Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Economy, or: Upside THAT!

Found it!

You know that silver that’s supposed to line every cloud, economic or otherwise? I’ve seen it! More precisely, I see it all over the place.

Not that it can halt my bouts of panic, self pity or despair. It can, however, create a nice counterpoint.

So, viewers, let’s playUPSIDE THAT!"

Today’s silver lining challenge: (What else?) The Economic Downspin.

Challenge accepted.

Silver lining Number One:


To illustrate: In its latest newsletter to residents, my local school district lists ways it has found to cut costs.That’s understandable, since a large hike in our upcoming school taxes would earn a D-minus from us voters.

One money-saving gesture on the district’s list – smarter use of energy. Waste will be more effectively curbed. Lights in rooms not in use? Coffee makers on all day? Computers still on when the workday has ended? One-sided print-outs? You get the idea. All are to become bad habits of the past. Sensors and timers are going to help.

Well, that kind of waste has been on the list of every environmental org. for perhaps 15 years. It actually made it to the school district’s list before this year, but without much fanfare. Now, for reasons not environmental, the necessity is clearer and the commitment far greater.

Multiply that by thousands of school districts and businesses, then throw in countless households, all trying to lower their energy bills. Economy and thermostats go down, planet’s chances of survival -- up!

Lining Number Two:


I’ve just submitted my final draft of an article (for Living & Being Magazine) about people who have started or continue to run small businesses during these hard economic times. I focused on three examples in the Mid-Hudson Valley. Not one owner was down or worried. A restaurateur, a seller and renter of event supplies and services, two wine and liquor retailers, all felt their enterprises were meeting customers’ changing needs.

The occasional visit to a restaurant is a relatively inexpensive “up”, said one. Another observed: “people are still getting married, having babies…” so they continue to celebrate major life events – just differently. And finally: The owners of the liquor store felt that people needed them even more now. Why?

“They’re entertaining at home more often . . . There’s more cooking going on, family, friends, fellowship.”

Now that sounds like quite the sparkling lining to me.

A postscript of a personal sort:
Having lost my job to across-the-board layoffs at my organization, I’m searching madly for another position, while doing the occasional freelance assignment as the supply of those shrinks as well.Like clockwork, things around my house have chosen this difficult period to break down or wear out. Of course, there’s no money to pay for the big ticket items that simply must be replaced. Dark, dark cloud.

Persuasive friends plus encouraging publicity from governmental agencies convinced me I’d be eligible for help I never thought I’d need. So household crises paired with an economic downturn have allowed me to feel, very personally, the caring attitude that must have led to the legislation that in turn led to the help I’m receiving now. Additionally, in my rural county at least, I’ve been impressed by the way in which recipients – all kinds of us -- are treated respectfully by county workers. Like colleagues, is how I’d describe it.

Silver lining Number 3:

I was given the opportunity to find all that out.

1 comment:

  1. This is a wonderful way of looking at it all. I enjoyed reading your thoughts, and considering what silver linings I might find if I looked a little harder.