If Lance Armstrong is allowed to come out of retirement and promptly break his collarbone, there’s no reason unemployed people can’t also declare themselves retired to avoid going back to work after the recession is “over” only to be promptly laid off again. Consider it a defense mechanism or just a snarky response to questions like, “So, uh, when are you planning on getting a job so your mom and I can have our empty nest back?” from actual retired folk and people with jobs who are jealous of those without.
The amount of time people have been unemployed ranges from whenever everything fell apart in late 2008 to as recent as right this minute – don’t turn around because your boss is standing behind you holding a pink slip with your name on it. Whether it’s five days or five months into unemployment, the pressure coming from everywhere to find a new job in an impossible climate can be too much to handle. Whenever a friend or relative asks how the job search is going, part of it is out of genuine concern, but the underlying tone of the question is, “When are you going to stop living off the government, end your paid vacation, and suffer through a job like the rest of us, jerk? You’re not even trying are you? Jerk.” The only way to keep from biting someone’s face off is to “joke” and tell them, “I’ve decided to retire and finally enjoy life” which is especially comical if coming from a recent graduate who’s been laid off from their first job out of college.
Part of the appeal of being forced into retirement by the recession is not having to admit defeat “in this economy.” The other obvious advantage is how great it is to not have to work! Plus, when retired/unemployed, you get to do whatever you want whenever you want (budget permitting), and anyone who could bother you is probably at work. If you want to let your brain turn to mush for a week, go for it, it’s not like your boss is going to ask for some useless report analysis. Want to patter around the house in your pajamas and forget why you went into the office? You’re retired, it’s your prerogative. You’ll want to look back fondly at your “year of unemployment” so why mess it up with a job you know you’ll lose before 2009 is over? Wait out the storm and when you’re finally ready, make a big deal out of coming out of retirement – just try not to break any bones.