On her blog, Megan McArdle writes in post called, A Tentative Defense of Breaking Windows:
The heart of the argument is this: prolonged unemployment is basically the worst economic event that can happen to a person in America. Losing your home, declaring bankruptcy, or having your life savings stolen are awful. But as long as you are working, those things can be replaced–maybe never as good as they were, but certainly adequately. A lengthy spell of unemployment robs you of social status. It steals your piece of mind. It embezzles your accumulated skills and contacts. It beats your sense of self-worth into a bloody pulp. And like all crime victims, it leaves you permanently afraid in a way that you never were before. And that’s if you get a job. Except that one of the worst parts of being unemployed for a long time is that it gets harder to get another job with each passing month.
Megan seems to overlook the simple solution here. As several of my grandparents use to tell me, get off your duff and go make yourself useful to someone.
It may not be your ideal job. It may not pay what you were making before. It may be temporary and ‘beneath’ you. And it may lead you into a highly successful career path that you would have never considered.
I can’t remember exactly where I heard this story. Seems like a radio show like Dave Ramsey or maybe even NPR. It’s a story about a woman who lost her job. She went to Home Depot and bought $10 worth of window washing equipment and started knocking on doors offering to wash windows. Within a couple years she had a window washing company with several hundred thousand dollars a year in sales.
What about those of you who do have a job? Are you saving an emergency fund? Are you broadening your skills, taking advantage of your company’s training and education programs and getting varied experiences so that you might be able to transition to something else easier? Are you managing your expenses so you could live on much less income if you have to take a lower paying job? What thought have you given to your backup plan?