I'm Unemployed-Not A Slacker

The art of looking busy when you’re out of work.

by Virginia Lanigan • More.com Member { View Profile }
Photograph: Photo by Colleen Duffley

Next month, I’m signed up to take a conversational Spanish class from a charming local native-speaker. Lucy will teach us the sort of common vocabulary and grammar that will allow us to confidently order Hispanic food and drink in restaurants, speak with shopkeepers and hoteliers when touring, and casually converse with Latin American friends and neighbors. Translation: “I’m studying Spanish.”  I find WAYDN statements often flourish with a “less is more” approach; my brevity in this instance somehow conveys a depth and seriousness to my bilingual pursuits. The listener is free to imagine me using my newly gained fluency to, say, secure a position as Deputy Communications Director for the Consul General of Uruguay.  Rather than what is probably much closer to my eventual skill level (and aspiration): “Un Mojito, por favor. No seltzer, menta extra.”

I’ve never been good at tooting my own horn (in my Irish Catholic family, modesty was our watchword). My guess is that sharpening my WAYDN skills will serve me well even when I rejoin the ranks of the working folk. You’ve just spent four minutes reading a personal essay by a grateful, possibly self-deluded, unemployed female publishing executive. Or, if you prefer, you’ve “been investigating the psychosocial repercussions of the recent global downturn on the middle classes through analysis of first-person narrative.”

For all your hard work, I think you deserve un mojito especial.

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