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Our Reaction to a Bad Economy

Updated on October 23, 2010
RGraf profile image

Rebecca Graf is a seasoned writer with nearly a decade of experience and degrees in accounting, history, and creative writing.

What an economy! Jobs are multiplying. Money is flowing into everyone’s pockets. The housing market is booming. Oops! Sorry. I sort of went back in time there for a minute, or was it to some imaginary Utopia?

Where Do You Stand

If you have found yourself in financial trouble, have you been creative in making some?

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The Differences

The economy sucks! I think we can all agree to that. Jobs are being lost left and right. Bankruptcies are rising in number. The cost of everything is jumping up every week or two. Governmental decisions that are supposed to help are actually pulling us deeper into the economic hole each person is finding themselves in. This is not the first time this kind of economy has occurred. In fact, it is not yet the worst. What makes this one so different? Why are people not able to pull themselves up out of it like our grandparents did?

Today’s average person is spoiled. Yes, I say spoiled. We have had so many things easy compared to those that have gone before us. There have been so many job fields available to people. Interest rates were low and loans were easy to get to buy cars, houses, or anything else. Money was spent everywhere. We learned to live the life of Riley or at least have fun getting there.

When the financial stability we thought we had fell away and we found ourselves falling into a hole seemingly bottomless, we froze. What were we to do? We had no job. Jobs that we can find are low paying. Food costs too much. We need new things. We were hit with the truth that survival instincts had been removed from the majority of people.

During the depression and other lean times, money was scarce. Times were tough. Jobs could not be found. Money was not to be found for the basic of needs. How did they make it? How did they survive? They pulled themselves up and used what they had. They found a way.

As jobs were lost, most people decades ago looked for jobs just like we are doing. Just like us, they found jobs hard to come by. Unlike us, they got off the couch our walked away from the computer (or their version of) and did not wait on the jobs to come to them. They made jobs out of nothing. It was not unheard of someone gathering worms and selling them to fishermen for a few cents. Those cents added up and bought a loaf of bread. They took jobs working on roads. They did not moan that the pay was too low compared to what they were making. The attitude was twenty cents was better than nothing. Thoughts went about on how they could make a few cents. Creativity was called on. Were they good at carpentry? They hired themselves out as a handyman. Women took in laundry. They figured out a way to keep their heads above water. None of it led to riches, but it kept them alive and gave them a sense of accomplishment.

How do we react today to the economic decline? We mostly sit around and collect unemployment. We wait for a job that paid the exact same as the one before or better. No wasting time with jobs that only pay three dollars an hour. We want fifteen an hour. Better to have none and hold out than to take what we can. Nothing is better than something. Very few begin looking for ways to cut costs to save. We still want the life we had before. We want… We want…. We want…..

Recently, I was talking with someone on how I have been bringing a little extra in to help here and there. Am I bringing in a thousand a week? No. I might not bring a thousand a month. But I bring in some. This person heard how much I made on one writing job and the amount of time it took to do it. “That is not enough per hour. I need something more than that.” Well, they bring in nothing and I can bring in a couple of hundred every two weeks with 3 hours maximum a day dedicated to it. Do I want to do this forever? No. But until I get a job that pays me more, it is money coming in and helps pay for the kids’ school clothes.

There are people out there looking for creative ways to bring in the money. They are not sitting around angry and depressed that they got laid off. They are willing to work odd jobs or search the internet for opportunities to bring in a few bucks. Having a rummage sale brought one woman $200 dollars. $200 more than she had the day before and it only took a few hours. Another man realizes that he had some things up in the attic to place on sale. He cleaned out his house and get extra money. One woman took up odd cleaning jobs. That extra cash bought her children their Christmas presents. Did they make living wages? No. They made enough to purchase some needed items and pay off a few bills that would not have paid otherwise.

Many a person has found a way to start their own businesses during down times. They found niches that they had never noticed and took a chance. What did they have to lose? Nothing. What could they gain? At the very least experience. At the most a new way to make a living.

Maybe your area would do good with a portable sandwich shop. Why not give it a try? It’s money coming in and could lead to something bigger. Do you make unique items that could sell online? Then why aren’t you doing it? Are you a good writer? There are so many ways to make money writing. Do not expect fame and fortune over night or even in the first year, but you can make a little. It is more than you had.

Too many people today still go everyday to their fancy coffee shops and have their daily $6 drink. No job, but great tasting coffee. You do not want the coffee shops to go out of business, but cut back on how much you go. Find ways to save electricity. How can you save on the grocery bill? Grow your own produce. Go to discount stores. How can you save money on gas? Ride a bike around town or walk. Do you really need that big of a cell phone plan? Be realistic. What do you need to survive?

