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  • Writer's pictureLisa Williams

141 Things To Do When You're In Between Jobs



  1. Finish a 1,000 piece puzzle. Then thank your son and his girlfriend (mostly) and your husband (partly) for doing most of the work, because you suck at puzzles.

  2. Engage with your community by asking them questions you REALLY want answers to.

  3. Remember you're still you, whatever your job title is.

  4. Give yourself a job title like Marketing Executive (or Grand Poobah of Organizing Glasses in the Buffet).

  5. Clean grout in your bathrooms.

  6. Interview your 95-year-old grandmother with Storyworth.

  7. Listen to Jon Fishman from Phish sing Elvis' "Suspicious Minds".

  8. If you live in the country, buy mouse deterrent devices...quit making fun of your husband for using those devices and carrying those mice to the barn 1/4 mile away and being surprised when they come back to the house...likely with baby mice.

  9. Spend more time talking to your grown kids. Or small kids. Or kids that belong to other people that you love.

  10. Complete an advanced directive. 

  11. Tell your mom how much you love her, even when she asks you for your address for the 47th time this year.

  12. Learn the art of flower arrangements. 

  13. Learn to make art on your cappuccinos. 

  14. Order an outfit from Balodona.

  15. Descale your coffee pot and cappuccino machine.

  16. Rewatch episodes of Friends and re-experience the genius of Matthew Perry.

  17. Go through your closet with the 80-20 rule (Pareto Principle) and hang up only the clothes you've worn in the past 3 months, put the rest in a storage box or donate to charity (because decision fatigue is a thing).

  18. Make cookies with little kids and let them totally mess up your kitchen. Let them drink copious amounts of hot cocoa and said cookies, giving zero fucks that they go home hopped up on sugar because ya know, you've been there.

  19. Learn how to properly sterilize your devices...cuz fingerprints and feces.

  20. Write more because you have time.

  21. Remind your neighbors that their kids can ride their bikes on your side of the fence whenever they want because they're delightful and adorable...make a note to call your insurance agent.

  22. Spend more time loving on your 16-year-old dog and tell her more often that you're a better person just because you know her (and no Michelle and Eric, you can't borrow her just because she's awesome).

  23. Send thank you cards to every human who helped you celebrate that you got married after 20 years of friendship and 9 years of living together.

  24. Remind yourself what a gift it is to be married to your best friend.

  25. Clean your fridge, freezer, and pantries and catalog and organize every meal you could make organized by breakfast, lunch, and dinner. with ChatGPT. Then put a Kanban board on the fridge so you can move those options from To Do to Doing to Done. Convince you're partner that you truly are okay and you are enjoying this.

  26. Corral all the stuff you don't use and sell it on eBay with your best friend who knows how to do that.

  27. Watch more movies with interesting people.

  28. Make Christmas cards out of the illustration your son's girlfriend made you last Christmas.

  29. Plan a movie and a dinner day for when she visits you.

  30. Start watching Schitt's Creek because you hear it's hilarious, you often use the gif's, and it seems like the right time.

  31. Berate yourself for waiting so long to dive in to the delightful world of the Schitt's family.

  32. Learn all the words to at least one Hamilton song (anything but My Shot).

  33. Ignore dumb listicles that say always and never.

  34. Make homemade bubble bath.

  35. Subscribe to Writers & Thinkers.

  36. Learn how to give yourself a pedicure, then remember that you already learned that nail techs are essential workers during Covid.

  37. Spend the night with your parents.

  38. Double down on everything you cook for one week so you'll have a week's worth of food when your godson and his wife come to visit.

  39. Spend time with the thesaurus for the word delightful.

  40. Organize your clothes (or bookshelf) by color (thank you Megan).

  41. Organize and catalog your husband's record albums. Watch High Fidelity again.

  42. Get better at darts and learn how to keep score.

  43. Play pickle ball. Watch Midwest Pickle Ball on YouTube.

  44. Learn how to use all of the settings on your washer and dryer.

  45. Clean your outdoor grill.

  46. Season your wok.

  47. Learn about how microwaves work.

  48. Quit worrying about the fact that your husband double dunks in the butter dish.

  49. Send your smart and happily married sister a thank you card for reminding you that life is short, don't talk about problems that aren't important...and get your own fucking butter dish.

