IT Employment

Are you aware and prepared to escape? Your IT future depends on it.

According to blogger Todd Fluhr, your IT future depends on three important strategies: Awareness, preparedness, and escape. Will you be ready if the current dot-com bubble collapses again?

"Only after disaster can we be resurrected." - Tyler Durden, Fight Club

It's an old proverb that all good things come to an end. Some things, like the Firefly TV series or a drive-thru marriage in Vegas, die before they even really get started. Others, like my tech rant column here on TechRepublic, are struck down in their prime. It's more than a sign of the times. It's the inevitable reality of all things.

There's always a beginning, middle, and end. The real trick is knowing where you are in the process. Being laid off or fired is a young person's job. If you're over 40 or 50, becoming unemployed in the tech industry can seem like the beginning of a very painful end of a lifetime career and an uncertain future. Truly, nothing is safe.

Chances are that you live in denial. Your company is showing profits. There will always be a need for IT managers and systems professionals. You do good work. It will be rewarded. But the unfortunate truth is that all things are temporal and subject to forces beyond your control. You must prepare for the eventual end. Only then can you be ready to survive and begin again.

Your future depends on three important strategies: Awareness, preparedness, and escape.

Awareness

The first and most important lesson is to know history. Those who do not learn from it are doomed to the unemployment lines. From the past dot-com collapse to the current cutting edge of rising bubbles, individual careers in the IT and tech industry are particularly vulnerable to the vicissitudes of fate. From corporate collapses to down-sizing and outsourcing, your job is not safe. Until you know that, you're merely killing time before the inevitable resume-updating and desperate freelance postings on craigslist.

Whatever the perceived permanence of your company, what about your own personal stability? Might your position one day be outsourced, merged with another department, or worse yet, be endangered by individual differences with management? What if your boss suddenly takes a special dislike to you?

What are the warning signs that your job may be in peril? Consider the following:

  • Your company exists in the real world
  • Your company has suffered financial problems or failed to expand as anticipated
  • Other departments have been or are in the process of being downsized, merged, or eliminated
  • Your boss doesn't seem to like you. This may range from subtle signs such as avoidance of eye contact to the more obvious ones like being moved to a basement desk or your red Swingline stapler being taken by your manager.
  • You receive an unexpectedly bad performance review
  • You find yourself "cross-training" someone in your particular duties or assigned a new "assistant" tasked with learning your job. Alternately, you may be asked to start a new comprehensive "documenting" process for everything you do.
  • Colleagues start avoiding you or you're no longer included in meetings or certain information loops
  • Your pay has remained the same or anticipated raises have not been forthcoming
  • Management begins to show special interest in your schedule, vacation/sick days, etc.
  • The sky is blue

If two or more of these apply to you, it's time to start the next step. Of course, if you have attempted a witty rationalization that the sky is not blue but merely a prismatic reflection of scattered light, then don't worry. Cheerful little unicorns will magically appear with a better job offer long before your unemployment runs out.

Preparedness

Once you accept the fact that no job is truly, absolutely safe, then you must prepare to survive. To do otherwise is to blithely blunder into a zombie apocalypse armed only with a BB gun and no BBs.

  • Start a disaster savings fund. This can be difficult if you're in debt or living paycheck to paycheck, but it is essential that you save enough money for 8 - 14 months of housing, utilities, basic bills, and survival. When (not if) you find yourself on the job market, it may be that long before your next paycheck.
  • Start networking NOW like your life depends on it. Establish contacts with other companies and individuals. Your absolute best chance for getting another job will be word-of-mouth tips from your contacts. Nurture them. Cherish them. Treat them like family.
  • Explore alternate income sources, such as freelance consulting, starting a side business, etc. At the very least, this will help defer the loss of self-esteem and professional image during your "unemployment" period.
  • Expand your portfolio. Approach and exploit every new project as a new gem to add to your credentials. Prepare an online portfolio, polish your resume, and have some individual presentation materials such as personal business cards made.
  • Explore your current health insurance and how it will be affected by your unemployment. It's a known universal law that you'll need a root canal within 24.6 days after your benefits run out.
Escape

The worst has happened. You are no longer gainfully employed. The end has appeared like a rabid pit bull on crack, leaping unexpectedly out of your refrigerator in the middle of the night. All thought of a late night snack of yummy pizza rolls is gone. The question now is how do you escape those slavering jaws of death?

