A friend asked me just now about an unusual context for the word ’employ’. To clear things up, I explained that ’employ’ actually means ‘use’. For example, one employs a hammer to drive a nail.
It struck me as odd that we never hear ‘use’ when someone says ’employ’ in relation to a person’s profession. “I am used by a large software company”. “My husband is used as a secretary”. “My daughter is used on a fixed-term basis”. Doesn’t sound very pleasant does it? Makes one sound like a piece of gym equipment.
Conversely, “I am unused” sounds far more pleasant than “I am unemployed”. I think I’ll start using it! Or rather employing it.