Pull Yourself Up

Today’s generation has not stretched themselves and found the various ways to survive and avoid bankruptcy. They think it should always be easy. Ask your grandparents. Life is never easy and you have to be ready to be creative to survive. We have put so much creativity to developing better electronics but have forgotten the knowledge of doing things ourselves like growing tomatoes or walking three blocks to the drug store.

Why are there stories still being told of despair over the economy? Because very few are refusing to let despair take over. Those that are not in the news are the ones that are not going to let the world pull them down. They are going to survive by their own ingenuity and determination. We’ve lost the good old sense of pride in ourselves.


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    • omaharealestatene profile image

      omaharealestatene 6 years ago from Omaha, NE

      Great Information... I am definately voting this one up...

    • profile image

      boydshunn 7 years ago

      I enjoyed reading your hub, it was well written.

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 7 years ago from Upstate New York

      Terrific hub. I agree, wholeheartedly. We (Americans) tend to cry in our beer WAY TOO MUCH because things aren't like they used to be and that cushy, overpaid job holding down a desk with a computer sitting on it has gone west...

      Along with all the benefits...

      One time, when I was in my struggling twenties, I was working in a low-paid factory job at night and going to college during the day. I had to come up with a security deposit for a new apartment, and it was tough. I was just barely making it as it was. What I did?? I went and hustled some guys at playing eight-ball pool in the local beer joint. I walked away $300 richer, because they were drunk and I was not, and they all had the male attitude that women can't play pool as good as men.

      That was fun, though slightly illegal, so I never did it again. I got what I wanted--the money for the security deposit for the new apartment, and thanked my lucky stars that the last game, for $100 bucks, went my way--the guy put the eight ball in the wrong pocket.

    • profile image

      Jalus 7 years ago

      Great hub. We have to be willing to go above and beyond to make our way through this mess.

    • Cari Jean profile image

      Cari Jean 7 years ago from Bismarck, ND

      Part of the problem is too many people rely on the government and don't take responsibility for themselves. This is a great hub with lots of insight.

    • izettl profile image

      Lizett 7 years ago from The Great Northwest

      Awesome hub! When the going gets tough I get creative. I lost my job at the very beginning of this mess in '08 and that was half our household income- HALF! I thought we're doomed. I got unemployment for a while- it ran out and I got creative. I've been writing like crazy and started doing it as a hobby since being unemployed. By the way, it was really nice having a hobby after years of overtime and slaving for extra money. I've always loved writing so started doing it again after many years. Now I make a part-time income doing random writing jobs and I get to stay home with my 3 yr old.

      I find those who come out a better person after tragedies or hardships very inspiring. I make it a habit to read about such stories. I wrote a couple hubs about money issues and our mentality- sad stuff.You said it right- SPOILED. My family has given up some luxuries but amazingly I'm doing more stuff I enjoyed doing when I was a kid- writing, making cheap crafts with my daughter, going to the park more cause it's free. On a sunny I day I used to go shopping, but now I go play outside.

    • allpurposeguru profile image

      David Guion 7 years ago from North Carolina

      My parents and grandparents lived through the Great Depression. My dad's mother figured if she had to go to work, she might as well learn something useful and enjoyable. She became an expert cake decorator and dipper of chocolate candies, both skills that she could operate out of her home as well as at the stores. As a result, all of her grandchildren and most of her great-grandchildren make chocolate candies.

      Here are some things they didn't have back then: 24/7 news and entertainment media, government entitlements, a sense of personal entitlement, towns and neighborhoods designed to discourage walking, the "bowling alone" pattern. . .

      Thanks for writing this hub and encouraging your readers to accept personal responsibility rather than wait for someone else to hand them something.

    • fred allen profile image

      fred allen 7 years ago from Myrtle Beach SC

      Your suggestions will not only lead to economic health, but physical health as well. I live in a neighborhood where the mailboxxes are grouped together in the front of the community. It is very rare that I see anyone walk to the mailbox.

    • eovery profile image

      eovery 7 years ago from MIddle of the Boondocks of Iowa

      May dad always said the banks created the first depression and they will cause the second. And they did.

      Keep on hubbing!

    • American Romance profile image

      American Romance 7 years ago from America

      Funny how quickly things change, As a child my mother canned foods from the garden in our back yard! All winter we had black eyed peas, green beans, and jellies from our fruit trees! My dad shot deer and elk, and we never missed a meal!.........I doubt few men today could take care of their families the way we did! ........sad

    • samsons1 profile image

      Sam 7 years ago from Tennessee

      voted up & beautiful! Amen, very good article, well written, enticing and to the point. America has become lazy. We need to wake up and smell the coffee...