written by: Amber Danku
Funemployment! I’ve used the term multiple times sarcastically while snapchatting the beer I had at lunch on a Wednesday to my friends who were sitting at their jobs and not responding back. This past summer had been the first time I’ve been unemployed since I was 15 and though it was tough, I am also thankful for it- but not just because I needed a break.
My graduate school experience for me just felt like a continuation of how my life usually goes: no time for anything, but still taking on assignments, social events, research, more jobs, etc. So when it ended, I felt a little Ricky Bobby…. “I’m not sure what to do with my hands”. I knew how long my job search might take after graduate school. I knew it was coming, and I put in some hard work during interviews and job applications, but there was a lot of downtime. So one day, one of my friends from high school with whom I had recently reconnected suggested that since I used to march in high school, I should join the Bushwackers Drum and Bugle Corps-basically a summer intensive marching band for all ages that rehearses and competes on weekends. Cool. Yes. I love it. Sign me up.
So I joined, and immediately on the first day I felt like the rest of the world melted away. That’s a pretty common feeling within the drum corps world apparently, and something I’m incredibly grateful for. It was not because I wanted to get away from my everyday life, but because it made me become just me, without any kind of forced identity for a moment. I could just relax and focus on the music and the counts and formations. It doesn’t matter what age you are, or where in the world you come from, what your political viewpoints are, what kind of baggage you’re carrying, or what job you have. During rehearsals, you aren’t defined by anything other than how you are working together with the rest of the group to create something that looks and sounds beautiful. And this summer we created something very beautiful.
My “funemployment” summer included drum corps, but the important thing to note here is that most of the rest of the members were also working full time. They marched because of the incredible music they got to make, the dancing and spinning they got to do, and to have an experience they could not get anywhere else. They marched because they had fun, and that’s the bottom line.
This summer, I felt like a person, and I felt like just me again instead of someone who was attached to their job and completely and only defined by it, which is an easy pocket to slip into when you are someone who also loves their career as much as I do. I did something simply because it was my fun. I decided to do it not for any kind of addition to my resume or portfolio, or to show off (see: connect) to other professionals in my network. There’s a good part of the world filled with people who become their jobs, and maybe that’s a good thing but maybe it’s also a bad thing. Our personalities and attitudes and opinions are malleable and there are things that are going to bend or shape them, usually what you repeatedly do. So if you constantly are working overtime and taking on more responsibilities, and coming home and all of your social events revolve around work… who are you? Would you remember who you really were outside your job if you got fired the next day?
If you’re passionate about what you do, do it. But do something else too. Remember what your fun is.