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Is What’s Going On With The Economy Just A Larger Picture Of The Takers And Givers In Our Own Lives?

Updated on March 10, 2009

I know that a lot of people come to my blog to read something witty, sometimes silly, almost always kvetching, all done from my Jewish gay perspective on life. Well this blog may do all those things but the disclaimer is that it’s probably going to be a little less frivolous than usual so if you’re looking for silly reading today, go here ( I work with some really great people so please don’t think I’m one of those people who post Dilbert cartoons on my computer monitor or watch the show, The Office and go, “Wow, that’s totally my office.” But what I’ve discovered working in the corporate sector for over ten years now (not just at my current job) is that there are people who think they deserve more money, better title, etc. all the while not really doing or contributing that much. And so I began to wonder is what’s going on with the economy just a larger picture of the takers and givers in our own lives? – Don’t Get Me Started!

It may not be at work for you but we all know who the “Takers” are and the “Givers” are around us. If you don’t know the difference allow me to assist you, a “Taker” is someone who doesn’t tell the cashier she’s missed an item, given too much change back or steals a bunch of office supplies under the guise that they’re not paid enough so this is only fair and part of their just “compensation.” A “Giver” tells the cashier she’s missed an item, gives her back the extra change she gave because you don’t want her drawer to be “off” at the end of her shift and often times just uses the same pen at work until it runs out of ink. How does this relate to my idea about the economy?

What my theory is that for a long time we didn’t say anything about the banks loaning us money we knew was more than we could comfortably pay back so we brought our own debt ratios up and those who had more (corporations, banks, etc.) ran up their bill exponentially until suddenly no one had money they only had a bunch of papers telling us how in debt we were (are). Did we think the government or banks or whatever “owed” us the houses we couldn’t afford like the co-worker who steals office supplies? And is it right for us to be so disgruntled that we couldn’t take those “office supplies” and sell them for three times their value to some unsuspecting sucker at our garage sale?

What I’ve learned is that I have always lived beyond my means but I’ve always accepted the responsibility for it. Whether it was a poor credit score or what have you, I never blamed anyone else for my own mistakes. By the same token, I think that allowing credit card companies to jack up interest rates so high is absolutely criminal. Yes, the debt was incurred but should these credit card companies that extended the credit be allowed to make ridiculous profits and keep people slaves where they can never pay off the debt? To those who don’t use credit cards they would say we made our beds (or bought our beds on credit) and so we must lie in them, never being able to pay off the balance of our credit cards. I don’t know who is right on this one.

But what I’m talking about is more fundamental than credit cards, what I’m talking about are the people who feel they deserve big titles, salaries, cars, houses, yachts and yet want to work so very little for it. And you can’t get a better example of this than the executives with the huge severance packages that totally screw up a company, get fired and leave with more money than if they had worked and made the company successful. These people are “Takers” and I’m proud to say that while people may call me a lot of things, I not one of the “Takers.”

When I was young and taking dance class my parents would drop me off and tell me that I was to do everything the teacher told me. In school if there was a problem, my parents looked to me first and the teacher second for responsibility. They didn’t listen to me telling them that the teacher just didn’t like me or was unfair. And when I went to work my father told me that if I agreed to do a job that whether I was getting paid one dollar or one million that if I agreed to do the job I should do it to the best of my ability and never complain about someone making more than me or what have you because that’s what I had agreed to, it was my word and therefore meant my honor and showed my character. (He also taught me to stick up for myself if I was being taken advantage of by anyone.)

I got out of teaching kids dance (even though I loved it) because parents would complain that I was “hurting their child’s self-esteem” if I made even the slightest correction to what they were doing (usually to make sure they weren’t hurting themselves by doing something incorrectly). Time and time again I hear my friends tell me that their kid’s teachers are just idiots and nothing is their child’s fault. (Perhaps that’s why we have a deteriorating educational system and teachers are so grossly under paid and undervalued?) And I can’t tell you how many people I have worked with over the years who do nothing but complain about what they’re paid even though they don’t really want to work they feel they deserve a larger compensation package, bigger title and more time off.

Look, I’m not perfect by any stretch of the imagination and while I wouldn’t turn up my nose if I was suddenly independently wealthy and didn’t have to work anymore, there’s a large part of me that likes the feeling of working and it even makes me feel better about myself. I’m not a saint but I’m not a “Taker” and I wonder is what’s going on with the economy just a larger picture of the takers and givers in our own lives? – Don’t Get Me Started!

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    • Stacie Naczelnik profile image

      Stacie Naczelnik 8 years ago from Seattle

      Scott, I think all of your hubs are insightful, but this one especially is. I think you hit the nail on the head with the givers -v- takers in relation to the problems with our economy. Sure, the "system" has problems and corruptions, but we also need to take individual responsibility for our actions and decisions. When I have children, I plan on raising them to take responsibility and not automatically put blame elsewhere. I also strive to live everyday by taking responsibility for my own life. Values = Choices = Consequences