March 28, 2009 at 12:16 AM
Misery loves company, and I believe we're all in good company these days, when it comes to the economy. The stories are everywhere: orchestras asking musicians to play for free, artists reducing their fees, people losing their jobs, students quitting due to financial problems, financial aid drying up, teachers receiving pink slips, concerts being canceled.
Are you carrying around a bag of worries? Well, unload for a moment, check all the problems that apply, and we shall commiserate. We'll use the comments below to vent, gripe, and try to encourage each other.
The things that happened to me aren't on the list. I work in a lab that does Parkinson's disease research, and we lost two research grants last year totaling over half a million dollars in research funds from private foundations. One of them was from the Picower foundation, who made the news when they had to close due to the Madoff scandal. What this has meant practically for our lab is more work: writing more grant proposals chasing fewer and fewer dollars. The stress level in the lab has gone up in general, people are worried about their futures and not finding jobs. But we are well aware that it could be worse, and generally grateful to be employed in meaningful work.
Music-wise, this year is the Arlington Philharmonic's 75th anniversary, and it is sponsorship drive time. I've never been good at asking for money, but I tried at a neighborhood store that had sponsored us in the past. I showed them their ad from last year. They said "sorry, with the economy the way it is, we have to pass on that this year." Sounds like a little thing, but it was discouraging enough that I haven't been able to get up the courage to try again anywhere else.
Laurie, you might want to add "My pension fund sunk like The Titanic", or, "My 401K isn't worth much anymore" to the list...
Everything in my life is great. Of course, I didn't have anything to lose so I feel bad for those that have lost things. Let's hope Obama's economic recovery plan starts paying off for someone besides AIG executives.
Certainly the economy has slown down. The electrical contractor that I work for has starting splitting time. We all take turns being laid off so that the company can keep functioning until work breaks. It certainly has not been easy. I am taking my second turn with unemployment, but I am holding on to a positive outlook.
No matter what happens, I have a unique , important and defined purpose to fulfill in this lifetime. No economy, sickness, tragedy, job, nor anything else can take that away from me. We ALL have a unique purpose to fill on this Earth. We CAN face tragedy and retain our dignity despite whatever circumstances we face. We can live in such a manner that we "can be worthy of our sufferings". If a holocaust survivor can live by that credo, than we surely shall overcome this poor economic tide.
Besides that, isn't the soil tilled and weeded just prior to the bountiful harvest. The garden or field does not look like much right after it is groomed for harvest. But contrast that with harvest time, the field is in full bloom and you see it is fulfilling its purpose. We are in tilling mode but the harvest is just around the corner.
A friend of mine reminded me that " there are fewer casuals and orchestras aren't using as many subs," very true, at least in the LA area.
So far we have yet to have a hirring freeze. Wyoming is currently the State least affected by the recession. in time, however, we will be affected. It's like lighting a fuse to a stick of explosives, it'll eventually burn down to the keg! And then 'BOOM'. And, custodians fill a need regardless of the economy. There are the exceptions.
I have coworkers that were investing through the University, a retirement plan that hinged on the stock market. Gone! 401 Ks.... gone. my dad lost $50,000 over night.... gone, however since he retired as cheif project manager at Fort Carson he has some protection. And he has investments in other things so they are doing well inspite of turns for the worst.
My mom spent 2 hours in surgery last Monday and is recovering. fortunately the goverment is covering the bulk of the expenses. i pray for so many not as fortunate!
Well, financial aid for school is beginning to come into question, but so far the only tangible effect on me is I'm exponentially more irritated at the price of strings. I mean, come ON, Pirastro, a fiddler has to eat!!
Our 401k is virtually worthless, we have had to take most of our savings out to keep the business a float, but we are still alive and money still comes in. Hopefully, we will be able to replace the money lost. I'm starting to get too old to keep trying to replace it. I've been thinking about stopping my violin lessons, but that is a painful thought. I have a fabulous teacher and I really don't want to lose her and I'm afraid if I stop for a while.....I'll stop forever.
Volcanos and root canals are my biggest economic downturn at present.
The greatest impact for me is relatively trivial - an increase in the price of box sets due to the pound's poor exchange rate. (On the other hand they should be cheaper if you are in the eurozone or the US and buying from the UK).
In most other respects it feels as if we have experienced deflation in the last month or so. Prices of everyday goods have been reduced to keep money flowing through the economy.
We are not doing too badly here in Canada, but government is making cuts on hiring and is not filing vacant positions. This means fewer opportunities for me to move around. It's time to cultivate patience and skills for dealing with WAFIs (wind aided flaming **~:).
I personally feel that this economic crisis will level itself out. For myself, I want for very little, even though I possess nothing of any value, excepting my Faith, and to a degree, my limited health, mind and talents. We should not depend so much on those who would save us with vain words and usless promises to achieve nothing but false hopes, resulting in worst fears and actions, but rather we have to tackle the beast head-on ourselves. We created the problem ourselves by wanton spending and high living with money that did not exist in the first place.
My logical social observations leads me to believe that we, as a nation, will have to become both more frugal and assist one another in charity and sharing the blessings we each possess, much like we had to do during the Great Depression. Talk to someone who has experienced that time in history, and they will tell you that it was a necessity that neighbors helped each other. We survived it and came out with stronger values than those of the 1920's.These values continued on after WWll, but, as humans are so wont to do, we began a slow deciline into selfishness and liberal lifestyles around the late 1960's. People of an older generation then were understandably worried at the state of a future in the hands of their own children, and rightly so. History has seemingly proven them correct in their assessments of the future. Yet, we should also guard ourselves against excessive fear and worry, as this only fuels the greed of some to take advantage of the fear of others, and we will see much more of this before it is over. Instead one needs to replace one's fear, when it rears it's ugly head, with that of fortitude and sacrifice, and one will be certainly the better for it in the long run.
History notes that certain disasters, whether they be natural, economical or political, tend to strengthen a collective people. Those who have will learn how it feels to be those who have not. Those who have not are not as affected by economic downturns, as they possess the useful ability adapt to such changes by experience.
The bottom line of such an event can only aid in educating the young in certain lifestyles that foster an appreciation for the finer, and simple, things that life has to offer. American values will return as commonplace practice, and hopefully oust out the "me" attitude ( and those who insist on that erronous moral school of thought) that has reigned for far too long. We often fail to see the blessings in disguise, even when it wears a dismal mask.
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