What Is Funemployment?

The term funemployment refers to a period of time when individuals decide to enjoy the free time that comes with being unemployed. The term was coined during the Great Recession between 2007 and 2009. The term is used to describe those who lost their jobs and were choosing to use their newfound freedom to pursue leisure activities such as traveling, going to the beach, and being physically active until they find a new job.

Key Takeaways

  • Funemployment is a period of time when individuals decide to enjoy the free time that comes with being unemployed until they find a new job.
  • The term was developed during the Great Recession.
  • People who are funemployed tend to take part in leisure activities such as traveling, working out, or socializing.
  • The funemployed don't worry about being jobless, with most relying heavily on savings to live.

Understanding Funemployment

Funemployment is a relatively new term that was developed following the financial crisis. It is a compound word made up of the terms fun and unemployment. As such, it's a period of unemployment people use to have fun. Put simply, it describes the situation of someone who doesn't have a job and still enjoys their time off. People who become funemployed may do so by choice or may decide to accept their circumstances when they are laid off or fired from their jobs.

Rather than actively looking for work, the funemployed make use of their free time in other ways. For instance, they may partake in leisure activities such as traveling, working out, socializing, and just having a good time. Some may decide to do fun, unpaid work such as volunteering in their community. The funemployed generally continue with their leisure activities until they find a new job.

People who describe their joblessness as funemployment are typically younger individuals with fewer financial responsibilities. They may also be people with enough accumulated savings to enjoy the extra time their unemployment affords them. Funemployed people often point out that finding a new job can be a long and stressful process — especially during tough economic times — so, instead of spending their days worrying about their future, they take advantage of the chance to do things they normally wouldn't be able to do if they were employed.

As mentioned above, most people who are funemployed generally rely on their savings to fuel their leisure activities and travel. And although it may be a fun period of time, people who become voluntarily funemployed aren’t entitled to collect unemployment benefits unless they resigned from their job for a valid reason, such as unsafe work conditions, discrimination, or harassment.

If you're funemployed by choice and want to collect unemployment benefits, your resignation must have been for a valid reason such as unsafe work conditions, discrimination, or harassment.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Funemployment


A period of funemployment can be a very positive time for individuals. Not only does it help ameliorate their lifestyles, but it can also help them gain some valuable perspective on their career.

Lifestyle: Funemployment provides individuals with uninterrupted time to pursue their interests and passions. For example, a philanthropist may decide to volunteer for their favorite charity or sit on the board of a nonprofit organization (NPO) that gives back to the community. Parents may use funemployment to create a lifestyle that allows them to spend more time with their children.

Career Perspective: Funemployment gives individuals time to assess their career aspirations. For instance, a person may decide they’re better suited to a different industry and opt to make a career change. After realizing the flexibility that funemployment provides, an individual may decide they want a job that allows them to manage how many hours they work, such as an independent contractor or freelancer.


But there are certainly pitfalls to taking in a period of funemployment, especially when it comes to someone's financial standing. And it may be difficult to explain that period of absence from the working world.

Financial: Funemployment may lead to financial hardship if an individual has no other source of income. The lack of a consistent paycheck may limit the length of time a person can stay funemployed, as bills, rent, and mortgage payments mount.

Reentering Workforce: Periods of long funemployment might be difficult to explain to future employers, who want to see a history of steady employment. For example, a person who has been funemployed for several years might have to explain how they spent that time when interviewing for a job. Individuals who hold industry licenses and certifications may not be able to renew these while funemployed, making it difficult to re-enter the workforce.