Friday, April 10, 2009

In This Economy…Bite Me

Is it just me, or are we blaming everything on the economy?

It’s bad enough that employers take advantage of people during this time with a virtual license to screw – kind of like we did to ourselves in the last real estate boom. Seven-figure-income earners, who can certainly weather a storm like this, make the bold decisions to stop hiring, cut staff, freeze pay, enforce furloughs, and expect employees to be grateful simply for the employment.

Many states like mine (Maryland) hire employees at will, meaning employers can eliminate anyone’s position (that isn’t under a contract) on a whim. And if you want your severance pay you just have to sign here and agree to leave (no one was fired), not sue anyone, and won’t work for any competitors.

Bite me.

Of course pointing any of this out while you’re still employed could be career-ending, so don’t try this at work.

And don’t get me wrong. There are many people truly suffering, or have been blind-sided (often unfairly) and are just trying to make ends meet. I’ve been laid off a few times and it sucks. Even when it isn’t your fault, it’s a betrayal and total blow to your psyche.

If you’re trying to retire and banked on stocks and your 401K, like we’ve all been told to do for eons, my heart truly goes out to you. But for many of us, it’s the idea of losing your job or your income.

A lot of us are suffering losses that are only on paper (stocks are down, 401K is in the tank, your overpriced house is under market value) – but the losses aren’t realized unless you trade those stocks, cash in your 401K or try to sell your house. Otherwise, in time, theoretically they’ll all recover and continue to rise in value. Hence, no real loss.

But it’s beyond the unemployment, the workplace, the banks and financial theory (which I believe is predicated upon keeping fat, rich, white people fat and rich – they’ll be white no matter how much money they make). It’s the constant bombardment of the same message, without anything new to offer.

The media (left-leaning elite liberal or fair-and-balanced-right wing) is hoping this "story" lasts longer than Octomom’s 15 minutes (which is up to about 492 hours, and that's just on television). Honestly, I think we’ll be out of the recession, through another golden era and into a new recession before we’ve heard the end of that family.

At least I haven’t heard “from Wall Street to Main Street” today.

The ECONOMY, if we’re all honest here, is something most of us don’t really understand. We understand our personal economy: what’s in my checkbook, how much do I owe, and that I live paycheck to paycheck, or maybe scam to scam, or on Daddy’s trust fund (turns out Daddy in many cases was just other people’s money).

But it’s in or on everything – news, commercials, radio, print, billboards, graffiti…it’s even making it into the scripts of sit-coms and television dramas. And it's non-stop. It is also, quite conveniently for some, the ultimate scapegoat:

At work…
--Johnson, we have to let you go. It’s the economy.

--But, sir, our stock is up and my team grew our core revenue 12%.

--OK, it’s your hair and I never liked you. Tah tah.

On the highway…
--License and registration. Do you realize how fast you were going, sir?

--I’m sorry, officer. I just can’t pay attention to things like speed-limit signs, school zones or the safety of others. You know, in this economy…

Even at home…
--Jasmine, why haven’t you finished your math homework? It’s time for bed.

--Well, mom, you know, it all seems so pointless, in this economy. What will be left for me when I graduate? Maybe I should just get a job now before you and daddy piss everything away. I can always go back to the third grade later, right?

OK, Jasmine actually has a point. For now, I’d just really love one day without hearing “stimulus package” innuendo or the actual word “economy”.

Last one, I promise…
--Mark, were you just kissing that other woman? Have you lost your freakin’ mind?!

--Come on, Peggy. Since the firm shut down, I’ve been adrift. I’ve lost my masculinity, my self-esteem, my edge, my moral compass. In these economic times, I feel totally emasculated.

--Moral compass? You were an investment banker.

--Point taken. But you do understand, don’t you?...Is that loaded?

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