Friday, June 12, 2009

Anecdotal evidence. We are getting Real.

When I think about "green shoots", the ebbing of job loss could be one of those statistics I could point to.  Or a slight uptick in consumer spending? Sure, that could be a sign of a turn around. A rally on wall street?  Well, that might be good for some businesses and retirees .

But there are other, more ominous signs, that I think we need to pay attention to. 

Hope? Sure I have hope. But I don't have the same hope of returning to the over consumptive lifestyles we are evolving out of.

Now, this I know.  We live in insecure times. Many folks are losing their jobs. Much of the safety net is eroding as state budgets get slashed with each budget shortfall. The pain and hardship of many is real.  

But I have a couple of stories to share with you.

There is a woman who attends my church.  She is a few years out of college. Last fall, she found herself unemployed. She is fortunate that her life experience was much different than many of her peers. She was raised in an off grid home. She has helped her mother plant a large garden every year.  So, she lives with her parents and helps them out around the homestead. She was raised to save money. So, she had enough money in savings to cover her expenses ( student loan, car payment and cell phone. Her parents do not have a phone). She has worked hard over the last 9 months to find a job. Many resumes have been sent out. Few interviews have been scheduled.  A couple of weeks ago, someone wanted to hire her to clean their house.  She has had several odd jobs during this period of time. She joked that maybe she did not have to worry about full employment because she was able to keep enough odd jobs to keep her savings in her account. She is living in the informal economy.  This past week we were talking and she mentioned that her sister was concerned about how she was filling her time. She quipped, " My life is too busy to have a job.  I have too many hobbies."

Yesterday, I was at the grocery store hunting for canning jar lids.  While in the check out line, a woman that I know from the craft fair circuit got in line behind me.  Our small talk revealed that she is a new grandmother and she lost her job 3 months ago. I asked how it was going she said," Great! I've expanded my garden. I have all this time now to help my daughter and my new granddaughter and I am giving more time to my craft."

When I think of "green shoots" I don't pay attention to  the number so much. The numbers are abstract and easily manipulated.  When I think of "green shoots" I think of these women who; when faced with the economic reality of our times, take green shoots and turn them into blooms. 



Wendy said...

Great post! I love that you have real-life stories about stuff that's happening and how it's affecting real people ... but mostly how those people are taking what could be a bad situation and making it positive for them.

Down here, I see a lot of desparation - a lot of people struggling to stay in the formal economy. There are a lot of worn-out faces and tired eyes.

Anna M said...

While I have been self employed for 15 years the previous self employment was a much better paycheck than the one we are getting now. We've gone from semi-formal to downright informal or grunge *g* and while there are days I really miss the old life for the most part this one is more fulfilling. Harder but definitely better on the soul.

Kathy said...

Ah, those last two paragraphs say it all. ;)