You know all those millions of unemployed people you assumed were searching for a new job after getting laid off? Yeah, they’re not looking. They are, however, pretending to look for a job because 1) they want to save face for strangers and colleagues and 2) they are required by law to say they’re looking for a job in order to collect unemployment benefits. It’s tough walking the fine line between wanting to appear to be doing everything possible to get back in the work force and rubbing it in to those still employed about how great it is to be paid to do nothing and “not be in a rush” to get back to work. The last thing an unemployed person would want to do is get too careless about expressing disdain for job searching lest someone from the unemployment office find out and revoke those glorious checks.
So while the unemployed busy themselves by sending out emails to friends cajoling them to ditch work for a day to experience a taste of unemployment, they are making sure to cover themselves by saying they are “job searching” – always in quotes, always in jest, of course. The apathy towards job searching could be due to the dire job market, and the worldwide hiring freezes, but they wouldn’t know it until they tried, and they’re not even bothering to try. It’s much easier to pretend and agree “Yes, no one is hiring, it’s so hard to get a job” than it is to take time out of sleeping and doing nothing productive to scan for undesirable jobs. Really, who wants to take time out of fun to write a unique cover letter for a job that’s probably not going to be filled anyway?