#YOLOing Through My Layoff

About a month ago, I was laid off from the only job I’ve ever loved. Okay, liked. We’re still talking about work and, as my mom likes to say, there’s a reason it’s called work and not fun. Still, I was very comfortable spending forty hours of my life in it. Since it involved writing, I could finally justify the decade I had spent pursuing literary degrees with specialties in post-9/11 pop culture. My team was entirely comprised of women, which meant that we had an abundance of sweets and moisturizing creams. I had my own office, with a door that closed and everything, so I only had to contend with the occasional intrusion of an unwanted squirrel through my window. I could focus on my tasks in peace. I was peak adulting, what with my sleek shoes, big girl Everlane bag, and a job title stuffed with jargon.

But all good things must come to an end — and, when I lost my job, I also lost all of the common sense that should have been bestowed upon me in these 30-plus years of life. Experts suggest you create an emergency budget, file for unemployment, call your creditors, figure out health insurance and, above all else, keep your 401(k) funds intact. Even when there’s so much money in that 401(k). Just sitting there. You may be tempted to follow such tried-and-true recommendations, but remember that the vast majority of them are being written by suits who are dead-set on becoming thought leaders or some other made-up professional category that’s popped up in the last nanosecond. Can you really trust them?

I, my friends, have chosen another path. I’ve opted to DISRUPT good financial advice! Everything I’ve read about Silicon Valley leads me to believe that using that word is enough to get a million dollars in funding. While I wait for that deposit to come through, I am committed to following the Tao of YOLO, where any concern for the future has been replaced by a persistent desire to blow off all my funds. Preferably now, while I’m still somewhat solvent. In the most extravagant way possible.

These are the Top 5 Terrible Money Mistakes I’m making post-layoff to fill the void in my professional heart — and you can too! But maybe don’t:

1. Cutting all unnecessary streaming services and then adding them back on when I realize I finally have the time to watch all thirteen seasons of Real Housewives of Wherever. Listen, the only way I can look for another job is if I have a solid procrastination plan in place. Plus, my Netflix queue is the cyber equivalent of my New Yorker subscription: it multiplies in my sleep and the only chance I have of completing it is if I devote every extra ounce of my vitality to its consumption. It’s important to have goals in this period of transition.

2. Instead of going out, I plan on having fun on a budget. Even if that fun involves the purchase of truffle oil and at least five bottles of California Cab. I thought eating at home was supposed to be cheaper? I’ll ponder that mystery over this tub of French pâté.

3. Job loss is considered one of the top 10 most stressful life events, after the death of a loved one and Floridian electoral recounts. Like 80 percent of my Instagram feed, I’m going to conveniently ignore both my stress and my finances so I can justify my hot stone massage habit. Add on to that the monthly waxing services I refuse to eliminate, the occasional relaxing mani-pedi, and those jeans I bought because they were on sale. They could technically be considered an exercise in frugality.

4. It’s important to lean on your family and friends. That’s why I purchased expensive plane tickets to Sweden for the holidays. I want to experience my parents’ disappointment in the flesh, and they just happen to live in one of the most expensive regions in the entire world. My commitment to Scandinavian socialism is waning in 3…2…

5. The key to success is to network, network, network! My schedule has been packed with informational interviews in bougie bars, where I go in with the intention of paying $16 for an avocado martini but end up getting my tab covered out of pity. Oh wait, that’s actually a good money move. Milk that guilt trip for what it’s worth.

I’m sure there will come a time where I will pull myself up by my overpriced Anthropologie-sourced bootstraps and turn to a life of thrift; where I will shun my Whole Foods purchases for the delights of coupons and store brands. I will cut that HBO Go subscription and start using a friend-of-a-friend’s code like a normal person, and bully my boyfriend into a foot rub instead of enthusiastically paying someone to deal with my calluses. On the other hand, I think we’re about ten years away from a complete environmental meltdown, if nukes for funsies don’t kill us first. Maybe this spending frenzy is less irresponsible than it seems. Maybe it is a sign of a nihilistic society crashing down into a weary soul, tired of following a path that promises financial stability and a modicum of satisfaction only to find it thwarted at every turn.

Or maybe I should really start taking to heart what all those suits say and stay within my budget already.

Ines Bellina is a freelance writer, storyteller, and glutton extraordinaire. When she’s not working on her YA novel, she’s eating her way around the world at @saltadomag.

Photo by Charles Deluvio 🇵🇭🇨🇦 (cropped) on Unsplash.

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