As my search for employment winds into its second month, I’ve noticed that the language I use to convey my current job status while still trying to maintain my self-esteem has changed drastically. For instance, instead of telling people I live in my parent’s basement, I tell them I’m “living with family friends” (Technically this is true. My parents are family, and they are also my friends, so I think it counts). The hardest word to get around, however, is the dreaded U-word: “unemployed.” Whether it’s meeting with old friends or making new acquaintances or getting harassed by creditors (they can be so persistent), everyone always wants to know the same thing: What do you do for a living? Worst yet is that that the U-word conjures up visions of people loafing around in their sweats and watching daytime TV, their fingers stained bright orange from all the Cheetos they’ve been eating. Sure there may be some truth to this stereotype (just yesterday I ate an entire bag of grapes while watching Real Chance at Love 2) but this image, as anyone who is or who has been unemployed knows, is anything but accurate. Most of the people I know who are searching for jobs are highly motivated and actively striving to get back into the work force or go back to school. But still the image persists, and because of this fact, I have come up with a few helpful terms I like to use when people ask me what I do for a living. Because if my degree in journalism has taught me anything, it’s that a situation is only as bad as the words you use to describe it.
Helpful Euphemisms for the U-word:
1. Occupationally Challenged
2. In between jobs
3. Exploring new opportunities
4. In flux
6. Sans Travail (everything sounds so much better in French)
7. Living the dream
8. Working with an open schedule
9. Taking some “me-time”
10. Riding the pine
12. Feeling things out
Well that’s all I can think of for now. If you use any other phrases to get around the U-word lemme know and I’ll add them to the list. Happy hunting!
Related Listening: “The Employment Pages” [Live] – Death Cab For Cutie