America, You Need An Attitude Adjustment

I’ve been unemployed since December of 2008. I had just taken a new job after being wooed by a small company and they insisted they were safe from the economy. On my five week anniversary, I was laid off along with a few others. We were told that a few of the company’s large clients pulled their business and payroll was becoming increasingly hard to meet. So buh-bye, good luck, it’s been fun, really, it wasn’t because of the quality of your work, you’re a great guy and we wish we could keep you, have fun paying your mortgage, you are now a statistic, see yah! I thought I was being cautiously optimistic when I vowed to have a new job by the end of 2008. Here it is, March of 2009 and I’m still spending most of my time and days looking for work.

Let me tell you something – if anyone tells you that the economy isn’t as bad as everyone says it is, they are full of SHIT. Not only are we seeing jobs being lost and companies closing their doors, we are also seeing a different attitude from those companies that are still afloat and the people that are still employed. I keep thinking we’ll be bottoming out soon while the so-called “experts” keep predicting doom and gloom well into 2010. It is becoming increasingly difficult to keep any sort of positive attitude when you know that companies aren’t hiring and of those that are, they are contract or part-time positions.


Why not? If you need a new sofa and you have the money and you’re working, why not head down to your local furniture store and buy that sofa and help keep that guy in business? We’ve always made it a point to buy from our local merchants. These people aren’t like the chain stores and franchises. These people put their livelihood on the line in opening their own business. If you’ve got the money to spend, then spend it! Buy their products, help keep someone in business and help our economy! Help keep your town healthy and help everyone get a little closer to pulling through all this mess.
America, you need an attitude adjustment.

Working a contract for someone like me who is a web developer is a worthless proposition. If the contract goes beyond six months, try getting back onto unemployment when that contract is over. If you take a part-time job you lose your unemployment and make crap for a wage. Another problem I have discovered is that companies are no longer hiring people that have specialized skills. Now they want someone who has that specialized skill PLUS twenty other skills. Then if they find that person, they will offer him a salary that is forty percent below what it should be! A recruiter I have recently worked with calls this type of employee a “purple squirrel”. Just like a purple squirrel, that type of employee doesn’t exist.

That is one reason why it will take this economy longer to rebound than most people think. Jobs that once were plentiful and paid well are now a thing of the distant past. If you used to be in what was once called the upper middle class, you will be forced to languish in the middle or lower-middle class from now on (if you ever find a job again, that is). If you were used to earning a paycheck that allowed you to both pay your bills AND save money every month, forget it. Assuming you can find a job, you won’t be saving any money anymore. Couple that with your IRA’s and 401(K)’s that have lost most of their value over the past year, your retirement doesn’t look so good anymore, does it?

These are things I think most people are aware of. But I have noticed a few other things as well, being that I am on the losing side of the employment equation. I have noticed that the people who have jobs are a little bit snotty about it. It’s like they kind of rub it in your face, all the while taking the fact that they have a job completely for granted. Could this be because I’m extra sensitive because I am unemployed? Maybe, I’m not sure. How about the guy working at Home Depot that has that chip on his shoulder? He thinks he’s got it made because he has a job, yet he doesn’t do it any better than I could. He doesn’t give that level of customer service that he could, or he doesn’t smile or go out of his way to help you, yet he walks around like he’s all set without a care in the world. My wife and I used to go out to dinner quite often. Now it’s a luxury to do so. We have waitresses that still don’t care about doing their job the best they can, they still aren’t necessarily overly nice to us and they have no idea how lucky they are to even have the menial job they have. It seems like I notice this attitude in just about everyone I run into that is employed! Is it just me?

Hiring managers don’t care much, either. If they have five candidates that have all interviewed for a job opening, they don’t give any extra consideration to the ones that don’t have a job. They would just as soon hire the guy that already has a job instead of extending a helping hand to someone out of work if all things were equal. They don’t understand that if they’d give the candidate that is out of work a job, then the economy gets better. One person at a time is all it takes. It’s up to everybody to chip in and lend a hand. Do you think that is a naive position to take?

Up until I lost my job my wife and I always did our part to make sure we contributed to our economy. It’s kind of funny because, having no children, we get walloped every year at tax time by the federal government. But we always made it a point to buy big ticket items when we needed to without ever hesitating. When buying those things, like a new washer and dryer or a car or other expensive things, we always did it with the perspective of helping the economy. We were doing our part even though it was a relatively small part and even though the government was still going to punish us at tax time. These days the people that are working, the people who have the money to spend, are sitting on it and not spending a dime. These people are just as guilty when it comes to our crappy economy as the big companies that waste money and the banks that wrote all the bad mortgages. You can call us stupid, by my wife and I even went out and bought that big flat screen HD TV after I was laid off for four weeks. Sure, the money to buy it came in the form of a Christmas present, but we didn’t sit on that money. Doing that doesn’t help anything.

I guess what I’m really trying to say here is meant for those who have jobs, those with money to spend and those who are responsible for hiring people. My message is:

STOP HOARDING EVERYTHING.

It’s a normal thing during a recession to hoard. It’s the people that HAVE that have the most power to bring us out of this economic slump. Obama creating all these $10 an hour jobs isn’t going to cut it. It’s not going to take billions of dollars being pumped into companies that aren’t run correctly in the first place. It takes those that have the money to keep buying goods and services. It takes those responsible for hiring to keep their workforce at a level where those already working aren’t being stretched beyond their normal work capacity.

It also takes a little bit of compassion for your fellow man. A little bit of pride, patriotism, and the desire to do what is right. Those of us on unemployment aren’t looking for a hand out. We’re looking for a chance to get back to contributing and making a difference no matter how small. America needs to get back to being a country that produces things instead of sending our work overseas. We need to get back to rolling up our sleeves, digging in and creating. We need to get back to being a world leader. We need to get back to being a nation that is proud of our accomplishments and excited about where we’re heading.

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