Is It Wrong To Go On Vacation When You're Unemployed?

vacation unemployed

I need to get away, just for a few days, close to the soothing sound and motion of the sea, inhaling salt air and unwinding. I have to restore my mental, emotional and spiritual inner resources. I'm running low.

So why does this idea create such a tangle of conflicting emotions in me? For one thing, part of me feels that spending money now on a vacation is a wasteful extravagance. ("You're unemployed," my practical boyfriend likes to remind me, as if I may have forgotten this fact.)

Another part of me feels guilty because I'm able to come up with the rent for a no-frills week at the shore when so many others can't. Even people with jobs find that money is tight these days. Who am I to take a few days off and rent a shore house?

Yet another part of me thinks it's horribly selfish to spend money on a summer break. These are tough economic times for so many people; instead of spending money on a getaway, I should be donating it to those in truly dire financial circumstances.

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I should be frugal and save the money I'd spend on a vacation. I could use it for groceries and electricity and unanticipated expenses. But spending it instead on a little escape won't doom me to homelessness down the road. And I realize that I'm fortunate that this is even an option for me, that I'm able to make this financial choice.

"Fortunate" is actually a terrible word to use, since the primary reason I still have something of a nest egg remaining after the 2008 market crash is my husband's premature death in 1996: He left our little son and me the proceeds of his life insurance and 401(k).

And for anyone who might be thinking that the government would be subsidizing my time-out from the job hunt, my unemployment insurance benefits ran out a long time ago. Personally, though, I wouldn't begrudge anyone who's collecting these benefits but desperately needs a little breather during the course of a lengthy job search.

To help me manage my inner conflict, I've been searching for the least expensive place I can find that would still allow me to find a little psychological respite from this grind.

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Of course, I understand that some people view unemployment as one big endless vacation. I suppose it does depend on what you do while you're unemployed, how much effort you're making to put an end to this state. I suspect, though, that people who think the unemployed are living "the good life" have never actually experienced chronic unemployment. It's pretty much the opposite of recharging, renewing, refreshing.

To me there's no question that long-term unemployment and the state of constant up-and-down stress it creates is grueling. I may not be "working," but I certainly feel drained. And I really don't see a distinction, in terms of taking care of my health, between things like getting enough sleep, eating healthfully and exercising, and taking some time off.

I do think that the therapeutic effects of some seaside relaxation would make me a better job seeker and candidate. Instead of being tired and worn out after doing this for 2½ years, I'd feel invigorated, rested and ready.

So what's the price of my mental health, of my ability to be strong and to face life's challenges -- of which unemployment is only one -- intelligently and effectively? If doing something that's good for my health means that I'm selfish, then I'll just have to accept that I'm selfish.

From experience, I know that endurance is critically important in a lengthy search for employment. What I don't know is how close I am to the end of this long-distance race.

This post originally ran on the Verona-Cedar Grove Patch. AOL Jobs is republishing it because we believe the author's day-to-day struggles with long-term unemployment will be of service to a national audience.


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61 Comments

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Jo Jo, sr

Go on vacation. Life is short. If you found out you had one week to live, would you go on vacation or look for a job. Just sayin'.

July 31 2012 at 5:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
drburnich

You can rationalize anything which you aptly demonstrate so why do a mea culpa in print? Are you seeking sympathy for your decision? As long as your decisions don't cost me money, why would I or anyone else care. Move on.

July 28 2012 at 5:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
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July 28 2012 at 12:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dopeyjo40

Go on vacation. Its not anyone else's business. There are consequences for everything that we do. Just be ready for them.

July 26 2012 at 6:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Freedom

I am working a part time job now. I was making more money WHEN I got laid-off from my last job and was on unemployment. Though it is not all bad. I do not have to pay the high fees for the college degree I am trying to get now. Most of the fees get waivered. I can not take a vaction. I would not get paid. I could not afford it. I have lived in America all my life. In my 36 years in it I have thought it is the strangest country. Especially being raised around law eforcement. After someone ran over her baby repeatedly, her excuse P.M.S., the court sentenced her to outpatient therpy. But, I think the greatest thing we forget in this country is freedom. Live and let live. Us mildly mentally disabilied people with only high school diplomas that can only find low paying jobs know the lesson of live and let live well. Am I the only one who can believe, "The land of the free and the home of the brave." If the vaction was the right thing to do than good. If not I am sure it will be a future reget. But, that is the way we live regret after regret. Accomplishment after accomplishment. Good luck to all and may God bless America.

July 26 2012 at 2:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
fourrubies

After years of getting out of bed at the crack of 10, having all day to do whatever you wish with no financial worries, you certainly must need a vacation. Think of how relaxing it will be to get out of bed at 10 and doing what you want all day. Then you can return home, feeling refreshed to get out of bed at 10 o'clock every morning, doing whatever you wish for the rest of the day, and look forward to your next vacation when you can get out of bed at 10:00 every morning....

July 25 2012 at 4:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bucktownboy

If you saved money, and that money isn't necessary for your essentials, why not take a trip and relax. You are too worried what others think about your situation or this is a self pity trip to show others 'you really care".

July 25 2012 at 3:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mike

That is what they really did. Your permanent vacation is the ultimate result of non being fired. When you use words that are not temporary it seems that it was meant to say that.

July 25 2012 at 2:57 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
thegrrrr8est

What a pathologically self-absorbed "problem". If you've got the money and won't need it to live on, go. If not, don't be a tool.

First world problems. Pfffft.

July 25 2012 at 1:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brett

I hate to say this, but if you feel emotionally and mentally drained after a day of not working, you have a serious character issue. I'm coming to terms with paying taxes to support you, but don't turn around and start telling us how hard your life is.

July 25 2012 at 1:04 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to Brett's comment

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