Putting the "log" back in Blog

Lessons From An Unemployed Woodworker

Posted on February 26th, by Andy Brownell in Around the shop. No Comments

Brownell Furniture

Today is officially my last day of being unemployed. I start a new position on Monday, as the VP of Brand Studio for Scripp’s Newsy division. It’s an exciting opportunity to do something new and different, outside of the agency world that I’ve been in for the last 19 years.

My unemployment has been relatively short (just 2 months), and I feel extremely fortunate to be going back to work so soon. I can only imagine how difficult it can be for people who spend a year or more looking for work. That being said, I’ve spent a good deal of time alone in my basement workshop, you guessed it, building furniture. During that time, I’ve had time to do things I wouldn’t normally have, as well as be a bit more introspective. So in no particular order, here’s what I’ve taken away from this two-month experience.

  • Woodworking has kept me sane over the last 60 days. If I didn’t have a hobby, I probably would have pulled my hair out.
  • Having 30+ hours a week to dedicate towards furniture making can be extremely productive, I’ve built almost more in two months than I do in a full year.
  • I really looked forward to having my wife come home from work, to have someone to talk to in the afternoons (she is a 1/2 day pre-school teacher).
  • I’ve been lucky to have an incredibly supporting wife, family, friends, neighbors, former co-workers and clients during this experience.
  • Being home when my kids come back from school has given me more time to connect with them, as well as experience first-hand the insanity of after-school activities.
  • Dogs rule. My dog Roscoe has been an amazing, warm and loving companion throughout this experience. I now know first-hand their positive, therapeutic effect on people. He’s not going to know what hit him when the house is empty come Monday morning.
  • Looking for a job and networking can only fill so many hours in the day, boredom can set in very early.
  • I’ve put on a few pounds, having never exercised as much as I had originally planned.
  • I missed the routine of a day job with a drive downtown.
  • Woodworking, or doing just about anything by yourself for 8 hours a day can get lonely, even for an introvert.
  • I definitely do not want to go into the furniture making business as my full-time occupation. If income were no issue, I think it would start to get old. I’d probably lose interest.
  • You can still learn a great deal while being unemployed, I listened to over 150 hours of Audible books and podcast content. Check out “The Dead Hand”, by David E. Hoffman, my favorite from the past two months. It tells a frighteningly true story about the Cold War, WMD work and it’s legacy and danger left behind in Russia. (Recommended by Dan Carlin)
  • I’m really looking forward to getting out of my basement and back to work downtown, to collaborate and be around smart people (sorry Roscoe).

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