Of course, if you'd actually prepared for this inevitable but wholly unforeseen scenario, you've already installed a Plexiglas window in the fridge door and saw the drugged-out dog waiting there. It may take time and effort to safely remove the animal and get back to enjoying your pizza rolls, but you're in the best possible position to do it.

But what if you haven't? The crazed canine hits you full force and has you by the throat. What are your escape strategies?

  • File for unemployment
  • Search for a job
  • Hope your preparations were enough to survive long enough to recover

Metaphoric hyperbole aside, in reality, there is very little you can do. Most people refuse to consider the possibility of finding their career suddenly derailed by unemployment, let alone plan for it. Others may be completely blindsided by unforeseeable events outside their control. More than one successful company has imploded at the zenith of their success. Some have self-destructed just before highly anticipated IPOs, as stockholders and board members grab for larger shares of a pie bigger than anyone expected. Others have simply fallen apart due to unexpected outside market forces or new government regulations.

In the end, it really doesn't matter why. All that's left are the ex-employees and their families scrambling to pick up the shattered pieces of their hopes, dreams, and lives. The bills mount, debt accumulates, and medical benefits evaporate when needed the most. Careers are lost and marriages fall apart.

There is no an easy way to escape this tragedy. Many who are suddenly unemployed find themselves doing the things they should have already done in preparedness.

The bottom line

How prepared are you for the future? How secure is your job? Businesses come and go. That is the lesson history has taught us. From the buggy-whip manufacturers in 1910 who found themselves obsolesced by the advent of the motor car to the dot-com bubble burst just a few years ago. The IT industry is no different. Even a stable economy doesn't equate job security. Outsourcing and downsizing need not be done due to corporate hardship, but in the name of greater profit. Even in the best of all possible work environments, politics of personality or personal differences can result in the unexpected end of a career position. If that were to happen to you, could you survive until finding another an equal or better position elsewhere?

The IT industry has blossomed into an ever-more pivotal part of a successful company. But this growth has also been accompanied by the same sense of false security once enjoyed by life-time assembly line workers and auto manufacturers. The technology industry is ever changing. To assume a life-long position with one employer has become a fading American dream. It's time for IT professionals to take a cold, hard look at their own industry. Some believe the current bubble is about to collapse again. Will you be ready if it does?

53 comments
louter
louter

Well, I have been saving up because I want to venture on something else that devote my time solely to corporate systems. I must agree that it can really suck the life out of you with all the stress you go through each day. And I will really treasure every moment at the time when I do not have to worry if a subordinate would follow the standards.

irishman10000
irishman10000

Excellent article Todd. You have hit the nail on the head. This is important reading for any professional; IT, Accounting, etc........ The harsh reality is that most corporations, no matter what kind of shiny HR crap they preach, see employees as walking expenses. Hardworking, dedicated staff are treated badly, while folks who complete projects "ahead of schedule" or "under budget" are praised. What these "leaders" do not realize is that the speedy employee cut corners, and in some cases has put the Company is great danger. I was recently fired from my job as an Accounting Manager at a major Fortune 500 corporation in Missouri because my boss did not like me. I understand that not all folks are going to like each other, however my boss' dislike of me was not even reasonable. It stemmed from her dislike of the manager who originally hired me almost 10 years before. Most all promises and assurances coming from "Leadership" today is just hot air. I was promised a life long career at my Company. Told I would "go far". Now here I am unemployed. Bottom line, we are all expendable. Save your money for a rainy day (and seed money for your own business). Network. If your Company, Co-workers or Boss begin treating you the way the article states, keep your head high, do not let their actions get to you or bring you down, and most importantly, GET OUT!!! irishman

JimTheGeordie
JimTheGeordie

Given the quality of the material I have seen here from you and others, I am sure that you would have no trouble fitting in! The great thing is that we have half a dozen states, all with totally different characters, so all you have to do is wander around until you find the one that really takes your fancy. You would also have a good chance to meet people who would appreciate the profile set out in your bio!

