Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Taking Wing

Even the skillful and attractive sometimes have to rely on the kindness of strangers.

          I’m not kidding, and I’m not making this stuff up. I’ve been looking for another job for just over 2 years now. I’ve known how difficult this is going to be for a long time. So has everyone else among the long-term unemployed. The rest of the world seems to be just waking up to the ugly truth. This includes many economists who should have predicted this months and months ago.
The economy is a different animal than it used to be. A lot of the jobs that were lost in 2008 and 2009 are not coming back, not ever. Every day you hear about companies doing more with less, getting the same revenues and higher profitability with fewer employees, and certainly with fewer high-priced American workers with their attendant benefits and tax burden.
Jobless saps like me might wish that these companies would hire Americans back to do the jobs they used to do. That would be crazy though. Why would they? If they staff back up with high priced labor, they won’t be able to compete in the global market place. They’d just have to let everyone go again when they were forced to idle capacity or even shut down for lack of sales. For the same reason it would be folly for the government to either mandate or artificially incentivize this kind of re-hiring. As a solution it only delays the agony.
This being the case, it’s up to us displaced workers to come up with a Plan-B that fits the new reality. For me this means becoming a writer as soon as possible. I can't wait for the economy to recover, not that that is likely to help me anyway, and I surely can’t wait for Congress to fix it for me. Those bozos seem committed to remaining mired in grid-lock forever. I have to do something now. How could I not?
A person possessed of deeper faith than I might rely on God to provide: “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?” (Matt 6:26) I happen to believe this promise on principle, but I also believe that God provides wherewithal more often than he provides pure serendipity. He gave the birds keen eyes and quick wings to enhance their foraging. Me he gave a quick wit and a flair for words—maybe not to the extent He did for Shakespeare—but adequate to my needs I think. My job is to make something of it, and if I fail, well…there’s always that serendipity. Even preening little dandies like the painted bunting occasionally find that someone has hung out a great hulking bin of seeds for them.

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