For quite some time I’ve been in blissful denial about the ailing state of our economy. In Nepal I remember (rarely) hearing snippets of news from the outside world, economy this, America that. Yadda yadda. When i got back in late October I caught up a bit, hearing how the stock market had tanked 30%. So what did I do? Start looking for a house to buy. Obviously the news hadn’t had much of an impact. I was still receiving a paycheck every two months, after all, and had even recently received a (modest) raise. What’s the worry?
As you know, I went ahead and purchased my wonderful home in early December. I figured interest rates were pretty low and the market had tanked so it was a great time to buy. Or at least everyone told me that. Time will tell how the investment will pay off.
Anyway, today our downward-spiraling economy manifested itself directly: layoffs at my company. This morning we cut 15% of our workforce due to a lack of new customer engagements (who are retailers, remember, and hurting). It seems the cuts were pretty far-reaching, impacting every team at the company — except, interestingly, mine.
As you can imagine, it was a pretty heavy day at the office. I don’t envy the executives who had to make the personnel decisions, but understand the need for it — and from what I’ve heard thus far their decisions seem to have been spot on. Luckily, all of my friends at work have been proving their talents all along so I can’t say I’m really close to anyone who got the axe, so to speak. But at a company of our size, everybody feels it.
Perhaps we as a society can learn from the excesses of the housing bubble: delusional financial optimism, credit dependencies, short-sighted investing. Maybe we can learn how to save again, and plan, and think about the future for once. It’s tough love, as my father would say, but effective. Keep it simple.