Sunday, December 7

Job Loss And Broken Dreams

Boulevard of Broken DreamsI see a lot more people arriving at my blog because they are searching for things such as extreme frugality. Having gone through an extended period of underemployment it breaks my heart.

Wait, don't worry, this isn't a pity party!

What I do feel is important is getting through to people that look down on those that suffer through employment and economic issues. You see, when you get a taste of success in life, without any downturns to clue you in to your own vulnerability, you start to think you are good.

People working at fast food chains? They must have made bad decisions while in high school, preferring to have fun instead of focusing on studies. People losing their jobs must have made bad career decisions because they weren't very adept at figuring out how to develop skills that are in demand. Yes, the unwashed masses have exactly what they deserve because of their own lack of work and planning.

There was a time in my life that I started to think I was good. I was more productive than my peers. I had a better job than the others that I went to school with. I worked harder at learning new skills than most. I had worked my way from nothing to my own success and obviously I was completely in control on my destiny. Somehow, this seemed to imply that everyone was in control of their destiny and got what they deserved.

Maybe this is a way that the mind justifies the obvious differences in society. It pushes the blame to those that don't succeed so that we can feel good about ourselves instead of lamenting the state of society as a whole.

Once again I am lucky to find myself back on top of the food chain. I have an important career job and make significant decisions, influencing the company that employs me in meaningful ways. However, this time I have a little more wisdom than I did as a younger man. Even if we weren't in tough financial times it still isn't right to blindly blame everyone for their state in life.

If you live in a community that has a large employer, for example, then it can be incredibly hard to find work if that company lays everyone off. This has nothing to do with the skills of those employees -- simply that there is a glut on the local market. Some families will have the resources, or contacts, that will let them pick up and relocate, but others won't. Hard working good people do not deserve their destitution, ever.

Losing a job leads down an inevitable path. If you have higher education in a downturn you are simply over qualified for most positions. This is a severe problem as nobody will hire you because they assume you will leave as soon as a career position opens up. You then are left with low end service positions that will not begin to pay enough to maintain a professional lifestyle.

If the downturn is extended you can say goodbye to servicing your debt. You can say goodbye to your car. You can say goodbye to owning your home. You can say goodbye to buying the latest toys and gadgets for your children. You may have to say goodbye to putting away for college costs. You can even say goodbye to having enough money to travel to apply for job opportunities outside of your community.

As you go through these things, the loss of things you worked so hard to gain, the lack of value of your hard won education and skills, the lack of having any potential employers contact you for an interview, you will find out how vulnerable you are to the whims of market conditions. This is when you start to search on the Internet for things like extreme frugality.

I've walked in your shoes.

I know you are still a very skilled and valuable contributor in whatever job position you are given. I know you worked hard, made good decisions, and deserve much better than you currently have. I know you may be making very difficult choices concerning which bills must be paid while others must be left to wreak havoc on your credit rating.

These things are all reversible. You, your character, your ability to work hard and make good decisions, these things remain. Don't lose heart. You are most certainly not alone.

It may be a bitter pill, but once you make it through this, and you will, it will have made you stronger and wiser.

Among many other changes, you will look at successful people, see them making terrible mistakes, and have a better understanding of how and why it happens. The fact that some that are well off look down on others, who aren't as successful as they, will have become blindingly obvious. Society and politics will be a little easier to interpret than before.

Frugal Guy said...
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19 comments:

Hayden Tompkins said...

I actually write a personal development blog and noticed that so many people were paralyzed by fear...fear of losing their home and becoming homeless. So I wrote a one-time post on "How to Be Homeless" and it went CRAZY on stumble.

Kind of scary to me.

Frugal Guy said...

Hayden, thanks for the note.

Your blog is illuminating... keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

There are many homeless people who have lost everything. I got to see an ex bank president laying asleep on the pavement. He lost it all and his wife too. It broke my heart. It is like that song that goes "Once in a life time'. by the Talking heads. Good luck is never forever. We just have to do our best and be ,as frugal as , possible. We never know what will happen next. I agree. Annette

Bryan White said...

I have been through hard times in the past and I believe it has made me a stronger person (and very frugal).

It was so tough when I went through those times, but you have to cling to the belief that things always get better. When your life hits rock bottom the only way is up.

Just hang in there.

Frugal Guy said...

Annette, Bryan,

Thanks for your comments. I'm sure a lot of people are going to be going through these things for the length of our economic issues.

Anonymous said...

I remember not having food, not having electricity, not having hot water and not having all the basic needs we take for granted. It was pure hell but, it taught me frugal is the only way. I never want to go through that again even if I have to dig through garbage ect..

Coffee Addict said...

Thank you for this wonderful post. My husband and I fell on hard times a few years back, and are still dealing with them. On top of that, my husband has IBS and until we figure out a plan of action that controls it, it is very difficult for him to hold a full-time job. I have had people who think "it must be nice" because my husband doesn't work full-time and we don't pay much for rent. That's because our rent is based on how much we make each month!! It is so cheap because we have so little money to live off of. Then we have had people who can't understand why we can't afford $70 a month for satellite, or this or that. We live off of about $1500 a month, and we are two adults, a cat, and a two year old. So thank you, for realizing that those in difficult financial situations are not all lazy bums who made bad decisions.

Frugal Guy said...

Coffee, Anon,

Thanks for leaving a note.

One of the best parts about blogging is having the ability to say something you feel is important and then getting feedback that lets you know you've managed to connect to someone with your message.

Hang in there and don't stop believing in yourself!

Anonymous said...

In the words of the singer James Taylor" Never give up, never slow, never grow old, never ever die young" Good luck and may 2009 be the best~~~

Anonymous said...

I remember starving, the pain, the sickness, the headaches and pure h ell. Never again.

debb said...

Okay yu so need to tell this to my husband, after years within a company they downsized him out - well if you read my blog you get the idea. We are a home owners worst nightmare come true! I love your blog.
Debb

debb said...

Hello again, I am writing a post and would like to link mine to this one if it is okay with you, this post is husband and I, amazing, maybe not.
Keep up the great work.

Frugal Guy said...

Hi Debb,

Sorry to hear about the bad news. There are obviously a lot of people having trouble these days -- there have been massive increases in the number of people that are unemployed.

Anyway, feel free to link to my blog if you want to, I certainly won't mind at all.

Anonymous said...

People should be thankful for everything. Money is not everything. The important thing is survival. Money can never buy what is most important love, health and family ect.. No matter what your situation is you could become a bum in a NY minute. You could lose it all so, never give up.

Anonymous said...

Oh and I was never a bum. The average people starve too and lots of people are digging through the trash not just bums. You would be suprised if you only knew what goes on.

Robbie said...

This was a beautiful testament...thanks for writing this.

Anon said...

Robbie,

Thanks for the note.

--

Also, to all my readers, I just saw this item on CNN, which talks about some of the conditions I've written about.

Delivering Pizzas

Recently unemployed, overqualified, taking crappy work at low pay, going through depression and eventually finding something else.

Please don't write that you, or others, have suffered worse situations. Only one person get's to be at the bottom of the pile -- and the rest of the people suffering should not be discounted just because they are not at the very bottom.

I posted about that before... somewhere... if you can find it... something like "broke vs poor" if I recall.

Rockon said...

This was a beautiful testament...thanks for writing this.

I actually write a personal development blog and noticed that so many people were paralyzed by fear...fear of losing their home and becoming homeless.

Frugal Guy said...

Rockon, thanks for the note. Keep on helping people.