'Funemployed' people have fun instead of jobs

'Funemployed' people have fun instead of jobs »Play Video
The funemployed use sites like Facebook (above) and Twitter to connect with each other.

EUGENE, Ore. -- A typical day for David might include waking up at 11, surfing the Internet, practicing guitar and hanging out with his girlfriend.

"I run into a lot of animosity from people when they have to work really hard for what they're doing," said David, "and I am able to just collect it."

David -- KVAL News elected not to use his last name to protect his identity -- is among the thousands of young Americans known as the "funemployed." They are unemployed people using their time and government-ssued check to have fun.

In Lane County, where unemployment recently hit 14 percent, David said it's not hard to find folks to hang out with.

"Yeah, it seems like half the people i know are unemployed," he said.

The funemployed tend to be single people in their 20s or early 30s without kids and without a mortgage. A lot of times they use sites like Twitter and Facebook to find each other and make plans.

Posts like "while everyone is working, we are busy playing, every day of the week!" on Facebook or "Adventures in Funemployment" from YouTube are examples the trend.

David is learning to play the guitar and planning a trip to Vegas but said he uses most his free time to soul search.

"Figuring out what I really want to do with my life," he said. "That's my biggest priority with this time and space. And that's hard to do when you're working all the time, like figuring out where your head is at."

But is the life of the funemployed too good to be true? And shouldn't these people be looking for a job?

Kim Thompson at the Lane County employment office answers both questions with "Yes."

"Especially in a recession, I would never assume that I have time," Thompson said. "I would start looking right away."

Thompson said she's not aware of people being truly "funemployed" in Lane County because of the county's strict guidelines for benefits.

Thompson said a person on unemployment looking for fun rather than a job could be investigated for fraud, lose their check and be forced to pay back money from previous ones.

"It's a temporary assistance," she said, "for people who need that stimulus to get back to work. It really is not meant to be sitting around. Nor are the program requirements so relaxed that a person should be able to have time to be doing that."

David said it's easy to get used to the funemployed lifestyle, although he is actively looking for a job.

Because like any good party, "it's not going to last forever so you've got to take advantage of the time you have."