Every pundit has made their comments on the state of the (now) world economic meltdown, the presidential candidates, their VP selections, and how Harvard and MIT graduates are afraid they might not find a job.
After 4 plus years blogging my little heart out on issues affecting the careers of boomers and 50 plussers, giving advice freely, and looking at creative ways to overcome career obstacles, I actually am not sure what I can possibly say right now. The elephant in the room was always the rampant age discrimination. But now…yikes…all of the next generation is going to be fiercely scrabbling for jobs and the out of work boomers and 50 plussers are really in a pickle.
I’m ALWAYS an optimist and even I’m having a tough time seeing past the next decade or so. What really made me laugh (that would be a sarcastic, cynical kind, not a haha kind) was listening to financial experts advising people to secure their next FIVE years of financial need by taking that money OUT of the stock market and putting it INTO the money market. I’m sorry…but are you laughing, too? Who HAS FIVE years of good, hard cash squirreled away anywhere?
There is SUCH a disconnect between those with oodles of money and the rest of us, that you don’t even have to draw a line in the sand. There is a Grand Canyon between “them” and “us”. I have literally received hundreds of emails over the past few years from people in their late 40’s to their mid-70’s who have used up their money reserves, have no health insurance, are losing their homes and with the best of intentions and incredible work ethics CANNOT find work. How will that play out now?
Some of you will remember living as a WWII baby, with rationing and little money for any extras. My mother had two skirts, 2 blouses and 1 sweater. She wore them through high school because her family had no money for clothing. When it was time for her to go to her first sorority ball and she had no dress, my grandmother used all the grocery money for the month to get my mother her first cocktail gown. My mom wore them with her aunt’s shoes, too big for her, with newspaper stuffed in the toes so she wouldn’t fall out of them. They had soup for a month.
Is that where we are headed once again? I mean TV is going digital in February and unless you have a converter or cable or satellite, you’ll be out of luck. Well, I may be out of luck, because if I need the money, I’ll be cancelling my satellite service. As will many, many others. The whole thought of needing cable because of HD signal just seems so…bizarre, given that I may end up wearing only sweater, 2 skirts and two blouses for the next 5 years.
I was always amused at the hoarding habits of my parents — saving elastic bands and wire hangers, individual nails and screws, small amounts of leftovers, keeping old clothes from decades prior because they were “good quality” even though completely out of fashion. And now, here I am, using containers for my daughter’s lunches instead of ziplocs, cleaning my own house instead of hiring someone to do it for me, planning my driving routes to conserve on fuel consumption, meeting friends for a coffee (at one of our homes) instead of a lunch out.
In my neck of the woods, just this past weekend, a father murdered his entire family and then killed himself due to the financial duress he was under. That child attended my daughter’s school. And I can’t get the story out of my head. People are generally very resiliant, so what is going on?
In my optimistic heart, maybe what will come out of this disastrous falling of an empire, will be better…closer families pooling resources, innovation and creativity as more and more 50 plussers start their own businesses (focusing on customer service more than product) because they can’t get someone to hire them, more focus on limiting oneself to spending cash at hand than credit tendered.
Tonight is Yom Kippur — the start of the day of atonement for all Jews. The next 24 hours will be a time of reflection, asking God for forgiveness, forgiving others and rejoicing in a clean slate for the year ahead. My day of fasting will be with a heavy heart, because the slate really can’t be clean right now. We all know that we are heading into a tough, tough year ahead.