Finding a job is kind of like finding a boyfriend. That is, it’s a lot more fun to talk about how you don’t have one, and how hard they are to find, than it is to send out resumes (or lurk in coffeehouses). And not having a job, like being single, definitely has its perks. Both can be enormously thrilling. The world seems full of possibility! Nothing is tying you down or regulating your habits. There is no need to call home if you’re going to be out late; no reason to set your alarm for 6:45am and crawl out of bed in the weekday morning darkness searching for a button-down shirt and office-casual pants.

But this exhilarating feeling of freedom comes at a price, particularly for the unemployed.  After all, you don’t need a boyfriend.  But, if you lack a trust fund, you probably need a job. And when you’re between jobs, at every moment lurks the fear that you will never find another one, or that you will never again find a job you enjoy. It is very easy, in these moments, to let panic set in. The giddy thrill of wondering if today is Wednesday or Sunday; the joys of shopping in a deserted supermarket on a weekday afternoon, can dissipate all too easily with one glance at a dipping savings account, or a moment’s consideration of anything related to health care.

Harder still, jobs are often treated all too casually by those who already have them. Your employed friends may sigh wistfully when you relate in great detail what happened to Marlena on Days. They may mention at least once per conversation how brave you were to leave your job in search of a new adventure, and how much they wish they were brave enough to do the same thing. However, deep down, you both know that they have a steady income, and you don’t. That awareness kind of puts a damper on things. Similarly, no one who is single ever really feels like hearing how lucky they are to be single from someone with a live-in boyfriend. Trust me, they know. Unless you are also single, keep those sentiments to yourself, except when they are followed by, “but I have to introduce you to my adorable friend Bob who is also lucky enough to be single.”

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