There it is… that “dirty” word… Consumer. But that’s where those that analyze the economy want to classify me. I’m also a “worker” and I suppose I have a few other classifications that I fall under. Here I am on a Monday morning, home with a sick child and fully aware that I don’t have enough time accrued for the time away from work, but here nonetheless because being “Mother” is my number one job.
Status check: We are hearing now that the governor of our state is pushing for a 5% rollback of state employees salaries. My position is feeling tentative these days as I am fully aware that my job is really not a necessary thing for the running of my office.
Todd and I have set the “drop dead” date for him leaving his current part-time job. I have watched his health go downhill and I’ve watched the impact it’s had on my health, too. And worse yet, it’s impacting his school. His precalc prof even told him he needs to get out of there.
Sounds crazy right? Why the hell would he leave a decent job at this point? Especially when my job might not seem to be on firm ground and even worse, when I run the risk of getting a big pay cut.
We’ve got the plan in place and can make it work because of a few things that set us outside of the issues other folks are facing. We’re finally eligible for Pell Grant and Workstudy this coming academic year, so Todd will be getting both. The other thing we’ve got going is the increase in small, part-time jobs now. This is typical in the cycle of the academic year and no, they don’t pay much… but that’s all Todd’s had for the last 2 years anyway.
I’m focusing our budget on hanging on to as much as we can at this point.
But here’s the weird thing… I was looking at those job postings that Todd’s applying for – little jobs that don’t pay much, but are still hiring anyway, and I felt that shift. I watch the job boards weekly anyway and I’ve noticed the changes that are gradually happening. There are just a few jobs more now.
No. I don’t think we’re out of the woods. And remember, I’m not trained in this area, but I am representative of one of the biggest drivers of our economy – the consumer (hence the blog title… AHA!).
No. I’m not going to be out buying up a storm. But if my mood and attitude towards things can start changing, even in the face of those mind-bogglingly ridiculous bonus payouts by AIG (how the hell that was justified, I have NO freaking idea), well then… things could be turning.
Consider this… Our economy is like the biggest ship you can imagine. When it’s headed on a bad path it can take a long, slow time to come about. Perhaps this is just the smallest nudge that it’s coming about. And it could certainly go off the course to health again. I have no doubt about that one.
For right now, though, I feel this sense of movement (no matter how small). Am I digging into hope? Am I being optimistic? Perhaps. Maybe I need to be optimistic now. Maybe I just can’t sit here, thinking that things are hopeless… because that’s where I was for a long time.
I’m working hard on my studies and I’m doing the best I can to look after my family. I’m working two jobs, at least until the end of the month. I’m staying at my job, even in the face of my apparent uselessness there (and perhaps I’m being hard on myself about that one). I’m doing what I need to do. Todd is going to hang in there at his job until June 1, unless a new job crops up for him before then.
So my consumer’s intuition is that things might be turning about, ever so slowly. We’ll see more layoffs and more contraction this year. And we won’t see jobs recovery for several years… but I think we’ll begin to turn it around. It may happen DESPITE the stupid decisions made by individuals, business, and political leaders. I also don’t think things will ever go back to what they looked like before.
We need to learn from those mistakes and take a better direction. Will we? You just never know. Sometimes we, as a species, need to do things wrong over and over until it FINALLY sinks in that we need to change.
I’d love to see that sense of change come now.
Cheers on a Monday morning,