Are you out of your F'ing mind??!
I just read this article and while I admit it is a bit old (March 2010) the premise is utterly preposterous.
Here's the link...Perspective: Keep working (Even if you don't get paid)
The author suggests keeping the same work routine you had before you became unemployed.
This assumes quite a lot such as; the work you were assigned was still relevant ( dubious if you've been downsized) and that you'll develop bad habits if you break your worker bee routine (god forbid you figure out that you'd be better off contracting.)
There's no doubt in my mind that this individual has never had the misfortune of going an indeterminate amount of time without a steady paycheck. Being a science publication it's also obvious that the author has benefitted from working in the public and/or education sector as well (tenure anyone?)
It's natural. When things are going well your mindset is totally different than if you're scraping the bottom of the barrel just to find enough money to keep the lights on and enjoy a hearty meal of ramen noodles for dinner.
There's almost a sense of euphoria among those who've never stared the specter of financial disaster in the face. They just don't understand how things can go wrong often asserting that they would never stoop to such degradation as taking unemployment or letting a credit card account go bad.
I'm unsure of the source of the quote (and I do paraphrase) but someone once said the measure of a man wasn't what they did in good times but how they weathered the hard times.
Yes, by all means do what you can to keep your skills up but this article suggests working for free for the company that canned you. I'm sorry but if you're let go for whatever reason consider those bridges burned. If they valued you you'd still be there. It's been my experience that once you've been escorted to the door there's no longer a desire to see you walk back in through it, even for free.
I could care less what the U.S. Bureau of statistics says about the bad habits of the unemployed. For one thing nobody I know or have ever known (including me) has ever been interviewed by them so I'm suspect of their findings.
The second assertion came shortly after the quote from a supposed hiring manager, "I have no problem hiring the unemployed. But I will not hire people who are not working"
Really? well thank god for that because you sir are not looking for a resource, you're looking for a slave.
I see the perspective of a taskmaster here. Perhaps because I'm someone who's spent most of his career as an independent contractor I have trouble playing devil's advocate in this case. I'm more about the product than procedure to make it which runs contrary to the prevailing 19th century work ethic.
That's the mantra that says no work gets done unless it's closely monitored and controlled.
The reality is that if you can't get work in your field, working for free won't pay the bills and at some point you're likely to end up pushing shopping carts around Home Depot to pay the rent. This isn't unlike the advice given in those outdated self-help books about how to land the perfect job. You know the ones that say to go work as an unpaid intern for a year hoping to get an entry level position. That's fine if someone can afford to support you but that's been a rarity for a couple of decades now.
The other thing that's not addressed is the cost of working. If you continue doing what you did before you got canned you'll soon find that you're going through an awful lot of cash.
Take the work for free at your old employer jazz.
You still have the costs just to get there. Fuel costs, bus fare, etc. Then there's the costs for unimportant things like lunch, parking fees and dry cleaning. After all, even if you're sadistic ex-employer does take advantage of your "work for free" offer they won't be happy if you show up in shorts and flip flops.
Let's also not forget that as a non-employee you will no longer have access to company resources like computers or the internet so you'll have to provide your own. That's at least $100 a month outlay tethering a laptop to a smartphone.
I'm suspicious of this entire article and find it almost insulting. What is even more insulting is the fact that it's on a site called, "sciencecareers"
I'm not the flat earth type but this type of advice makes everyone in the discipline look a bit naive.