JimTheGeordie
JimTheGeordie

Some years ago, I was an independent IT contractor with a role as DBA/Developer for Australia's largest telco. The system only had a year or eighteen months to go before it was replaced by a new system already being set up. However, after 9 years in the job, my contract was terminated because a senior manager had expressed an opinion that "contractors should not be in charge of our major systems". Nobody in the telco wanted my job, so a couple of people were brought in from outside, trained and let loose on the system. After 3 months, they had both left as they could not stand the pace (after all 2 of us had been running a system that IBM reckoned needed 7 people!). The situation was only saved when my co-worker agreed to take on a permanent position.

Trep Ford
Trep Ford

Every fighter pilot knows it's a very nice thing to have a parachute. Their smart ... as are your preparedness tips. But every fighter pilot also knows that it's even better if that parachute is strapped onto a state of the art performance machine ... and I'm not talking about your jet (the company you work for) ... I'm talking about YOU! Your tips for dealing with the ups and downs of our industry, to my eyes, while all wise and reasonable ... lack "teeth" for dealing with the real world. I'm not young. I haven't been for a long time. And I took your approch to protecting myself from the ups and downs of our industry for a long time. They weren't enough. Then it hit me ... I was completely missing the point. We can't completely control what happens to our company or our industry. We can't control whether or not we might someday end up working for a bone head. THOSE things lie always beyond our control. But what we can control is the impression people have of us, as professionals. Your entire network should KNOW that you are a "state of the art" performance machine, whose made it their business to leave their customers utterly delighted, every time. Do everything you can to make sure that's how your network sees you, inside and outside your firm ... and you're security will have been optimized.

Professor8
Professor8

All the preparation in the world won't help a bit if you weren't being paid enough to build up a rainy day fund, and no amoung of attaboys and certificates socked away in your portfolio, and no amount of continuous learning will do a bit of good past a certain point. We've got Mensa-class, industrious, knowledgeable, creative US citizen STEM workers who have been unemployed for years, and even more under-employed, i.e. unable to refresh their software dev capabilities on the job. The STEM worker economy won't improve until the bodyshopping and unless the flood of cheap labor are stemmed and the executives are made to realize that we're valuable and to be actively recruited and developed again rather than disposable commodity parts to be tossed and replaced.

JohnMcGrew
JohnMcGrew

...who were of the generation that espoused the "get a secure job with a big company and climb the ladder" philosophy. They were less than impressed when I went "independent", and were for a long time worried about my future. It's a good thing I ignored the advice, because if I had taken that track, I'd be far less well off today than I am. In fact, my status is actually more stable than my corporate peers, since I am not dependent upon any single client for my well-being. Even though I have lost big clients over the years, I've never been a single pink-slip away from doom. Beyond the excessive metaphors above, the advice is sound. Even if your job really is "secure", If you are a "single paycheck" away from disaster, you are already in trouble. When you're basically broke, events tend to control you than the other way around. Having a savings cushion makes the difference between a desperate state of panic and a comfortable, controlled response.

