One of the good things about being unemployed is that you have some time to do things that you wouldn’t normally be able to do if you had to work every day. One is shopping in the middle of the day or week without the after-five after-work crowds. It's a small pleasure, but nice to be able to run to the post office or bank without the long lines or breezing through the Sam’s Club or Costco checkout before the milk passed its expiration date.
Your job search may only last a few weeks. With all the competition, getting a job is a little like buying a ticket for the lottery. There are a lot of others in the game, and you never know if your number is going to come up. Despite the overwhelming odds against winning, it’s amazing how many people still buy those tickets every week. For most, it’s the excitement of possibility—someone has to win. Why not me?
A long job search can be boring, so to add some excitement, here are some fun things to consider while you’re sending out resumes and networking. It will also give you something fun to daydream about in those down times.
1. Enter contests. There are thousands of free contests to enter online. As I’m writing this blog, HGTV.com will give away it’s 2012 Dream Home in nine more days. Go to contests.about.com to learn how you can win a Disney cruise or $1000 worth of groceries from the California Dried Plum Board. A friend of mine kept her spirits up during her job search by entering contests and won a children’s book and a blender. Nothing to retire on, but a little fun and excitement along the way.
2. Become a game show contestant. Send off for some free tickets to The Price is Right and you may hear, “(your name), Come on Down!” Even if you don’t go, it’s fun to hold the tickets in your hand and fantasize about hearing the bells ring when you get the bid right and are on your way to Bali or drive away in a new car. If you just want some diversion, there are many TV shows around the country that have live studio audiences. Get caught up in the excitement, laugh and enjoy the show.
3. Become a Mystery Shopper. There are companies that will pay a fee for you to eat at restaurants, go to movies, shop at retail stores, or be hotel guest in exchange for a report on their customer service. There are some scams out there, but one I have used is http://www.mysteryshopperprogram.com/. You have to be approved, and there are strict guidelines for reporting, but it can be a nice way to sample some restaurants or go to the movies for free.
4. Go to an amusement park for the day. I’m not one to ride the upside-down, 120-mile-per-hour rollercoaster, but you can lose yourself and your cares for a nominal price and have fun, too. A trip to Six Flags, Disney World or Universal Studios is a good diversion from job searching and a way to give the family a lift.
5. Buy a lottery ticket. BIG DISCLAIMER!! No, I’m not advocating using your unemployment check for lottery tickets instead of groceries or paying the light bill. I occasionally buy a $2 scratch-off ticket and have won, on occasion, the cost of the ticket and more. And who knows, you just might be the lucky winner of the $3,000 or $1,000,000 payoff. Then your only dilemma would be how use all the free time you’ll have since you don’t need a job anymore.
What have you done to take a break from the job search stress? Share your fun ideas in the Comments below.