Friday, April 3, 2009

Don't Panic!

Well, we are into a recession.

I haven't blogged much about this much because I feel like I'm still waiting it out. How bad is this thing? Perception is in the eye of the beholder. For me it doesn't seem too bad. As a counselor, bad economic times don't really affect me much (in fact, bad times may actually increase the number of people seeking counseling). My other short term job (as adjunct faculty at Prov) isn't really effected either although there have been recent layoffs of some full time faculty. My rental property is still going strong and my equity in my houses hasn't been affected too badly (if at all) as Winnipeg/Manitoba has one of the strongest real estate markets in Canada right now. Seriously there are still lots of "offer to purchase on ____" out there which says that although we aren't in a seller's market, we aren't in a buyer's market here either. Most of the time I feel fairly secure in things. I am quite interested to see how many companies are "culled" by the forces of capitalism though. Will GM and Chrysler die? Fascinating (although morbid) stuff. I thank God that I have never invested in stocks though!

How's this recession thing affecting you? What are you seeing?

I recently read The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams which is an excellent book. His advice, which I am trying to take to heart and is pasted in big letters on the outside of the mythical book is "Don't Panic!" Simple and good advice. The book itself is amazing; a piece of genius writing really. The fact that the title was conceived by the author as he lay drunk in a field somewhere in England fits perfectly with the overall feel of the book. It was the first sci-fi comedy and its written in a deliciously dry British wit. What really impresses is the creativity that the author has and how he plays with existential and scientific themes in ways that are completely unforseeable. Seriously, every serious reader should read this book at least once. A "trilogy in four parts," the first parts are the best. When you read it, you get the same kind of sense as when you read Lord of The Rings for the first time; everyone has copied this. So many of the ideas/concepts in Hitchhiker were borrowed by other authors. And isn't imitation the sincerest form of flattery?

Anyway, I think "Don't panic" applies to almost everything. How can panicking ever help you? Panic is a poor substitution for thinking and acting. Panic is like a favorite short term coping mechanism. Like alcohol, one night stands, drugs, porn, or overeating; it feels good enough to help you forget/dull the pain/numb the emptiness but eventually you come back to real life and your problems are still there. I feel for the many people who have lost money in investments or even lost their jobs - this is a painful time. But solutions will present themselves to even those who are hardest hit - it's not the end of the world. Right?

1 comment:

Moxymama said...

Here things are pretty bad. People continue to lose jobs at an alarming rate and I fear it will only get worse before it gets better. After my husband left teaching he began working for Chrysler until our economy sank. We suffered greatly and my husband began looking for another job, which thankfully he found. Because his current job is at a University it is fairly secure, although the overtime he was getting has been scaled back. It's scary because I don't know what the right answer is to fix things. I wonder if throwing more money after bad will truly make a difference, but I also know if we allow all these companies to fail it will kill our economy. Very unsettling here in the States.