Saturday, November 22, 2008

I have questions...

Sometimes, I ponder too much and scare myself.

I spent a few hours catching up on my blog reading.
I'd been kinda feeling a little sorry for my stupid self.
Not so much now.

Just in my small corner of our blogosphere, I am
reminded that way too many good people are dealing
with nasty medical treatments, disabling diseases,
post-surgical recovery, surgeries in their future,
family and friends away from home facing dangers
while serving in the military, financial crises, jobs
in danger, currently unemployed... on and on and on.

Do you ever think that we are one big mistake?
I mean all of us, homo sapiens, in general.

Could we be rejects from another galaxy?
The trash of the universe and beyond?
What would this planet be like without us?

We are basically greedy and destructive.
What have we done to make our home better?

No, I am not a tree-hugging hippy.

I simply do not understand the huge amount of misery
that continues to grow exponentially, with no
end in sight.

Isn't our government in a multi-gazillion dollar deficit?
How can they keep writing checks for grossly huge
amounts of money to give to the already grossly rich
and why do those checks not bounce?
Where does the money for those checks come from?

They can't be getting it from my account. Trust me.
Besides, if I wrote a check from my account when it
was in a deficit state, I would then be charged more
money as a punishment for daring to do such.

Am I stupid? (Don't answer that too harshly, please.)

I have a friend who is an owner/partner in a
manufacturing company. 40% of their business is
supplying to the U.S. automotive industry.
My friend's business was the low bid on a recent
contract for a much-touted new vehicle.
They did not get the contract because that particular
U.S. auto-maker is taking a chunk of bail-out money
to Korea for production. Out. Of. The. Country.

One of my brothers works for Dana Corp.
They are another huge supplier for the automotive
industry. My brother told me that his facility has
been laying off production workers every week for the
past six weeks. He is, not surprisingly, concerned
about his own job and his family's future.

Hundreds of teachers in Florida got laid off this year.

A friend in Kingston, N.Y. (retired from the Postal Service
after 33 years) said the Postal Service is looking at
laying off 16,000 employees. First time in its history.

And, answer me this... WHY do so many people
act like the economic sonovabitch crisis just
started happening YESTERGODDAMNDAY???

Anyone who has been reading my sorry excuse
of a blog for more than a year (wonders never cease),
know that the manufacturing company I work for
has been going through turmoil for a long time.
Last November 30th was the first lay-off in the current
economic downslide. Then, again, in early February
of this year. Then... we all worked 32 hour weeks this

We went back to forty hours a week in September.

Our biggest customer is a major manufacturer in the
...wait for it... COMPUTER CHIP INDUSTRY.

My department welds for the aerospace and oil industries.
Not enough to make up for the other dickwad department
or our company's owners who have wet dreams about
sending even more of our work to their lovely facility in
SINGAPORE. Where our biggest customer (the computer chip
dickwads) are opening their very own NEW FACILITY.

Out. Of. The. Country.

My employer has never ever ever announced ahead
of time their decision to lay off more employees.
Until this week.

First, they are extending the Thanksgiving holiday,
meaning a short paycheck unless we want to borrow
from vacation time accrued for next year. No thanks.
Same thing for Christmas. Happy New Year.

The lay-off will be sometime before December 22.
Because, ya know, we need to get LOTS of work done
for them before they can excise anyone from the
payroll. Office staff will be affected, also.
Just a little top-heavy there. Something like two or
three office people for everyone of us blue-collar schmoes.

All employees who might still be working here will
be back on the 32-hour work schedule for at least the
first quarter of the year and more than likely through
the first half. With a strong nod to another lay-off if
things don't pick up quickly next year.
Get right on that, ok?

I forgot to ask if this means the owners and investors
will forgo their usual quarterly and annual bonuses.
Yeah, right.

You are probably getting really tired of reading about
the instability of my work environment for the past
year and a half. I'm tired of writing it.

I have no idea if it will hit me this time or next or
not at all. They refused to give numbers.

I did tell one of the managers that, if it gets me, I will
take some sadistic pleasure in knowing that they will
be left with some of the laziest, sorriest, cheatingest
poorest excuse of employees in the hemisphere.
He almost chuckled.

