Tuesday, October 07, 2008

This is going to hurt.

One of the things I have learned in my life is the term 'fair' has no real meaning. I have tried to remove the word fair from my vocabulary because of its arbitrary nature. What seems fair to me, may not seem fair to you and so on. You may have great case that a situation is not fair, but that does not change reality, and reality is what we must deal with.

Every time I speak with people about the current financial crisis the issue of fairness always comes up. It's not fair that the people on Wall Street receive a bail out while I lost my house. It's not fair that my credit rating will suffer for years because of one mistake. It's not fair that CEOs made millions in bonuses when their companies were going belly up. It's not fair, it's just not fair.

I hear you, and I agree with you that these things are not fair, however that does not change the factual situation that you and I, along with the rest of the nation, are going to have to deal with.

For some in the tech industry, myself included, we have already been through a crisis in the late 90's. When the DotCom bubble burst ten years ago, people who were making millions in stock options as well as those of us who were making a good living in the tech infrastructure business went from the penthouse to the outhouse in less than two years. One day I walked into my office and found my position had been eliminated with no warning. I had just closed escrow on our new house that week and had just purchased a new car the day before. That was a bad day.

Many people in the tech industry had to scramble to find a job, any job, at any pay, just to keep the lights on. It took three years for me to find a stable job and I am still making about half of what I earned during the DotCom boom. Fair? Not really, but it's my reality and one that I have tried my best to work through.

My point is this, as the economy struggles to get its legs back under it, you may have to struggle right along with it for a time. Take a hard look at your personal economic situation and you may find by making a few adjustments you can ride this out with little sacrifice. If you are in a industry that has been severely impacted by the housing bubble bursting, you may have to do something else to make a living for a while. No, it's not fair, but the sooner you decide to act, the better.

Most people in Yolo County will feel the impact of this economic downturn in some way. Most will get through it by adjusting their spending and saving habits, but there will be many families whose lives will be turned upside down in the near future. If you are one of those families, I am, and I will be praying for you.

I hope you will reach out to your friends, your family and your church when you need support. This is a great community filled with caring people, I hope you reach out to them as I did, when my world fell apart.

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