I would have to say that my first actual glimpse – physical glimpse – of the economic downturn happened on a trip back to KC at the end of October.  There, not far from my Mom’s house, one could gaze upon a large parking lot with cookie-cutter buildings and a sign already erected with ‘circuit city’ emblazoned on both sides.  The construction had stopped.  The buildings sit empty not just because of CC’s closure but also due to construction contractors running out of money.  That parking lot and those buildings – there were houses there.  Across the street sits another section of mall with a cinema, clothing stores, pet store, etc.  There were houses there at one time as well.    Down a few miles in another direction…you can find the same set of hardware stores, clothing stores and cinema.

But why would I drive a few miles more when I can have one across the street from my house?

For a while the bubble has started a slow ooze of air here in Portland.  Personally, I’m working in the midst of people opting for early retirement or a voluntary leave from the company as well as people being laid off – mainly contractors.  This has been round 1.  Round 2 is starting. Layoffs of both employees and contractors.

Something hit me hard today. I still have a job. I hopefully will continue having a job. I have a lot to be thankful for and a lot of people that have helped me along the way these last few months.  People that didn’t have to help.  An employer that didn’t have to do what they did for me when I was on maternity.   A company that didn’t have to take me back as a contractor after I had a baby. A friend who, during a meeting where she found out she was being laid off, asked if I was going to be okay and still have a job.

I don’t think that I have ever had, well, I really can’t come up with a word to describe this. Except that I am and will be eternally grateful. I know that I may have to take a pay cut.  I know that I may not be immune to a layoff.  I know that everyone’s stomachs are churning because of the decisions that they must make that will impact the lives and well-being of people.  I know I am not envious of them.

I could sit here and write about how companies have spent excessive amounts of money on frivolous things be it projects that are not the success that they thought they would be or the trips for upper management or or or….

But isn’t this whole situation a product of us all? I grew up not wanting for things. Well, not entirely wanting. I definitely wanted things that we could not afford. But all in all – no – I had what I needed and had a good childhood.  I have been excessive in my “adult” life. I have spent money that I didn’t have only to have the items that I thought I needed.  The items that I didn’t really need. I still spend money on things I do not need that I could substitute out for something cheaper like my lattes.  However, there came a point where enough was enough – and that point was well before all of this “crisis” started.  We hit our tipping point and before we tipped for the worse we made changes to tip towards the better.  Constantly planning.  Constantly reexamining our little world and trying to not live with excess and be accountable for our actions.   We have reached beyond the tipping point and we as the world, countries, states and individuals have an opportunity to re-examine what is important.  Be accountable for our actions. Because those actions have an effect. Those actions build up to a tipping point and right now we are plunging down towards the dark.  I hope that all companies and government take a look at what really is at stake here.  A look that I have taken and take on a daily basis just in my own little world.  I hope that there really is change in the world.

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3 Comments on “x-cess-pool”

  1. sarah Says:

    there was actually an op-ed in Time that contains a similar sentiment and includes some numbers — essentially reflecting that we as a country, and all the people in it, are bankrupt. Our collective worth exceeds the sum of our collective debts. that is mind-boggling irresponsible on our part — not just Wall Street. Some of us should’ve gotten off the debt economy boat prior to a a complete meltdown.
    great blog. esp putting a human face on the layoffs.

  2. […] similar, a blogger named TheThirdDegree.  Examining her own role in the financial crisis is java girl, who is managing to be thoughtful in the face of layoff concerns […]

  3. Holly Says:

    Very well said!!! Sometimes we need to step back and look at 2 things. We need to look at the blessings we have (we have a job, we can afford gas no matter how high it is) and we need to look at our debt and how ridiculous it is.

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