Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Economy

I’ve been meaning to write a blog post about the economy for awhile. The economy is affecting the bulk of us in some way, either directly or indirectly. I know a few people who have had to get second jobs, some people who are downsizing their living arrangements. And some people who seem devastated by the economy. I can honestly say those (who seem devastated by it) that I know… they are devastated by everything. So they don’t really count in this scenario, because even if life is going along swimmingly, they don’t get that either.

I have always been a survivor. Not necessarily one to make waves, or execute grand change in the big picture. But I will come out of things just fine, thank you very much. The difference, I believe, is my attitude. I have the ability to think outside the box, and to know that there’s always a little more I can do.

I read an article yesterday titled "It’s not the economy". It was one of the best messages I’ve read in awhile, totally pertinent to me—selling items online. Even if you don’t sell online though, I urge you to read it.

I am surrounded by negativity about the economy. I went on a news fast long ago, however when you live with someone who watches the news, tracks, etc. and insists on discussing it, it’s difficult to ignore (though I must admit I usually tune it out). Same thing at work, plus I’m in a construction field and jobs have dropped off the map.

So… negativity is swirling all around me. Lots of days my online shop has no sales. I have hours of idle time at work (really though, that’s just more time for me to market my shop). I hear on a daily basis both from work and from home what the stock market is doing. Yet, inside, I stay upbeat. I remain hopeful.

I honestly believe that attitude can bring on karmic retribution. If you are a downhearted, self-piteous bastard, I really think life’s gonna throw those lemons at you hard and fast. Why wouldn’t it??? You expect it. Conversely, if you can see that the economy is down right now, but still be thankful for each and everything you have, and be constantly working to improve your skills and work habits, then my belief is that you’ll be fine.

So… are you a glass is half empty kinda person? If so, I have a question for you. Why do you insist on talking about that constantly? Is it your goal to bring everyone down to your way of thinking? I can tell you right now that I won’t be joining you any time in the future. So, if you only want pity, keep on walking by. If you’d like to have an honest exchange of ideas (not some self-pitying rant disguised as a plea for help), please comment. That train of thought does not have to continue, really.

Are you a glass half full kind of person? Then I have a question for you. What do you do to counter the negativity? How do you think outside the box to compensate for what’s going on in the economy, in your jobs, in your homes, etc. I’d love to hear some ideas, some thoughts, and I can tell you already that I will be doing a follow up post to this.

I you agreed, or disagreed with anything I’ve said, please let me know. If you think this would be relevant to anyone you know, please link to it. Let’s get a conversation started, let’s network and band together. Let’s throw our ideas into the pot and cook up a stew, and then let’s serve it to all who need it. What say you?


Cari Dunn said...

Amen sistah! I think if everyone would stop talking about how bad the economy is we'd see it isn't as bad as everyone says. I'm enjoying the lower prices and great bargains. We've been able to buy a much larger house, new vehicles, and buy so many little things because the prices are down so much. Last weekend I went shopping in a very affluent shopping center. The restaurants had hours long waits for $20/person meals, there was a 30 minute wait for Build A Bear and every one of the 100s of people had multiple shopping bags. The economy can't be that bad if people are out spending like that!

Unknown said...

Here, Here and thank you. I get by because I know and it may sound reminiscent of a childs fairytale but good will triumph. We will prevail...I have to believe the common good will right in small measures. We won't have a teaparty, but we will prevail....

Pooh to all the naysayers adn talking heads, be part of a solution instead of a problem.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you. Let's be positive; all this negativity is making things worse.

Positive "is" the word.

Cindy Davis said...

I am fortunate to have learned a while back that my personal economic situation doesn't control my level of joy or happiness.

My immediate family hasn't felt felt the crunch as much as some others, but we usually lived modest lifestyle while our friends and neighbors seemed to be spending, spending, spending.

I drive a Honda Fit because I want to. It makes sense for me. I don't feel the need to show off.

We still have the same 11 year old big black box TV because it still works. Flat screens are nice, yes, but we just don't waste money on stuff we don't actually need.

I believe joy comes from God, and half empty glass people are unhappy and gripe all the time regardless of their situation. The only fix for them is a change inside their heart. (think of Grinch whole stole Christmas here.)

I also think Americans are spoiled as heck and need a reality check anyway. We suck too many resources and throw out too many valuable things.

