1. First things first, realize you were not friends with any of your coworkers . Not even the girl who trained you your first six months with the company. Or the person in HR whose wedding you went to. Don’t plan on ever seeing those guys again. (Once you get over this surprisingly not painful realization, gloat accordingly that you are no longer stuck under the oppressive regime of your manic boss who does not let the entire office use post its. Or colored paperclips.)
2. Come to terms with your coffee addiction. What you originally dubbed as “fitting in with office subculture” is now a legitimate problem that needs to be addressed. Take a hint from the fact that your eyes just wont stay open without your morning cup, even though you wake up at 10am now. Buy a french press.
3. Schedule a doctor/dentist appointment STAT. Chances are your benefits are prepaid and don’t run out until the end of the month. This could be your last teeth cleaning for awhile, so TAKE ADVANTAGE.
4. Defer your student loans!! Accrue compounded interest, or whatever it’s called, and think about your money problems later! EFF THE SYSTEM!! Except really, do this, it’s one the easiest ways to save money now that, well, you have none.
5. Get over the fact that you have been working really really (really) hard at having your shit together and looking like you are SO MUCH BETTER AT LIFE than your fellow 20-somethings. Apply for unemployment. Whatever, mooching off the government just got real.
6. Sit in a coffee shop for hours DURING THE DAY. Relish the fact that you are not on your lunch break and do not have to go back to your desk in twenty seven minutes. Breath.
7. Also, now is your chance to ask out that barista you have had your eye on. Now that you are not a regular at his coffee shop, you don’t have to see him at 8am the next morning if things go badly/get awkward/he says no.
8. Stay up till 4am reading. Mess with your sleep schedule. This will (hopefully) be your only second chance at summer vacation FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE until retirement, when you will be too old to stay up late anyway. Relish the simple fact that no one, not anyone, ANYWHERE, absolutely needs you to be somewhere at a specific time in the morning.
9. Apply for food stamps. (See #5…you’re taking the system for all it’s worth!!) As my (successful) friend put it, people like us are the perfect candidates for unemployment and food stamps, because we WILL eventually get jobs again, which becomes a positive statistic for the president showing that assistance programs are working or something. So if he says it’s okay….I’m going for it.
10. Keep up the habit of going to the gym that you acquired when you realized you had enough money for not only a gym membership, but a personal trainer. Obvi ditch the trainer, but running on that treadmill really did make you a MUCH saner (and hotter!!) person.
11. Realize that this is your CHANCE. You only had that corporate job because you didn’t have options. But now that you are on unemployment and food stamps, options are exactly what you have. Take a personality test. Assess what you’re good at. Call twenty people who have the occupations you were wishing you had while you had your crappy desk job. Buy them a cup of coffee and seduce them into telling you all their secrets. Network.
12. After a few weeks of complete utter joy and freedom, remember that even though unemployment FEELS a lot like college, you are not back in college. Unfortunately you DO need to get another job. Hopefully this time it will be a better job, one that you actually like, but remember this season should not last forever. Just don’t go off the deep end.
13. And lastly, remember that regardless of what your employer said to you when you were fired, you are still awesome. Don’t be an idiot, you need to learn from your mistakes, but don’t let the menacing voices that tell you what a failure you are get to you. These are your twenties, this is the stuff that makes you stronger if you let it. Don’t let anything, EVER, be a wasted experience. Be happy with who you are, how far you’ve come, and everything you have left to accomplish.