LitaWrites (real_lawyer) wrote,

Rapidly Emptying Glasses

I was asked to let a "guest" post here.   He's a hard-working, articulate man who is feeling the stresses and strains of this economy, and as I have an internet soapbox, I agreed to publish his words in my space today:

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I’m confused, angry, upset, unsure, numb, unclear as well as probably a few other adjectives that describe my daily mindset as I attempt to navigate through these murky and unfamiliar economic times. However, none of these adjectives describe how I feel every morning I wake up.


You see, I’ve always viewed life from a “half full” perspective.  And true to myself every morning, including this day, I get up thinking that today will be different.  Today I will finally land that new client I’ve been pursuing for the past 4 months, today I’ll open my mailbox and find more payments for services then second bill notices. 


I truly wake up each morning with this positive mental state that runs counter to what grips most people these days.  I remain upbeat even after I turn on the TV as I get ready for work and listen to Morning Joe and his regulars of experts and pundits offering a wide variety of opinions of who caused this, how long we’ll be in this, and so on, many with their own ideas that if only were followed would cure our ills in a matter of days.  Ah, if only they were right! 


I still see things as half full even though I’ve come to the belief that these pundits just don’t have any more clue to what got us in this mess and what it will take to get us out than the rest of us, or for that matter Congress, CEOs from Wall Street, and the auto makers and the bankers.  In fact, I come to liken the Congress and these various CEOs to the Wizard of Oz.  Dorothy, played by the good citizens of the United States simply wants to go back to Kansas, (played by jobs, their prior home and 401k values).  The Great Oz has put up a ruse suggesting that they are the only ones with the knowledge and experience to get us out.  Never mind they are the ones that got us into this mess.  But when the curtain is removed by Toto, (played by our economy) and the Great Oz is exposed, we’ve come to learn that these individuals all who command more compensation than some third world countries entire budgets, truly know less than about their business than their newest entry level employee at their respective company. No one in Congress wants to take any responsibility for this.  Democrats blame Republicans, Republicans blame Democrats, but no one in Congress wants to look back as to who actually was responsible. No one in Congress wants to take responsibility for handing out $350 billion with out any accountability.  How long would you remain employed if you gave away your bosses money without any oversight? Yet I still see things as half full.


The other day I listened to Morning Joe and learned that the American people need to be more positive, it’s all about building the American peoples’ confidence.  That story was followed with the announcement of the jobless rate climbing to 8.1%.  It’s hard to be confident when the news professionals are only telling us bad stories, but not me, I’m still the half full person.  Later that day on the Joe Scarborough radio show Mica Berezniki asked listeners to call in with positive stories.  Not sure she received any. 


Earlier that week Chairman Bernanke told Congress the recession will start recovering by the end of the year.  Who truly believes that will be the case.  I’d like to. I guess someone did as the market reacted positively that day.


Every day as I leave my home, I kiss my wife; give her my pep talk that this day is going to be different,  drive to my office, turn on my computer and start my daily process of running my small business.  I get my cup of coffee, look at the list of things that I have to and need to do that day, the typical things that occupy every small business owner and start my daily routine.    


These days I spend more time making calls to bring my receivables down and taking calls from vendors requesting faster and larger payments.  I do a great deal of prospecting with less success.  It’s not that prospective clients are not interested in my company’s services; it seems they are unwilling to commit to spending money. By mid day I go through my mail.  More bills and few if any checks!  As 6 PM approaches I reflect on what occurred that day.   It is then that I realize that my half full attitude has turned to a half empty feeling.  I go home and after dinner decompress by watching TV, a lot of  Chris, Keith and Rachel on MSNBC, followed by TV Land and then the late news.  For the most part, the content of what I watch is not supportive of building up my attitude towards things.


I go to sleep steeped in that half empty feeling. Yes, me: the eternal half full guy joining the ranks of the half empties. 


I awaken refresh and back to my true belief of its half full not half empty.  But then just like Bill Murray in the movie Ground Hog Day, my day’s experiences and my attitude repeats and repeats and repeats.  I know that one of these days in the future will be different, and I can’t wait, yet I remain half full.


I’d like to become solidly grounded back to my half full attitude and not wander towards the other side, but it will take more than just asking me to do so for that to happen. 


Almost everyone I know is affected in one form or another by this.  Some have become unemployed, some fear that their jobs won’t be around next year.  Some have had their pay reduced, some have lost their bonus.  Some who were about to retire, can’t. Some fear that the business they worked so hard to build won’t survive.  Some who were retired have to go back to work, if they could find a job.  Some will lose their homes.  Few are immune from this, very few but if things continue they may also become affected. 


It’s going to take some time to get out of this mess.  Ultimately, it will take a change in our confidence. More people will have to view things as half full for things to change.  But this recession is still very new to us.  We are numb, dumfounded and bewildered.  We find ourselves in the same mind set as we would find ourselves seconds after being involved in a bad car accident.  We don’t quite realize what happened. Are we alright, what happened, what should I do, should I call the police?  We sit there for a few minutes to see if we are hurt.  Ultimately, we re-group, compose ourselves, check ourselves to make sure we are alright and then get on to the task of dealing with the accident. 


Well, Joe, Mica and everyone else out there, give us a chance to re-group.  Americans are resilient.  We will get over this.  We are in pain now.  We have to get our minds around this and we will.  While I believe more Americans believe our glass is half full I believe we want accountability as part of the process of building up our confidence.  If you govern poorly you don’t deserve to be re-elected.  If you the top executives of a public company in bankruptcy you need to quit or be fired immediately. If you come hand in hand for a bailout you and your company must be responsible and accountable. Simply agreeing to these things is not good enough.  If these businesses don’t follow these guidelines their executives must be subject to the full extent of the law.  The more these thing are followed the quick the process of reestablishing our confidence will occur, which will result in a faster turnaround of our current economic conditions.


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