LeiaShilobod
LeiaShilobod

You crack me up, Todd. However, even through your joking & jabbing, there is such truth in the idea that if you are an employee, there is truly NO SECURITY. You may feel secure, your company may tell you you are secure, but at any moment, you could lose your job. I own my own company, so if I fail or have no money - its totally my fault. It's certainly not for everyone, and I'm not saying that your readers should just strike out now and start their own firm, but the reality is.....you've got to take the blinders off and be prepared! PS - thanks for giving me a laught today! Leia Shilobod, IT Princess of Power

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Is the article directed at the few TR members from the planet Zarg? I mean how could you possibly not know this?

sissy sue
sissy sue

Even if I haven't often followed it. As someone who has been a contractor for over 22 years, I am well aware how the carpet can be pulled out from under one's feet. The trouble is that people get too comfortable in a job and assume that it's forever. As a wise maintenance man once told me, all jobs are temporary. Once you get that through your head, you are much more psychologically prepared for the worst. The only quibble that I might have with this valuable article is here: "Being laid off or fired is a young persons job. If youre over 40 or 50, becoming unemployed in the tech industry can seem like the beginning of a very painful end of a lifetime career and an uncertain future." No, it is not the end of the world if you are "over 40 or 50" and suddenly unemployed. That wealth of experience can be put to use as a contractor or a consultant. Here's the kicker, though: Most of us get our health insurance through our employers. Someone over 40 who loses his job is losing it at a time when he is more likely to become ill (or perhaps loved ones will get ill). Private insurance is more expensive the older you get. I think that organized labor was originally responsible for getting employers to provide health benefits, and that was a BIG mistake. When you let someone who doesnt give a d**n about you provide for you what you should be providing for yourself, you leave yourself vulnerable. Then, losing your job in your mature years becomes a disaster instead of just a bit of bad luck. Being a contractor, I've carried my own health insurance since I was 38. It was under $100 a month then. I can tell you that it isn't under $100 a month now. Still, I don't regret for a minute that I am privately insured. It certainly has made it easier to take the hard knocks when a current gig comes to an end.

toddfluhr
toddfluhr

I've seen that kind of thing before several times at companies. I was even hired at one where it turns out my real job function was to hold a department together while top management found a way to fire the director. I was told this in a blatant manner when I was hired, and the targeted-director painted to be worse than Idi Amin. But I soon realized after working with the director that in truth it was the opposite, and he was being targeted because he had been hired in the first place by a past co-owner in the company who'd recently passed away. The other owner had a deep dislike of the way that particular department had been funded and favoured by the late co-owner, and was intent on dismantling it and absorbing the physical assets into his own particular side of the company. The targeted director was in fact an amazingly creative and sweet person who thought his job totally secure because he consistently put out incredible results. Since I had been "prepped" that he was on the way out and upper management was just waiting for the chance to either fire him or make things so hard that he quit, I felt horrible. I took the director aside and tried to explain the exact nature in which I'd been hired, gave him the playbook of what was planned, but the Director refused to accept it. He thought the remaining co-owner's voice would be balanced by other people in the company who knew his department's worth. He was honestly convinced that good work and performance would win out in the end. Six months later he was gone, after watching his department systematically dismantled week after week, bit by bit. It was heart breaking. I resigned the same week, having decided I wouldn't continue working at a company like that. So Irishman, I've seen this kind of stuff close up. I've even found myself as one of the "bad guys" hired to facilitate the "coming transition" as an otherwise excellent employee is set up to fail. It sickened me and not a day goes by that I don't remember that situation with deep regrets for the terminated department director. Last I heard from him was about a year ago. After a very long term of unemployment, he'd gotten a position with an Southern California college. A vast "step down" from his earlier position.

toddfluhr
toddfluhr

... wandering as a stranger in a stranger land thousands of miles from home is a daunting prospect. I'm not even sure I could conceptualize it properly.

toddfluhr
toddfluhr

... for so many reasons. Far too many to list here. Maybe that would make a good topic for an article someday.

toddfluhr
toddfluhr

How often senior managers have no real grasp of the practical production of the project they supervise?