Was that mean of me?


Joan of Argghh! said...

Heck, I say let's all move to Singapore!

We'll all get by, but it is a bit harder on those of us who remember when things were pretty good. Let's organize another hippie commune for the senior set and tell all the damn kids to get off our lawn.

Enigma said...

Wasn't there some columnist that said we should ALL chuck our values, and since His Vastness has suggested since before his election that the wealth should be spread around...that we ALL sign up for EVERY program out there? Makes sense that those of us who produce, who will be penalized to support those who do not produce, should put ourselves in positions to share in the spreading of our wealth. Confused? I am. Lets all move to that island where they filmed Mamma Mia!

lucy said...

China...I say let's move to China. Or is it Mexico...or Singapore...where are they sending all our jobs now?

But remember...we should all have HOPE...cause it's all going to CHANGE right?

kdzu said...

I wish I could find my copy of the Law. There is a section in there that tells exactly why we are in the mess we are in.
I'll find it, unless the wife has burned it to keep me from ranting and raving about it, although she is more in line with my thinking than a lot of people.

kdzu said...

That's 'THE LAW' by Fredrick Bastiat
circa 1847.

Joan of Argghh! said...

I saw this quote and thought of you:

That to have the eyes of an artist,
That can be enough,
The ear of a poet,
That can be enough.
The soul of a human
just pointed
in the direction of the divine,
that can be more than enough.
I tell you this to remind myself.
Every gesture is an act of creation.
Even empty spaces and silence
can be the wings and voices of angels.
- Michele Linfante

Jean said...

Joan, there was a property in TN that begged for a commune! It needs lots of TLC, but still...

and, thanks for that quote.
Beautiful :-)

aw, man, Enigma...that is a gorgeous place!

Lucy, yeah, things are gonna change all right.

Larry, I need to do a search for that book down here.

Teresa said...

It would not surprise me a bit to see a real increase in homocide, suicide and every other form of rage-driven release known to man. This world has lost it! Expect nothing less than insanity and confusion from here on out! Now go to your window, open it up, lean outside and scream "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!"

Now, where is my baseball bat?

boneman said...

Here y'go, Jean. Here's the answer.
It isn't you. It's Daytona.

curmudgeon said...

Bah. Don't worry about it. With Hopey McChange in the white house everyone will be getting 'free' housing, health care, food, ... from the guvmint before long anyway.
Who needs jobs?

Anonymous said...

.... a very wise post...... and I suggest you go forth and read from the book of "The Princess Bride" for inspiration.....

.... specifically the line that said something like "Life IS Pain, princess..... anyone saying any different is selling you something.?...... not that I fully agree with the quote, but it does serve well during certain times.....

Jean said...

Teresa...I refuse to give up!

Berry...good grief.

Dave, maybe I'll be lucky and work for myself someday.

Eric...I'm adding that to my reading list.

Irrelephant said...

I don't know about the relevance but the book is EXCELLENT. *G*

I don't know what to say, darlin'. I've long held that people as a race ARE evil--self-centered, stupid and self-serving. *shrug* Thing being, it's the only game in town. *s*

As for the lazy, sorry leftovers? I hope one day my office fires me, and realises how bad they screwed up. Sadly enough, they won't.

Desert Cat said...

Well for my part I intend to make JP Morgan give me a piece of their bailout. They're one of the biggest profiteers from this mess and they're going to eat my second mortgage.

And by the way, anyone who is in dire straits with their house should *not* let it go to foreclosure, but rather find an agent who is experienced in "Short Sales" and get out from under.

(A short sale is a real estate sale for less than the amount owed on the property. You negotiate or have someone knowledgeable negotiate with the bank to release you from the remainder of your obligation. Since the alternative may be foreclosure, which is nearly as bad for the bank as it is for you, they have motivation to cooperate. But you need to know what you're doing or work with someone who does.)

You will save more of your credit rating and come out the other side in better shape. But if you really want to stay in your home, Loan Modifications are also a new big thing. You can almost always get better terms (lower interest rate or longer repayment, and sometimes rarely a principal reduction). Foreclosure hurts you a lot, and there are viable alternatives.

