In the early 1990s there was a recession in the United States, but it didn’t mean anything to me. I was in high school in rural northeast Missouri and had no connection whatsoever to the recession the nightly news kept talking about. My father actually commented a few times that he didn’t know what recession they were talking about. It was a problem for city people, not for us.
A couple of weeks ago a Brazilian-American friend told me about how he survived that recession. He’s an auto mechanic and couldn’t find work for months, so he would buy and old car at salvage prices, fix it up and resell it. He did that until the crisis passed and he found work with a regular paycheck. What for me was not a problem where I lived was a serious issue for my friend where he lived.
This current economic crisis is impacting everyone now. Sure, I’m a “city person” now to the extent that I live and work in a very urban area, but I know this has to be hitting people in the Midwestern United States and elsewhere. Hardly anyone, individuals or business, can get credit. Home and auto loans, credit cards and regular bank loans are hard to come by. People are getting laid-off in record numbers. I have friends who work in construction who haven’t worked in weeks since no one is building or renovating, and they’ve started taking odd jobs to try to make ends meet.
It’s a depressing situation, but perhaps it will be an opportunity for some of us to refocus and retool. People laid off from investment firms, law offices and real estate agencies are scrambling with many others from all walks of life for jobs. There are jobs out there to be had, but in many cases they require a pay cut, a career change or both. Some will need to transition into teaching, customer service or some other field where employment is still available. This is also an excellent time to focus on developing new skills, whether through employment, college or personal effort.
Where I work in customer service I’m drawing on the experience of co-workers and availability of resources to learn some programming, system administration and quality assurance. Although I couldn’t get financial aid to continue a course at college, I have purchased the teacher’s editions of a couple of college algebra and trigonometry books (used) and am using the many online tutorials to help me through. Then again, I am fortunate to still be employed (that could change given that the economy is only going to get worse in coming months) and so have some breathing room to work in.
So tell me, how are things where you are? Has the recession hit you or anyone close to you yet? How are you dealing with the situation?
Recession Resources: “ Online relief for the recession-weary” – CNN article with links to sites that might help someone cope, or at least commiserate with others.
“10 Things to Do the Day After You’re Laid Off” – Pretty standard advice on the US News & World Report site.
“14 things to do if you are laid off from a tech job” – CNET article.
“The spreadsheet of sunshine: Who’s hiring (updated)” – All tech jobs and doesn’t appear to have been updated since January.
USAJOBS – How about a government job? Gotta be better than gov’t cheese!