The perks of being unemployed

These past months I have been a de facto taitai as I quit my previous job in mid July. Now that I just found a new job and will be resuming my professional life starting next Monday, it is the perfect time to analyze the time I’ve enjoyed being unemployed.

Let’s first clarify: I have enjoyed my joblessness because it is a decision I took freely and voluntarily. I had been doing the same job for 3.5 years and I needed a change, but first I wanted to have some time off, as I had savings to last for several months.

So, what are the advantages of being unemployed?

– You don’t have time to feel bored

During these months, many people have asked me if I was not bored of being at home all day doing nothing. Doing nothing? I haven’t been busier in my life. Every day I wouldn’t have a moment of rest: walking the dog, cleaning the apartment, studying my online course, going to the market, cooking, reading, writing for my two blogs… In the summer I was also going to the swimming pool. So, no, I wasn’t bored. I just don’t understand how I did all these things when I had a job! Did I have time for everything? Well, when I’m working I don’t cook, read, clean and go shopping that often.

You also have time to further explore your city and find weird places, like this military-style kindergarten!

You also have time to further explore your city and find weird places, like this military-style kindergarten!

– You can eat in your favourite restaurants without queuing for an hour

In China, popular restaurants are very crowded in the evening and during the weekends. In the most popular/best ones it is almost impossible to get a table if you don’t queue for an hour. One of my favourite restaurants is called 外婆家 (Grandma’s) and before being unemployed I had only been there twice: once, on a Monday that we didn’t work because electricity was to be cut in our street, and one evening I went with my colleagues (and we had to wait for 30 minutes). Grandma’s is very popular because their food is delicious and inexpensive. I have been there several times in the last months! Their 茶香鸡 (“tea fragrance chicken”) is to die for and the whole chicken is just 45 RMB.

– You can go shopping and avoid the crowds

And, in the same way as above, if you need to buy some clothes and go to the mall on a weekend, it can be a real nightmare. The shops are crowded, there are long lines for the fitting rooms and cashiers… Roaming around an almost empty mall is something I hadn’t experienced before in China!

– You discover there is life in the streets during the weekdays

I had never walked around my neighbourhood on a Tuesday morning before. And I found out it is more alive than I thought! When lunch time is approaching, small carts offering snacks, noodles, Chinese crepes and other fast foods park beside the door of office buildings and wait for the hungry employees to come down! The food court in the nearest mall is also full of people during lunch time. There is also more people on the streets that I had thought, and the district is definitely more alive than in the evenings.

I don't have any pictures of my neighbourhood, but one Thursday morning I went to Pingjiang Rd and this is what I saw: lots of couples taking their pre-wedding pictures!

I don’t have any pictures of my neighbourhood, but one Thursday morning I went to Pingjiang Rd and this is what I saw: lots of couples taking their pre-wedding pictures!

– You can take your dog for a bath without booking a time

We used to take Nico to the pet store for her biweekly bath on Saturdays, when everybody else took their dogs and they had to wait in cages for their turn. As I had free time during the week, I started taking her on Tuesdays. We wouldn’t need to wait and on the way to the pet store we would befriend the security guards in the banks and office buildings. They all know us by now!

Nico and me

A picture in which Nico and I both look good? Sorry, not possible.

 

– You can finish your tasks during the day and enjoy the evening with your partner

C. has been working all this time, and when we both worked, in the evenings we still needed to do some things (study, write, buy groceries, etc). But all those things were already done by the evening when I was not working, so we would watch a movie or a series together.

 

My unemployed life will finish on Monday! It has been a great time in which I’ve had a lot of time for myself, but I am very excited to start working in my new company. And… (drum roll) I will be moving to Shanghai as I will be working right across Jing An Temple! But I will come back to Suzhou on the weekends, as C. and Nico are staying here and we have even more exciting news that I will share in due time!

My new neighbourhood!

My new neighbourhood!

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