Making the most of your redundancy

by richardhutton

Being redundant

Not all of your time is going to be spent in seclusion, seeking employment. This is called being ‘work-shy’, as others will helpfully inform you intermittently. In fact, unemployment tends to leave one with an abundance of time, usually spent very much alone. So how can you use your free-time constructively?


There is no centre of wisdom more amenable to the unemployed than the common Library: free books, cheap hire of films and music, and peaceful, silent, learned company. You can use your abundant personal liberty to cultivate an appreciation of the fine arts. If you’ve never done this before, it can be an enriching experience: peace, quiet and solitude – hours spent studiously enjoying literature that has inspired and uplifted the human spirit from ancient times unto the present.

Of course, these were written and produced by people who had actually achieved something worthwhile in life. Their posterity has proven enduring; people’s love of them everlasting. Can the same be said of you? Is it a likelihood? Perhaps a shared descent into poverty and madness? The crushing loneliness evident in diaries; the acrimony in letters. The endless, degrading, belittlements; or – equally demeaning – the quarter-hearted praise from pretentious critics making handsome livings picking over peoples’ memory and efforts in the fashion of a short-sighted looter pillaging the corpse of a well-dressed child. Admittedly, the uplifting of the human spirit – as it leaps from a high bridge – is not an ideal pursuit during redundancy.

Time on your hands

One day, you may find yourself pondering something along the lines of ‘Have you ever noticed how seldom other people blink? Is it possible for everyone on the planet to blink at the same time? What sound would it make? Would it affect the atmosphere and create a hurricane?’

At times like this, reading food criticism suddenly begins to seem like a worthwhile pursuit (as opposed to trying the food yourself, of course); and writing it like a worthy profession (as opposed to doing something more useful and less obnoxious). But don’t sink to such a level. Instead, use your time constructively to boost your employability. Adult education courses are a good starting place: painting for beginners, for instance, is a clear route into…well, you‘ll have to use your imagination. There are simply too many options to list here.

You may wish to enhance your transferable skills, yet lack motivation – cynicism, bitterness, self-righteousness, and generic resentment, are all common features of those who have given up hope. Blogs are a perfect outlet for such tendencies. You can:

– Berate a celebrity’s misdeeds.
– Froth at a harmlessly anodyne commentary.
– Write long-winded panegyrics regarding the minutiae of your daily life (see ‘On thin ice’ elsewhere).
– Make a case against a prominent intellectual based on something they may not have actually said.
– Anonymously insult somebody stricken with terminal cancer.
– Bemoan Britain’s ‘sleep-walk into communism’ whenever something untoward occurs – like a heavy snow-fall, for instance (Communism leaves slender foot-prints, let it be noted).

And much more besides. Alternatively, for those of a more masochistic bearing, if you wish to torture yourself constructively, read a thread from start to finish. This is a fine antidote to any lingering optimism and false hope about the human condition and the nature of society (for those of a sadistic leaning see ‘letters/celebrities’ elsewhere).