The worst part about being unemployed is not dealing with the daily pangs of self-loathing and regret. It’s having to explain to other people why someone as fabulous as you is incapable of getting hired.
Monday night was the break-fast after Yom Kippur – the day of atonement (and starving). It was also the night I met my boyfriend’s family for the first time.
Explaining what a freelance web producer does is a bit…wordy. As much as I would love to sound like a freeloading deadbeat to the people who raised my (employed) bf, I thought maybe it’d be best to come prepared with some answers. And so, I devised some fail-proof strategies.
1) Rely on the brand name.
“Oh I just graduated from Columbia in May and have been freelancing since. “
No older person will admit they have no idea what freelancing is. They will be too mesmerized by your Ivy League tassles to ask any follow-ups.
2) Lie about ambiguous future plans.
“I’m applying to law school. Man, those LSATs. Logic and derivatives…wild!”
Look overwhelmed, sigh, and they will believe you. This one might even be half-true. Because what struggling writer hasn’t toyed with the ludicrous idea of a stable job with benefits?
3) Pretend you are 15 and writing a fake letter to Oprah.
“I work for a non-profit. It’s insane – saving children’s lives on a daily basis. Those poor Ukranian refugees. You won’t believe how tough that can be on a person.”
Be sure to change the subject as soon as you’re done with your sob story. Your imagination will definitely fuck this up.
4) If all else fails, distract with an off-color joke.
“Well, the job market has been pretty tough, so I’ve been working as a prostitute on the side some weekends. I’m really lucky to be paying rent.”
There will be a silence so long and so awkward that after everybody lets out a lilting laugh, no one will dare ask you what you do again. They will be too shell-shocked wondering if you were actually joking or not. And it’s not nice to ask how much you charge anyway.