Tuesday, July 14, 2009

If being unemployed is a short-term blip, I’m lucky it’s happened in July, rather than in the depths of Irish winter. Our recent heatwave has been perfect for lazy days in the park and lolling about town while others have had to endure sticky afternoons at their desks.

It’s many years since I enjoyed the perks of a summer off. As a child and teenager I spent summer roaming the streets of Skerries, cursing the town for its lack of excitement, not yet realising how lucky I was to grow up there.

During school holidays we got to experience endless hours of hanging around with friends, funded by pocket money or part-time work. My jobs of choice were babysitting and, later, waitressing, earning just enough to line my pockets for trips to town or to rent videos on drizzly summer evenings.

My days now are strangely reminiscent of these times, listlessly attempting to fill my afternoons with frugal but fun activities. I have now become queen of the coffee date, wandering around waiting for excitement, forced to be creative with my dwindling finances.

Plenty of friends are currently free for meeting as well. One of the lads is painting a fence as a favour, while another is enjoying the heady weather, his only interruption being some pizza delivery work.

Nice to spend time together but still the thrill of being free loses its appeal when it becomes the norm and most of us long for the return to a challenging routine and work that will afford us the money to finance our free time.

The difference is we aren't teenagers any more and my friends with the part-time jobs aren't just using their positions to fund some seasonal fun. The fence painter is an engineer and pizza boy has a degree in aerospace physics.

My coffee companions are an ever-growing group of experienced and eager, yet currently unemployable, professionals. And the little money that any of them has scraped together is not for ice-cream or day trips … it's for rent and bills. There is a heavy cloud looming over their otherwise stress free summers.

As teenagers it is typical to moan about the summer holidays, the common chorus of complaint being that there is 'nothing to do' and 'nowhere to go'. But when September came we always returned to school wishing for more time off.

Hopefully my friends and I, will have somewhere to go this September, only, unlike the kids currently on break, we won't be moaning about getting back into a routine.


  1. so do you guys get unemployment in Dublin? In the states we get 1 year of 80% of your salary.. not bad right?! a year of R&R... :)

  2. yeah the average is €200 a week, which is about 250 dollars, totally enough to live in if you are living at home and not renting!