Many organizations are finding themselves in trouble they didn’t anticipate. Corporations, government agencies and nonprofits alike find that at the end of a long period of emphasis on individual achievement the advancing Depression sees them surprisingly vulnerable. This isn’t a totally unexpected. Organizations of people exist for a reason, and when times change the first thing people often do is retreat even more inward. Eventually, however, getting through hard times will require people to work together, which is to say refocus on why it works better with many hands. That may produce some unusual results.
Millions of people are finding themselves not only without a job, but without a career. As whole industries downsize at once the necessary restructuring in our economy means that many professions are going to be reduced to the point where they appear to have gone away. If their profession is a big part of their identity, many workers will feel that they have been disposed of. Dealing with this issue will, eventually, move from being a personal trauma to a social tragedy – and perhaps a new openness in the job market for the professional middle class. Continue reading
The moment of terror comes slowly at first, rolling under your subconscious before you really know it’s there. Only once it’s too late do you recognize the signs were there all along – the big stacks of papers that serve as fortifications and the large cups of coffee that can provision any siege. Everyone else knew it, why didn’t you?
It was destined to be one of those marathon meetings from the start. You walked right into a trap. All you can do now is squirm your tuchus (TUCK-us, Yiddisch for “backside”).
Understanding the changes that have taken place in our economy over the last two generations helps us to understand the nature of the Depression or near Depression we are in now. The most important reason for this is that the way out of a economic downturn is a restructuring – allocating energy and money to something that has a real value to the world. Think of it as a chance to go to our rooms and think about what we’ve done and what we’re going to do different in the future. The other reason is that as we look to the last Depression for guidance as to what we should be doing, there are obvious limitations caused by the simple fact that things have changed.
You may know him from the twenty dollar bill, but that may be a fleeting glance. These bills come and go from our lives and there is only so much that you can tell from them. The engraver put a bit of sadness into Jackson’s eyes, a sense of weight that doesn’t quite seem right. Wasn’t he a man of determination and strength? Yet the portrait is accurate in its own way, telling us about the legacy of Jackson that is harder to bear than the man himself. In Jackson’s story, we have the story of our people.