  50. Thank your colleagues like Wil and Rand who are actually using AI for good.

  51. Thank your friends Sheena, Jill, Heidi, Christina, Aixe, Susan for being great project managers. It's the most important and most thankless job. It's like parenting except the kids are people at work who will never come back to thank you in 30 years and tell you they appreciate all the things you did for them "for the greater good".

  52. Tell your pregnant friends Steph and Jess how excited you are for them they're having a baby (or twin babies:) Remind them to take a moment to revel in the fact that they are powerful, walking miracles because they are literally making a human and to take a nap, eat something amazing.

  53. Read 7 1/2 Lessons About the Brain by Lisa Feldman Barrett

  54. Marvel at the miracle of humanity.

  55. Marvel at the stupidity of humanity.

  56. Practice not saying "short story long".

  57. Thank whoever created the toilet paper hanger that doesn't come off the spool.

  58. Learn how to make the perfect old fashioned.

  59. Cry because your not always sure "everything will be okay". Then go back and read #5.

  60. Thank Stanley Tucci and Lisa L for teaching you how to make the perfect martini and when it comes to the olives, it's either 1 or 3, never 2.

  61. Watch Barbie for a second time and giggle at Ryan Gosling's shirt that says, "I'm Kenough".

  62. Marvel at America Ferrera's speech and be grateful Greta Gerwig exists.

  63. Learn once and for all how to connect the speakers to the TV without asking your son, husband, or dad.

  64. Sharpen every pencil in the house...wonder who invented the electric sharpener.

  65. Thank your friend Tricia for teaching you the saying "If you like it, I LOVE it." Which basically means, "This conversation is ridiculous, but you're super important to me and I want to hear you...I will still likely do whatever the fuck I want."

  66. Thank the people who listen to your bullshit complaining and hold their tongue when they're likely thinking, "Yep, that IS a bummer and that's not right or fair or equitable and that's just life...get over it." Wonder how Claudette and Matt tolerate and how Mark rarely complains about any of it. Remind yourself to ask his partner if that is equal parts charming and annoying at home like it is at work:)

  67. Marvel at the beauty of a calla lily.

  68. Drink the bottle of wine you've been saving for a special occasion.

  69. Marvel at the wonder of a great glass of wine.

  70. Revisit the tasting wheel of wine.

  71. Use the beautiful bowl you bought at an estate sale for popcorn.

  72. Learn all the words to Lose Yourself, I Got 5 On It, This is How We Do It, and Formation. Realize you DO know all the words to This is How We Do It. Remind yourself to check out other Montell Jordan songs and to invite Kris to Karaoke night.

  73. Be furious that Beyonce didn't get a Grammy for Album of the Year for Lemonade. 

  74. Love her and Jay-Z for writing Apeshit.

  75. Wonder what museum they're in for that video.

  76. Remind yourself that you haven't been to many museums since Covid.

  77. Make an oath to go to more museums.

  78. Learn how to be better at Wordle. Then realize you love Scrabble, but you don't love Wordle...and that's okay.

  79. Replant the ginormous Jade in the living room.

  80. Research how to nurture blooming of the Jade.

  81. Clean every decanter in your bar.

  82. Learn how Amarena cherries are made.

  83. Relive all the moments when you could have been a better leader and friend for the people you are in service to.

  84. Marvel at how gracious and forgiving said people are at your short comings.

  85. Try to figure out how your professional path began working in a space that is dominated by Google BEFORE Google existed. Remember that life is both diligent planning and luck. Add your job as Media Contact (aka Snow Phone Girl) for Mt. Hood Meadows to your LinkedIn profile. Remember how bummed you were that you had to wear a name tag AND that the job was a blessing because you didn't have to spend much time away from the kiddos because the hours were 4 am to noon and you learned how to snowboard.

  86. Thank your lucky stars all of that happened.

  87. Wash all your dog collars and leashes.

  88. Repair the chain for the pendant your daughter and her partner made you from seashells, flowers, and stuff from the ocean.

  89. Marvel that you married a man man with three dogs (not a misprint...three).

  90. Marvel at the brilliance of naming the brothers from the same litter Smokey and Bandit. Remember to call you cousin Landon because he loves the song "East Bound and Down" from the Smokey and the Bandit movie.

  91. Marvel at how your son embodies the saying being comfortable in your own skin

  92. Marvel at the fact that your 94-year old grandmother is still so lovely and healthy at 94 and that she still says "woohoo" when she's happy.