Wake up obese, spoiled, lazy America! It is time to rebuild our nation ourselves, quit sitting around waiting for your government handout!

There is an old redneck country song, can't remember the name of it, here the chorus:

" I ain't asking nobody for nothing, if I can't get it my own. If you don't like the way I'm living, you just leave this old long haired country boy alone."

Good post Robyn. As you can tell, I'm all fired up now!

Anonymous said...

I agree with you as well. There are times when you can take it easy and times when you've got to put your nose to the grindstone and start marketing your business like crazy, and this is one of the latter. That's just the way business goes. No use whining about it.

I like your idea about going on a news fast. I have been without TV & newspapers for about a year now and I can't tell you how much it's increased my productivity. Not to mention my mood!

Unknown said...

I have been selling my art for over 17 years, and last year was my worst. Does that mean I will quit, give up, no! I have tried new ways of marketing, and found new avenues. It may mean that I have to work harder at selling, but that is the way it is right now. I have made several sales this week, and large ones! I was a little surprised, but I think that my hard work is paying off. I am also trying new ideas and things in this "down time". I am forever hopeful and will alsways be a glass half full person. After all if I can sell in this economy, just you wait until it turns around. I won't be able to make enough for the demand!
Thanks for posting this, I look forward to hearing more from all of you.

Live, Love, Laugh, Write! said...

I love your positive attitude! I think that finding the positive side of things is one of the keys to getting through the hard times. I've been through a lot personally, and if I didn't look for reasons to stay positive I probably would have given up long ago.

Interesting story - last Nov. I did a series on ways to promote your business. It all started with some conversations in the etsy forums and my desire to not whine about the economy but to see the situation as an opportunity. And guess what? People liked the articles so much that I ended up being asked to write an article about it for an Australian craft magazine! Woohoo!

Ali said...

I have a roof over my head, food in the pantry, and warm clothes on my back.
Yes, we have debt. Yes, we would like to sell our condo but it probably won't happen anytime soon. Yes, I stay at home with my son which means we don't have very much spending money at all.
But we will get through this, and it will make our family stronger.
Most importantly, God is in control, and He hasn't failed us yet. I have a funny feeling that He never will.

Geoff Schutt said...

I'm writing this first before reading the other comments, Robyn.

I the half-full kind of person.

I like to think of myself as a survivor as well.

Things go in cycles, and this economic downturn will pass, and I'm sure there will be plenty of surprising "good things" to come out of the bad.

Eleanor (through me) will say, in variations: "You can make beauty out of the pain." If I'm not working "enough" toward that "beauty," I need to work harder, and refocus. But that's me.

We can also make beauty when there is no pain.

I see you with your etsy shop (when you started, how far you've come through work, dedication, vision), and yes -- your attitude about life -- it is truly making beauty.

I do feel deeply for the people who are hurting. Money will never buy happiness. At best, it buys an existence, the necessary things to live on. The rest of it is already within ourselves, or is out there, waiting to be discovered.

maoiliosa said...

what a wonderful piece you've written here! i happen to have the same thinking as you on the economy... yes, i know things are rough right now. yes, i know it's going to get worse before it gets better. now SHUT UP! ;p. how does complaining about it make it any better? my husband and i have been faced with some financial hardships (okay, LOTS, not some) lately, but i remain optimistic. and like you said, take this time to hone your skills, learn a new skill, think about your goals, and go get 'em! i was reading something the other day about how this is a great time, if you've been laid off, to try to go after the job you've always wanted. you may not believe it from watching the news lately, but people ARE hiring. and we can always find ways to save money (eat at home, rent movies, have friends over: all ways of getting satisfaction out of life while spending less money). like you, i'm greatful for each and every sale in my shop, although they are more spread out than i'd like them to be ;). people are still buying, and people are favouring small business! as for fighting off the negativity, i know my thoughts on the situation, and (while this might be mean) i generally tune out anyone who's just whining about the economy. so good for you for sticking it through, and know that you're not alone :).

Pamela Baker said...