toddfluhr
toddfluhr

... I made an assumption. Yes, I know what they say happens when one presumes to "assume". But I did have a reason for glossing over personal skill enhancements, continued education, and keeping yourself polished as the best commodity possible. That reason is this: the assumption that, as an IT professional, the reader is already working daily to stay at the zenith of their skills and abilities. That "obsessive-compulsive" drive in most IT professionals to be on the cutting edge of their field is what really what it means to be a professional in the first place. It really isn't your job title, area of expertise, or size of your department. Being professional is about being on top of your chosen area of expertise. Being a professional means your career is an avocation, not a mere vocation. So yes, I'm guilty of not emphasizing personal skill enhancements, education, or other self-improvements as part of a preparedness plan. Had I not been writing with this personal presumption of what defines a professional, or had I been writing for a more generalized audience of non-professionals, I most certainly would have included the need for polishing one's self, skills, and credentials.

Charles Bundy
Charles Bundy

How much is "enough?" Even as a starving graduate student my wife and I managed to build equity and savings. You control your destiny, and the first step is to start socking a small percentage away. If it means sacrificing HBO/Showtime or that meal out, then so be it. Start saving early, as Albert Einstein called compound interest the "eighth wonder of the world."

JohnMcGrew
JohnMcGrew

...then you either were spending too much, or in the wrong business. Either way, whining about it and waiting for someone to fix it will get you no where, as millions of Americans are beginning to figure out.

toddfluhr
toddfluhr

I agree with you. The problem is that no practical solution is really on deck. We are currently adrift in troubled economic seas. So do we throw our hands up in despair? Blame the weather or ship captain? Well, yeah, some. But the main thing I'd like to try to do is to open people's eyes to the fact that in the end, we can't rely on our employers or government. This subject needs better minds than mine on it, but we have to start addressing it soon before all of our careers are outsourced abroad. We need competitive strategies to keep our jobs growing here, and to keep ourselves afloat when they don't. I don't really have any answers. But I do know there's a problem, and we need to start paying attention.

toddfluhr
toddfluhr

In fact I also live for extended metaphors the same way a moth lives for a bright candle shining in the dark but always in danger of immolation if it dares fly too close and catch fire with all the raging violence of a badly over-written run-on sentence. :) Regarding proximity to disaster, current statistics seem to indicate the vast majority of Americans are less than 2 paychecks from possible homelessness. These are scary times.

phil_hagerman
phil_hagerman

If you are one paycheck away from disaster you have far worse problems than just waiting for the pink slip. You're going to lose your house the first time that car breaks down and you have to choose transportation to earn that check versus the rent / mortgage payment. Bottom line it is not what you make it is what you are spending. Do this: Get your check and automatically take 5 or 10 percent off the top and stuff it away in a money market account. You can't transfer money out of it online you have to go into the bank to do it (a little safer than a savings account you can easily raid with the click of a mouse). That money is now gone. You didn't get a pink slip but you did just get a pay cut. Live with it, get over it. You know what? It's gonna suck for a short period, but you will adjust. You will find a way to live with it. Best of all, in very little time that money is going to amount to something big. And your stress of living paycheck to paycheck is going to leave. More importantly, you're going to have more confidence in yourself and you will be better prepared for those curveballs life like to pitch.

toddfluhr
toddfluhr

I really try to make my stuff enjoyable to read. My one goal is to communicate. If people aren't having fun reading, they tend to gloss over the words and I've failed in my goal. Oh, and regarding whether or not any failure of your own freelance endeavors are entirely up to you.... well, yes, to a very large degree, but don't underestimate the power of Fate. Even when we do our best and shine our brightest, there are always outside factors waiting to brew a perfect storm of unexpected problems. There's a John Lennon quote I take very much to heart. Forgive me if I mangle it a little, but it goes something like, "Life is what happens to us while we're busy making other plans." Keep up the good work. Fight the good fight. And thank you so much for your kind words.

toddfluhr
toddfluhr

I know I'm going to be targeted for rebuttal for this, but you'd be surprised how many techie types are oblivious to the corporate / business side of their employers. They focus on their projects, deliver genius to their clients, and proceed on the assumption that great work will be appreciated and always in demand. Silly, silly geniuses.