  93. Thank your family for the gene pool.

  94. Marvel at the fact that you still have two Grandma's. 

  95. Thank your husband for installing the grid that holds all the brooms and mops.

  96. Restock hand sanitizers.

  97. Marvel that you were one of the first people to get a Covid vaccine because you worked at an academic medical center.

  98. Be grateful that your brilliant BFFs came up with the theme TGAP (two grown ass people) for your wedding.

  99. Practice making dumplings.

  100. Read the book your son got you called, "The Cocktail: The Influence of Spirit on the American Psyche" by Joseph Lanza.

  101. Order the sake Advent Calendar from Paul Namazake (thanks for the rec Rand Fishkin at SparkToro).

  102. Put on a chef's apron when you cook.

  103. Practice knife skills.

  104. Plan to delete your Facebook account since you haven't actively used it for three years. Realize that you likely wouldn't have archived a video of your daughter playing her last high school concert at the Riverside Church in Hood River without Meta. Decide to keep your Facebook account and still curse Meta, and Google, and Twitter. Wonder when and by whom the better social thing is going to be built. Be stoked and bummed at the same time that it may be Alphabet.

  105. Ponder what you'll do when your doggo is gone. Remind yourself to sing to her, give her treats, and rub behind her ears cuz she loves that.

  106. Create a catalog of my husband's albums...remind myself to watch "High Fidelity" again.

  107. Wonder why Coke is SOOOO much better than Pepsi. 

  108. Organize cleaning products on a cart.

  109. Wonder how long gas stoves have been around. 

  110. Thank the stars for Jazz Fest.

  111. Wonder who invented umbrellas.

  112. Wash all three dog beds. 

  113. Wonder why only one of the three of your dogs likes the dog beds.

  114. Wonder who invented the toothbrush...and the electric toothbrush...and remind yourself to floss more often.

  115. Cry because you just read "When Stars Gather". Thank Jillian.

  116. Organize and frame your favorite post cards.

  117. Think that Monet was a genius...and also...I could do that.

  118. Think that Van Gogh was a genius...and also...I could do that.

  119. Wonder who invented the postcard.

  120. Send postcards to people you love.

  121. Remind yourself no one needs a 6 burner oven...your daughter and her partner use one wok exclusively...they make the most amazing meals with that one tool...research dishes you can make with all 6 burners. Realize they are genius.

  122. Get the Our House pan from dear foodie friends. Love it! Realize THEY are genius, too. Thank you David and Emma.

  123. Learn about decision fatigue.

  124. Wonder who invented the saying you can't put the shit back in the donkey.

  125. Get ready for date night and realize it's kind of been a couple days since you've combed your hair.

  126. Learn the words to your three favorite Phish songs and realize that yes it's possible to have a 12 minute and 42 seconds song with only 17 words in it.

  127. Digitize the scrapbook your friends made you at your last work transition.

  128. Read This is Service Design Doing.

  129. Drink coffee with whiskey in a cup that says, "If you like it, I LOVE it!"

  130. Organize every electronic cord in your house, make a place for the ones that you use every day, and label what they're for.

  131. Be grateful you have friends and colleagues who do things like literally raise an eyebrow when they're not sure you're on the right path. Looking at you Amanda.

  132. Watch Key and Peele for the first time and realize you had them mixed up. Go back and rewatch, "Get Out", "Us", and "Nope".

  133. Be grateful that your favorite boss choose you, not just for one, but for two jobs. Marvel at his ability to find honest and kind ways to describe your strengths and weaknesses with a single statement. "Lisa is ambitious." Which means, "She plans too much work because she's excited about it and she believes in her teams. It can be exhausting to walk back or slow down the too much work, but she's coachable and it's worth the effort because she's focused on the right outcomes." Or. "Lisa is an iterative thinker." Which means, "It will likely drive you crazy that she needs to review six iterations of a deliverable with you before it's ready to roadshow, but it's her process and she gets a lot of shit done, so you'll learn to live with it." Thank you, Eric.

  134. Make a list of shows you want to watch BEFORE you sit down with the remote.

  135. Go on more date nights.

  136. Talk to your children, parents, best friends on the phone without multi-tasking.

  137. Wait 1 hour after you wake up to scroll on your device.

  138. Practice the maxim that good and done is better than perfect and in your head.

  139. Be grateful for all of the Jon Acuff books that preach that all you need is a goal, most goals are optimistic lies, and goals without alignment in your calendar likely won't happen.

  140. Make a pact to get better at protecting your calendar.








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