Robyn - thanks for such a great article on such a pertinent topic that affects everyone today. Reading the comments so far, people are coping far better than the economy has left us. I think Cindy said it best "Joy comes from God" I don't know if the exact word I would phrase it as is joy, but "belief and Trust".
When my boys were infants and my daughter about 7, my ex cleared out all our of savings - cashed all our credit cards to the max - then up and left (unfortunately, he spent everything to support a drug habit) We had to go on welfare - one sandwich was cut ito 3 pieces for the kids lunch. They didn't even know what a snack was, neighbors bought Christmas presents for them.
Yes, it was very hard and we are still working our way up. But we managed to laugh and enjoy what we had - our faith was what kept us going, and yes the Church was very good to us at that time. Something none of us can forget. So when I hear people say they are going through a recession, we have each other, and often our bills still pile up, and rob Peter to pay Paul; they really have no idea of what hard times are. If you don't go through life with a positive attitude and a little bit of faith, you will never be rich.

the famous nemo said...

what is it about this economy that is so wrong? Everyone that i hear about is being laid off or what ever were never good at there jobs anyway and should have been let go a long time ago.

I am self am making more money with my art then i ever have with any other job. now is the time to work hard and work more then all these other people that are compaining. damn lazy folks what everything for free. good post.

LeaKarts said...

I absolutely agree with you. I think it is so important to remain positive and be thankful for what we have. I still keep up with things by listening to NPR, but all of the negativity really bothers me.
I am a single mom and an artist and I work for myself, so I am used to a bit of a struggle. The economy doesn't change that, it just challenges me to think even more creatively and to be even more thankful for everything.

Anonymous said...

Wow!!! you really spoke the truth here. This economy has affected me and my family. My husband has been out of work and so on you can put the peices together with a man who supports 5 people out of work. Has not been pretty at times but I do know things will get better. I can not dwell on the negativity. I have 3 beautiful daughters who are absolutely amazing and always thinking of others. When i look at them, here them laugh,hug and kiss them,plalying with them or whatever it may be i know my world will be more than okay. My husband and I have a great relationship and have learned to lean on each other for the most part.
We have had to cut back in a lot of areas and bill collectors are calling but its okay. Most importantly God is the way the truth and the life. If we depend on him, and not on pay checks or money to make us happy we will be okay. I am so thankful for what I have. I still have my home, my nice car, my health and my children are healthy and most importantly I have a wonderful relationship with God :) who makes sure my needs are met. There really is not much more I need. I have alway been the cup is half full kinda girl and will always be but I have had my days but I refuse to let the economy take me down.
Thanks Robyn your amazing for making everyone see how being posative has a better influence in our lives. Also thank you for all that you have done for us.

Love ya!!!! Sis :)

Anonymous said...

wow robyn, you couldnt be more spot on....
i am much like you. grateful for all that I have. It just ends there. I dont think it's healthy to be thinking about what you want all the time, especially if you are not working towards it. I also dont believe we should "dwell" on what we dont have. I think it's fair to say that none of us have had a "perfect" existance- but our lives are what we make of it. I dont want to look back and see the years I lost, cause I stopped living life. GREAT post!

Amy said...

Well said! If ppl look back in history, this situation is not NEW...1929, 1970s...its just a cycle! We need to be RESPONSIBLE citizens and stop living beyond our means!! How come 20-30 years ago the average home was 1000 sq feet (family of four) and now the average is something 2000-3000? Its insane!
Hug your kids, kiss your spouse, smell flowers, take a beautiful picture, do something for you, taste your food, ENJOY LIFE and do what you can to be proactive in changing the present situations! :)

Great post!:)

Natasha said...

This needs to be out there in the world! Everyone needs to read it....what a fabulous post...great attitude...I think that is the only one to have...I feel blessed to have a roof, food and loved ones...the rest, it takes work and it's worth it...I continue to create and share...and I firmly believe the economic landscape of this country needed to change so that corporate giants were whittled down and handmade would rise....the world cannot exist with endless chain stores, we are not a one size fits all place...we need handmade, we need Mom and Pop shops, we need personal interaction and the support of one another....we will all survive witht eright attitude, hope, laughter and one another! Big hugs for an AWESOME piece!

Anonymous said...

Yup, it's still true months later! Me, I find that a positive outlook itself can cheer me up, so even when I'm feeling down, I don't act it, and my acting positive usually ends in making me FEEL positive! It's been my experience in good economies and bad that there are some downer people who always see the dark side of things, and I'll be darned bad things seem to happen to them!...2 people close to me were such folk - I ended up cutting ties with them, they brought me down so much and I found there was NOTHING I could do to change THEIR outlook, and they were harming MINE!

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