LeiaShilobod
LeiaShilobod

....its much easier to pretend that you have a "safe, secure job" and Americans tell their kids to get a "safe, secure job." I mean if Mom & Dad tell you that there is such a thing, you believe it, right?

toddfluhr
toddfluhr

I did say "becoming unemployed in the tech industry can seem like..." emphasis on the "can seem like". To a lot of folks, suddenly finding themselves having to reboot or reformat a career can be incredibly daunting. The older someone is, the scarier it can be. While they may possess a life-time of knowledge and skill, they are now competing with much younger, less demanding individuals for the same jobs. A 50-year old senior designer who competes for the same jobs as a freshly graduated college person is in for a major shift of income expectations.

phil_hagerman
phil_hagerman

I too am an Independant Consultant who caries private insurance for my girls and myself. I never have to worry about jobs / contracts comming to an end unexpectedly. My wife carries her insurance through her employer. She has been through 5 different companies in the last 10 years and each time the most frightening issue has been the insurance coverage. Bottom line, if your employer holds the keys to your family's health security you have fewer options and become owned. It's your health, your responsibility, own it. Don't let someone else call the shots. I pay under $250 per month for myself and two children. I have a 7,000 max family deductible which is covered by my pre-tax medical savings account. Not too bad relative to what I used to pay as an employee for a large software company.

robertgbryan
robertgbryan

I too provide for my own health insurance. I pay $119 per month with Sierra Health and Life here in Nevada, and I'm 53. Of course it does include a $10K deductible.

toddfluhr
toddfluhr

I was trying to communicate to folks who grew up in a traditional "career employer" culture or others too project-focused to see the real-world perils that may threaten their stability. These aren't people "waiting for someone to fix it.." but people who may not realize how fragile their stability is. This is something no one can "fix". It's a byproduct of the Darwinistic Techopoly we find ourselves in. The question becomes how can we best adapt and survive. That's what I attempted to address. Tactics for survival. The government can't fix this, nor can a well-meaning employer. Only us.

JohnMcGrew
JohnMcGrew

...who really are responsible for their own disasters. After the meltdown started about 4 years ago, I quickly lost count of the people who "lost it all" so quickly. And it certainly wasn't because they weren't making enough before that to get by; most had big new houses, new cars, nice vacations and all the cool toys. The one thing they didn't have was money in the bank and "net worth". Their lifestyle was 100% realtime-dependent upon their paycheck, and all it took was one bump-in-the-road to derail it all. (had to throw in a few metaphors!) Anyway, one of the seemingly oxymoronic benefits of being an "independent" is that you always have to be prepared for at least some of your business to not be there. The bumps should neither be a surprise or a tragedy that leaves you homeless in 4 weeks.

toddfluhr
toddfluhr

More people need to think this way.

toddfluhr
toddfluhr

Most of the baby-boomers grew up in a time when one of their parents (usually the dad) had a career position where they expected to be until retirement. Up until the 60's and late 70's there was a presumption in America that a good job with a company equaled a life-long commitment and security. That "value system" did sort of trickle into the baby-boomer subconscious. But we live in a different world now. To people born in the late 70's onwards, this cultural "expectation" has rapidly decreased to the point of a negative expectation wherein no job is stable. But the older you are, the more likely you are to have a baseline belief that good work and company loyalty will be rewarded with retirement stability. It's like growing up in the 1960's and having a world-view that all police are like sheriff Andy Taylor: wise, human, and interested in helping people. Is it a bad world view? No. Is it realistic? Ha! But people still want to believe. Hope springs eternal that things will make sense, and all will be right in the world if we do our best. This was once a valid philosophy to live one's life by. Now it's become obsolete, an opiate at best, a poisonous meme at worst.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

