An Uncomfortable Question About Work

24 04 2010

I had an uncomfortable experience a few days ago. I had gone into the city for an early afternoon errand and was walking home from the subway around 3 PM when I ran into an old friend from the neighborhood. He has always been in and out of work, and while he’s recently cleaned up his life a bit, I don’t think he’s working at the moment.

We spent a minute on a quick hello and catch-up, and then the inevitable came: “How’s work?”

I don’t think he ever really knew what we used to do, and he certainly didn’t know what we were up to now.

So what do I respond? “Oh, Amy and I quit our jobs recently.” Uh… no. I ended up committing a lie of omission and said that I “wasn’t working now.” On the bright side, that ended the ‘work’ conversation pretty quickly with a mumbled “Oh, sorry,” but on the other hand the whole topic felt pretty uncomfortable. We continued to discuss other topics, and parted ways.

I guess it partly ties back to what we wrote about in the FAQ. About how our planning would have left us ready in any economy, but how the current economic climate makes it a bit weird to tell people that we recently quit our objectively good jobs. C’est la vie.

*Amy’s suggested response (after the fact) was “We’re taking some time off for a bit.” It works, but just by ‘smallening’ the problem – it’s still omitting the meat.

posted by jayhorowitz

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2 responses

26 04 2010
Simple in France

We have lived through similar periods. I’ve told people I’m temporarily retired. They don’t usually ask many more questions, but smile a bit.

Is it really weird to take time off while you’re young? I’m not so sure. Let people ask their questions. They might look uncomfortable because they’re afraid of upsetting you. Some people, I think, would honestly freak out without work. I actually enjoy it so much, I’d have no problems doing it permanently ๐Ÿ˜‰

26 04 2010
jayhorowitz

I’d love to have that comfort telling people, but I think some people might freak out over the idea because to them ‘life without work’ translates to ‘not paying the bills’…

I don’t know, maybe I’ll start trying your suggestion. I’ll let you know what happens. ๐Ÿ™‚

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