For my part, I *need* to move and am pursuing a short sale.

Anyone interested, e-mail me and I can point you in the right direction.

Jean said...

Irrel, I know you've been searching for something better for a while.
I hope you find it, dear.
I'm going to make it, one way or another *s*

D.C., I refinanced right before Katrina hit. 15 yrs, fixed 5 3/4%.
Balance owed is about $35,000.
PITI $550/month. Unemployment, if it comes to that, will make things tight but I can cover bills.
I hate the thought of starting over in a new job. Such is life, right?
Hope things work out well for you.

Desert Cat said...

Sounds like you're in enviable shape housewise. Around here a person could barely get a decent 1 BR apt for that monthly, let alone a whole house. Yeah, sitting tight makes sense. You've probably got a fat cushion of equity in the house to weather this downturn too.

I'm not exactly in dire straits, just got trapped by the downturn when I intended to move by a certain date.

Doom said...

It is so difficult to be kind when under the gun. Just look after yourself Jean, as you may. I certainly worry about you, and the situation you find yourself in. And, really, many of those who find themselves in harsh times. Layoffs here and there, with few options anywhere else. A nation which seems intent on eliminating blue-collar work. And tight times on top of that, across the board.

Never worry about bringing your thoughts, complaints, gripes, and worries here though. It is good to air it. And knowing others care might help you as much as anything.

I had lost track, and I had not seen you write in a long time, so I am just catching up and commenting a bit today. Anyway, you have my sympathy and hope. I think you will find your way, even if you cannot see it at this time. I have faith in you. If I worry along with you as well, my faith in you is stronger than my worry. I hope you share that.

k said...

Great post.

Yes, it's been going on for quite a while. It should have been obvious for a good year, at the very least; but people tend toward the "hopeful" side. Denial. It's a good tool in certain circumstances. But ignoring impending economic doom is not one of them.

Striking, really, how very serious and how universal the hardships are. That part isn't news, of course. But while out shopping a couple weeks ago, I was caught off guard with surprise at how people are suddenly admitting it, and being scared. Being brave, many of them; a lot of stiff upper lips out there.

And being scared.

Didn't people understand that when one bankrupts their country to finance a war - an enterprise that does not represent income, only outgo - it ends up destroying that country's economic health? The money is gone. Most went up in smoke. The rest now lines the pockets of those same extremely rich types now getting rich bailouts as rewards for...screwing up.

This is the result.

People are suffering.

So many of us blame the underclass, those folks who are said to expect something for doing nothing. The most staggering amounts of money don't go to them, though. They go to the mega-rich.

And despite the bad acts and bad sides of human nature that I understand so very well, still, I don't actually think we're all bad to the bone. Not at all. We have good and bad in us, every one; and how we respond to life's circumstances with our light and dark sides tells the world what kind of person we are. Blessed, if we choose to open our eyes and see this: how very much kindness and sweetness is still out there.

It's an unfortunate truth that power corrupts, bringing out more of the dark, on balance. Money and political status are power. Power goes to those people's heads, and they become shielded and distanced from real life; then they dehumanize the rest of us.

They get this sense of entitlement to our money, as if it belonged to them by right; and to the lives of the young men and women fighting for our country. They cease to understand, I think, that these are all real people. People who get killed - or, these medically advanced days, badly maimed and brain-injured - people who give their all for their country.

For their country. Not for the mega-rich and mega-powerful running the show. Those folks who have no sense that we are real live people down here.

People who are suffering and scared. Viewed from an ivory tower perch by these bemused mega-rich and mega-powerful, looking at us like we were all little ants on the ground. Scurrying around, we are, as if someone stirred up our important ant nest. Scurrying around, looking for work and not finding it, looking to save our homes and losing them.

We are no longer real humans to them.

So: Be as sadistic as you like about those layoffs. Part of the pattern is exactly what you described. The last workers left standing will never be the best. They were hired and kept on for reasons other than the quality of their work or the substance of their character.

Let 'em have it.

Why not? After all, they're doing far worse to you.