Being unemployed means you’re free to spend your days as you wish – but it also means you could find yourself with a serious case of boredom when you find out how many hours you have free each day. Without the funds you’re used to having, you might think it’s tough to stay entertained. Start looking around, though, and you’ll probably find that your community has lots of fun activities; you just need to know where to find them.
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1. Visit the Library
With books, DVDs, audiobooks and other entertainment, the resources at the local library can be fun themselves – but most libraries offer even more than that. Libraries typically hold their own events featuring authors or other well-known public figures, as well as having a bulletin board where people post other local events. What’s more, the library is a good place to use the free Internet and find job resources to help you get off the unemployment line.
2. Join a Meetup Club
Community bulletin boards are one place to find things to do – but in the modern age, you can also find that information on a website. Check out the "Community" listings on Craigslist or the various groups that meet on Meetup for a nearly endless list of groups that meet to do everything from community quilting to hiking to learning Spanish.
3. Volunteer Your Time
Spending some time giving back to your community will give you something to do, help you meet people, and can even help you gain new skills that can help you in your job search. Not only that, but volunteering sometimes leads to paid jobs. Look for volunteer gigs at your local soup kitchen or get more adventurous and seek out opportunities with local youth cycling clubs, community garden clubs or other activities that get you outside and out into the world.
4. Visit a Local Campus
When’s the last time you checked out the activities going on at the local community college, or perused the offerings at a nearby college? In addition to offering higher education, those types of institutions also hold free events that are open not just to students but people in the community as well. That can be anything from lectures to musical events to art fairs.
5. Check Out Your Local Community Centers
As the name suggests, community centers are places for the community to gather. While not all activities are free, these centers – often publicly-owned – do have concerts, outdoor events and classes that are either free or very low-cost. Community centers are sometimes tied in with the local parks system – another great resource for finding free activities happening in your local parks.
6. Look at the Unemployment Office
Your local employment center can also be a resource for not just searching for jobs, but also for attending events that can help you advance your career. It might not sound like “entertainment”, but attending a workshop on improving your interviewing skills or a class on building a great résumé will give you a way to occupy your time as well as moving forward in your job search.
Being on the unemployment line is not an ideal situation, but it can be a great opportunity to expand your horizons and to learn something about your community that you didn’t know before. And who knows? The connections you make could even help you land a new job.