your aunt in the nursing home in Palm Springs
Make your friends dinner
Clean your closet
Detox your liver
Sit in bed and drink tea and read
Sit in the park and read
Only send out resumes to people you really, really, really want to work for or with
Don’t answer ads
Send out notes or make calls or have coffee or attend an event with three to five people a week whose work interests you
Don’t waste any more time looking for jobs than necessary
Spend as much time being happy as possible
Play with the cat
Feel how easy it is to be patient and loving with strangers and friends and family when you are rested
Volunteer with no expectations

Thanks Molly, you said all of this so well. For just a little background Molly and I used to work together at Sussex Publishers around 1996 when Sussex used to own Mother Earth News Magazine. Molly was a senior editor and I was the managing editor and we really enjoyed working together. We've been friends ever since 1996 and we haven't collaborated on any projects since our Sussex days. Maybe this blog post should be the start of something beautiful, then again I'm just starting to love doing a whole lot of nothing.

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