Sign O The Times: I Can Feel the Recession Everywhere

Photo of a recently laid off personIt’s the holiday season but it’s not a joyous time for a lot of people.  I can feel the recession everywhere.

  • Every time I get together with friends, someone says, “I have a friend who just got laid off.  S/he is terrific, can you help?”
  • A buddy who runs a medium-sized government contracting firm was asked by a government agency to submit a letter from their bank saying they were in good financial standing; this, despite a history of working together that spans many, many years.
  • Every single candidate we interviewed for a recent Network Administrator position had recently been laid off.
  • While shopping at Harris Teeter this morning, the guy at the deli counter said, “It’s been really slow.  I hope it gets busy soon.  We need the customers.”
  • Several holiday cards from friends who run businesses say they are bracing for a tough 2009.
  • While looking at office space for a potential move, we’ve seen downward movement in prices, despite Old Town supposedly being a very strong market.
  • After reviewing proposals, many clients are saying, “This is great, but can we scale back the scope or phase out the work over two years?”

Sign ‘o the times, I guess.  I count my blessings every day.  I hope you and your loves ones are safe, warm and joyous during this holiday season.  Happy Holidays and here’s to a better 2009 and a market recovery.

4 thoughts on “Sign O The Times: I Can Feel the Recession Everywhere

  1. Maybe we need to pull back a little. Maybe the sign of the times is telling us that waste and abundance is not such a good thing. Looking at what we spend and saying, “Maybe I don’t need to purchase this or perhaps I could give away something to the needy,” feels good to me. Maybe we no longer need to live on credit. For too long many of us have run up our credit cards, re-financed our homes and leased our cars. Why? Having less may not be so bad. Having less and owing less actually feels kind of good.

    This year for Christmas, I plan to give to others and cut up my credit cards!

  2. Thank you for your comment. I read an article in last week’s NYTimes that talked about how American is one big ponzi scheme. “Ever wonder how your neighbors bought their fancy house, furniture and cars? Perhaps now we know; it was purchased with debt.”

    Ever since working at The Motley Fool many years ago, my husband and I learned to manage our money, living within our means, and eliminate credit card debt. This year’s market correction (for that’s what it is) is painful and I can’t bear to open my statements, but our quality of life has not been affected.

    This year for the holidays, I am grateful that my family is together. We’re celebrating being together and the presents are mainly for the kids and grandma, my mom. Thank you for your perspective.

  3. Ha… now I feel bad for sending you that email! ;)

    Speaking of not living beyond your means, I guess that’s what companies are trying to do when they lay people off. Sometimes when I think about companies and offices in general, I get really confused as to why they need as many employees as they have. The number of employees who don’t actually seem to do that much work is astounding. However, what’s pretty heartbreaking is that a lot of the people getting laid off are people who do a lot of good work — support workers like network admins as you mentioned, designers, people who truly enjoy what they do, instead of people who stare at a computer screen for eight or nine hours a day and trolling Facebook… or making comments to your blog during work hours. Whoops, guilty as charged.

  4. Thanks for your comment. I agree that companies, much like individuals, must live within their means. That said, companies face a couple of challenges that individuals do not: 1) growing companies need credit to expand and finance that expansion and 2) companies can be subject to wild swing in demand for their products, as well as dips in sales and cash flow. I’ve seen companies that are doing great on paper go under because they ran out of cash. During a recession, cash is king because customers will inevitably slow pay.

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