By Robert Pagliarini

If your job is getting in the way of your life, now is the perfect time to get laid off. First, there's no stigma attached to not working since so many are unemployed. The unemployment rate is almost 10 percent and the underemployment rate -- adding in those who gave up looking for a job and those who took part-time jobs even though they want full-time work -- is close to 20 percent. You'll be part of a select, albeit growing, group.

Second, many states offer generous unemployment packages and the federal government may extend benefits because of the weak economy. And third, if you're anything like me, this recession has caused me to relax a little too much. Gone are the days of worry and anxiety. A few bounced checks and calls from creditors may be just what you need to add some spark to your life.

I tend to leave work-related advice to others, but since I see so many people toiling away their days working, I felt it was my mission to give you a few solid tips on how to stop giving up your day just because you need to pay rent and buy food. Carpe diem!

Here's how to become unemployed in seven easy steps:

1. Be dumb.

Even if you're really smart, you can still nail this step because it has nothing to do with your intelligence and everything to do with your attitude. Make sure you have a "the company's going down and I'll probably be fired" mentality so you won't work as hard or care as much.

2. Don't learn anything new.

You're a know-it-all already, right? So whatever you do, be sure not to take a computer class or graphic design workshop. Do not earn your degree or get that designation you've been putting off. And certainly do not become more valuable to your current employer and more appealing to a new employer by using a few of your other eight hours to boost your skills.

3. Stick to your job description.

If your employer wants you to learn something new, they should pay you more. If they can't afford it, stick to your job description and don't spend any time learning how to do more than that. If there are layoffs at your company, fewer people will need to be able to handle more work. Ensure that you are a one-trick pony to almost guarantee you will get laid off so your cubicle neighbor can take over several of your tasks on day one.

4. Say "no" to everything.

Boss asks you to head up a new project. "No, sir" is the answer. Boss wants you to pitch in on a new account. "I'd rather not" is the answer. The less ingrained you are in the company, and the less involved you are in various projects, the easier it will be to get rid of you. Added bonus ... when things turn in the economy, you won't get those annoying job offers or promotions.

5. Become invisible.

Don't write memos. Don't bring your boss creative cost-cutting ideas. Don't give workshops. Whatever you do, hide as much as possible and never show your face. This is especially true in a larger company. The fewer people who know you and like you the better.

6. Be negative.

Don't even think about being positive. The economy sucks and life is not fair. You shouldn't have to do three people's jobs. Make sure you are vocal about all of your problems. Bring your bad attitude to work, so you won't have a work to go to.

7. Work fewer hours.

Tough times are tough, so you deserve to work a little less. Don't even think about using some of your other eight hours to get in earlier or to stay a little later. Find out if your boss (or even better, your boss' boss) is going to be in on the weekend. If so, be sure to brag to them on Monday morning about how you laid around the house all weekend.

There are millions of hardworking folks who sacrificed long hours to their jobs who got laid off. If you follow these seven simple steps, you too will be unemployed in no time!

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