In individual terms, unemployment situations cause both a destructuring of daily life practices and a loss of resources and socioeconomic conditions that were previously taken for granted. This is a vulnerable situation that results simultaneously in forms of disaffiliation and social disqualification, with consequences in the rise of poverty and social inequality. Unemployed people live the present in a state of constant uncertainty that makes it hard to construct coherent prospects for the future. Basing itself on a sociological problematisation of social time, this article seeks to operationalise a set of categories and temporal profiles that are derived from unemployment situations and to identify different variants of a lived temporality which the authors call forced downtime. The investigation is the product of an analysis of 46 in-depth interviews of relatively older unemployed persons who live in Portugal and possess low or intermediate levels of schooling. Content analysis shows that there are different ways in which interviewees experience distinct temporal dimensions.