There's no easy answer to that question. One might say — as Mansinne has — that having no business cards simply makes her funemployed, another exiled young office bee enjoying a well-deserved vacation on a downsized income. But that's not really true. "There's a lot I don't like about not having a job," she says. "I call it funemployment and I talk it up. But it's tough. My income now is half of what it was." More psychologically significant than the income loss, she says, is the morbid condition of "feeling ineffectual in the world."

She laments that not having enough to do gives her the blues. "There's only so much I can do in a day working on the wine tour, and then there's no more work to do," she says. "It gets kind of depressing."

On this Monday, Mansinne is getting ready to help her younger brother move into a new apartment. Then she's headed to Los Angeles — not, like Ferraro, to look for work in a bigger job market, but to look after her grandmother, who is coming home from the hospital after treatment related to a broken femur. When she returns, there will be graduate counseling programs to check out, the GRE to study for, and, eventually, some form of work to find. Since Mansinne plans to apply to grad school this fall, she won't be able to start working toward her degree until the fall of 2010, and will need a source of cash once her unemployment checks run out.

Even under COBRA, Mansinne is paying close to $400 per month in health-insurance premiums. She wants a new health plan. This consideration is driving her back to a company that employed her during her college years: Starbucks.

From Devil-Wears-Prada magazine marketer to Starbucks peon to high-school guidance counselor, with some bagels, bongos, and blogging along the way. Behold the path of the funemployed — equal parts relaxation, reflection, optimism, and disappointment. "It's totally bizarre to me to think I'm going to go back to Starbucks," she says. "I was really on a career path. And then it all came to a crashing halt." She pauses. "I think I like it better this way."

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"They were also asking her to come into the office, strep throat and all, to sign some legal documents acknowledging that this painful conversation had taken place. What could she do?"

What could she do? They fired her over the phone while she has strep throat and then they ask her to come in? I'll tell you what she could have done: NOT SUCCUMB TO A COMPLETELY UNREASONABLE REQUEST!


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