Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs or Why I Hate the Word Funemployed


I've been thinking a lot about Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs lately. Specifically, in relation to creativity and unemployment.
The truth is, I don't recall much about studying Maslow's Hierarchy in school, possibly because I never took any psych classes. (I was a political communications and broadcast journalism major. I can tell you all about Lasswell's theories of communications. I won't tell you how many years it took for me to realize that Maslow and Lasswell were two different things. And yet, you'd be surprised how many similarities they share.) But I digress.
I hate the word "fun-employed." Lest you think this refers to people who love their jobs, it doesn't. It's a completely inaccurate way to describe unemployment. It's far from the truth. There's nothing fun about unemployment.
In fact, most unemployment is a struggle to meet Maslow's first two levels of needs. In theory, most people have that third level. (Except a single person who isn't really physically close to her friends and family would also struggle to meet this level as well.) When all of your resources are going into meeting those first two levels, it's hard, if not nearly impossible at times, to reach those top levels.
And that can be frustrating! How is unemployment ever "fun" when you are fighting and struggling to reach your basic needs? Fun can't be had until you've reached those basic needs. Creativity (which keeps me going) can't be achieved or sustained until all other needs are met. (No wonder I find it so hard to write and be creative during this time where supposedly I have nothing else to do but be creative.)
It's only just now, as I write this, really hitting me why it is so important to me that I take advantage of the opportunities that come my way for fun these days. For instance, the annual trip to Duck Beach next week. On one hand, my guilty side says I shouldn't do it. My time would be better spent at home, job hunting, saving my pennies.
On the other hand, Maslow and I can both see how a week at the beach fills all levels of my needs. Yes, including stability, food, etc. (It's all paid for and provided while I'm there.) For the one week I will have companionship and friends. Each level of the hierarchy will be met for just the one week, and I desperately crave that. And maybe, just maybe, my creativity will return once that has happened.
You may call it "funemployed." I call it meeting my most basic needs.

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