Economic Shambles

In the last post, I wrote about a frustrated job seeker and his letter to the editor. I talked about his situation and some things he (and others like him) could do to help in their job search.

His view was that the economy is in shambles, the recovery non-existent, and the businesses who indicate they are looking for employees are simply leading people on (and he implies they are doing it to bedevil the poor job applicants and fill them with false hope.)

Is the economy in shambles? Is there a recovery? Are businesses the devils he has concluded they are?

The answer for each one of us, mostly depends on our experience. If you are out of work or you had to close your business because there weren’t enough customers to support it… your answer is probably different than someone whose business is thriving (or someone who has an in-demand job.) And, yes, every recession has businesses that thrive and that hire. (Ask people in the repo business how things are for them, for instance. But there are lots of other businesses that thrive in a recession.)

If you have some financial acumen, the spate of regulatory increase over the last year or two probably has you busier than ever and searching for more help (employees). Likewise if you are a healthcare practitioner.

Full disclosure here: IANAE (I Am Not An Economist). I don’t play one on TV. And my best friend isn’t one, either. If you want to know if the economy is in shambles, you will have to ask someone else. (Of course, the old quote says, “If you lined up all the economists in the world end to end, they would all point a different direction.”)

What I can tell you here, is that things will NEVER be as bad (for all of us) as some would like to you believe. Individuals may suffer incredibly bad things but at the same time, other individuals will enjoy incredibly good things during that same time period. It has been that way throughout the history of humanity.

And on a collective level, humans have seen a LOT worse (the Black Plague in Europe, for instance, where only 10 percent of the population survived. And, suitably, a little black humor… it solved the unemployment problem for a while.) The AVERAGE for us will be in the middle of the bell curve–never as bad as for some and never as good as for some.

Humans’ primary characteristic is NOT their brain power. Our primary characteristic is our adaptability. Sure, we use our brains to help us adapt, but… in spite of our great strides in knowledge and technology… our strong suit is NOT thinking. We make most of our decisions emotionally, in spite of our rational thinking.

We use our brains reactively to get us out of uncomfortable situations that we might not have gotten into if we had used our brains proactively. But even so, we make progress.

Are we experiencing the worst we (individually or collectively) will experience? I am confident the answer is “No”. Are we experiencing the best? Again, no. Do we have any control over it? On a wide scale? No. On a personal level? Yes, lots!

You have a LOT of control… it just doesn’t always feel like it. Even if you are out of work or if you had to close your business, you have choices in your life. Admittedly, the options to choose from may not always be the most desirable or the ideal for you. But if you have choices, you have control.

And, as you exercise your choices, you begin to regain (or lose) control of your life. You choose how much television you watch. You choose who you associate with (see What’s Your Average? for the importance of this.) You choose what you do with your time. To quote from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, “Choose Wisely”.

Regain control of your life and your personal economy. Adapt… it’s what we’re good at.

Agree? Disagree? Think I am crazy and “don’t know what it’s like”? Use the comments and tell me.

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Economic Shambles — 3 Comments

  1. While I agree that we should not “focus” on the bad (there is always something bad that can keep us from focusing our thoughts and strengths on what we should be using our energy to accomplish) we should neither ignore the impending signs of the potential systemic failure, either.
    While the US has largely been spared from such a failure, many other countries in the world have undergone such a failure. While some have re-emerged, invigorated and fresh on the other side, many have not. There are numerous examples of countries whose populations used to be comfortably wealthy that entered into some poor leadership decisions and ended up destroying the country’s wealth and opportunity. I think this is in the process of happening here and one should prepare for its arrival. Conversely, if one chooses to do nothing BUT prepare, they are missing out on living the life of here and NOW. One must keep one eye on today and one eye on the future, constantly seeking wisdom, knowledge, and discernment, and knowing that ultimately no matter what happens, the fate of the world is not in our hands, but in the hands of God.

  2. Thanks, Scott, for that reminder that we need to be prepared. I used to love the rolling refrain in the Mother Earth News magazine in the 70s-80s. They encouraged being prepared and doing all you could to become energy, food, and economically self-reliant. The refrain was “If the times get bad like is being predicted, then you will be prepared. And if they don’t, then you will be that much better off than everyone else.”

    To me, it is important to take the responsibility for one’s own world. Very few of us can significantly influence the course of the world by ourselves. But, every one of us can have a profound influence on our own, personal, world… and that of those around us.

    Do you have resources that can help us be better prepared?

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