The intelligent ones stayed you see. :D Sorry but anyone who hasn't figured out that their career and employment prospects aren't exclusively in their hands deserves everything that happens to them. Now who would like to own a bridge. Highest bidder wins money in advance please....

sissy sue
sissy sue

Back in the 50s and 60s, an American could believe he had a "safe, secure job" because it was possible to work 40 years for one company and expect a pension afterwards. My generation will be the first to have it worse than their parents did.

toddfluhr
toddfluhr

More people should follow your example. I've seen so much hardship from people who get blindsided by this when suddenly back out in the job market... There should be more info available and inducements for individuals to carry their own insurance rather than rely on their employer. As you so rightfully point out, it removes the chains and false sense of security.

toddfluhr
toddfluhr

It's all an economy of scale.

toddfluhr
toddfluhr

Actually, if I were to adopt a family crest, the motto would simply read, "Horrified". :) Thanks!

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

What a guy, huh? Then, the employee - being a good employee - should do whatever they can to ensure that their employer - being a good employer - sees no reason to get rid of them - which would be a waste. Right down to incriminating photographs :D

toddfluhr
toddfluhr

When friends ask for my best recommendation on a "business primer", I refer them to the selected discourses of Machiavelli. Consider this bit of wisdom: when you help someone to power, they will resent you. They will begin to treat you badly so as to provoke bad behavior, and thus justify getting rid of you. Once you're gone, they can take all the credit for having gotten into power in the first place. People do this all the time, even in relationships. The sad thing is many people do it subconsciously. Consider this scenario: a person is unhappy in their marriage and wishes to date other people. Rather than admit their own goal, they will begin to treat their partner badly in little ways. Cold distance, less communication, little criticisms and insults.... and then when their partner responds in angry confusion, the person uses that reply as a validation / justification for ending the relationship. It's the same principle in work. Some employers will want to remove an employee for a variety of reasons, but rather than admit their own motives will instead begin treating the employee badly so as to provoke behavior which can then justify firing the person. But sometimes the provoked individual reacts in unexpected, desperate ways as their own world collapses around them.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

After all, if the company somehow feels that it oughtn't sack people, but still does - then it would need to tell itself that "Well, that employee was bad. Nasty business, but it had to be done".

toddfluhr
toddfluhr

Or at least a bumper sticker.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

The goal is not to want a welfare state, it's not to need one...

toddfluhr
toddfluhr

... and obviously I should imbibe more. This is a lacking I admit, and will immediately attempt to rectify.

toddfluhr
toddfluhr

Many think we here in the US are already well on the path to becoming a socialist state.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

We had that tradition as well. It might be you kept the industries without the tradition, Thatcher and her cronies solved that problem, they got rid of the industries.... Doubt it can be saved, general raise in standard of living, huge raise in the expectation, and mobility, the solid state revolution, so many things you'd have to ditch. Or you could all become socialists. :D

toddfluhr
toddfluhr

Actually, Tony, it's only in the last 30 or so years that this has really become a problem for us. Up through the 70's, there was a deep-rooted faith and belief in America that a good employer equaled stability through retirement. It was a belief system based on a long tradition of this actually being the standard rather than the exception. Our problem is the clash of this past belief system and the modern deconstruction / synthesis of our core economic models over the last 40 years. We aren't the country we used to be. In fact we are rapidly self-destructing and falling apart. But that's not what made us what we once where. The real question is if this is indeed the final eulogy, or if the system can be saved. We just might be at the end of this Grand Experiment, and it is ending not with a bang but an economic whimper.

toddfluhr
toddfluhr

I just wrote a reply to LeiaShilobod's post that very much addresses what you're saying. The poison that makes us so vulnerable to today's transient, unstable career market is distilled from the 50's-60's when a career meant being with one company through retirement. Rather than re-phrase what I just posted, check out my reply to LeiaShilobod.

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