A Blogger's 'Unemploymentality'

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We've been asking laid-off and otherwise unemployed listeners to write in an tell us their tales for a series called "Help Wanted." Senior producer Steve Proffitt profiles one such listener who created a funny blog about his experience called "Unemploymentality."

ALEX COHEN, host:

Back now with Day to Day. We've been asking our listeners who've lost jobs in this down economy to write in and tell us their stories. And we've been sharing those stories on the air in a series we call Help Wanted. Here with another episode about the laid-off, the downsized, and the uninstalled is our senior producer, Steve Proffitt.

STEVE PROFFITT: John Henion was working as an editor and producer for a television company in San Francisco when he got laid off last year. He wanted to chronicle the change in mindset that comes with losing your job. So he and a friend started a website, called Unemploymentality.com. John Henion says when you're out of a job, everything sort of starts to take on a new tone and a new meaning.

Mr. JOHN HENION (Founder, Unemploymentality.com): You know, when I used to get the Sunday paper, and I would get the coupons, I'd say trash, and this stuff shouldn't be even coming. Now, I'm like, ooh, look at all these savings. (Laughing) So that's sort of the unemploymentality.

PROFFITT: OK. There's a little noise there. Where are you?

Mr. HENION: Yeah. It just got really loud. I had to sell on my phone on Craigslist, so I'm down at a coffee shop.

PROFFITT: How much did you get for the phone?

Mr. HENION: $15.

PROFFITT: $15?

Mr. HENION: Yeah. It paid for dog food.

PROFFITT: Yeah, yeah.

(Soundbite of laughter)

PROFFITT: John's blog is filled with funny posts. He notes, for instance, when you're unemployed, everyone you see seems to be unemployed as well, like, say, old people or kids. The blog has offered advice for handling awkward questions from friends about your working status, and it warns of distractions. For instance, Unemplomentality.com points out that job fairs aren't so great for actually finding work, but they are excellent places to meet eligible members of the opposite sex. Commiserate with attractive people, then offer to take their resume. Who knows? I might be able to help you.

Mr. HENION: You go to a job fair, you'd come out with like 10, 15 resumes, and they all have their contact information and a list of their personal interests? I mean, come on.

PROFFITT: That, of course, is hypothetical since John is happily attached, and he's been trying very hard actually to find a job. He sent out scores of resumes, but so far no interviews. Still, the Web site that he started on a lark might end up paying some of his bills.

Mr. HENION: We got approached by a literary agent, and we're working on a proposal for a book based on the unemploymentality and the things we write about on the blog. Sort of like a survival guide for the unemployed.

PROFFITT: As you may know, John, some of us, well, really, actually all of us here at Day to Day are going to soon be pretty deep into the unemploymentality.

Mr. HENION: I know. I think you guys should come work for us. We can't pay you anything.

PROFFITT: Oh, well, thank you for that.

(Soundbite of laughter)

PROFFITT: I was just wondering maybe if you might have any advice for us or for our listeners who are just now at the cusp of the unemploymentality.

Mr. HENION: I would say, make really nice breakfasts. I mean, breakfast is one of the most underappreciated meals in the world. And when you're working, what do you have for breakfast, Steven?

PROFFITT: Oh, you know, maybe I have a croissant that the little French lady brings, or, you know, sometimes, frankly, coffee.

Mr. HENION: Yeah. So the first day you wake after you've been laid off? Go to the market, get nice Fresh ingredients, and make yourself just the biggest bangingess breakfast you could ever imagine. Get a real paper. Read it, and enjoy yourself, you know? Because the reality is you can send out a cover letter at 10:00 PM the same way you can at 10:00 AM. So you might as well enjoy it.

PROFFITT: Advice from listener John Henion, co-creator of the Web site Unemploymentality.com and one of the 11.6 million Americans out of work this winter. If you have an unemployment tale, tell us about it. Send an email to daydreaming@npr.org and put Help Wanted in the subject. Steve Proffitt, NPR News.

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