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12/15/10

Only In America

The crisis of missed opportunity...

We live during an economic crisis that is as devastating as the Great Depression of the 1930s. The difference is we entered into this crisis with much better housing, clothing, food supplies and the cushioning blows of unemployment insurance, severance pay and other safety nets. This means the initial  shock was distressing but not as dramatic as the Thirties and the residual hangover will not seem as severe and less uncomfortable. That is not to say all is well with everyone or that more is not on the way.

The long term effect of this great economic downturn is overcoming high unemployment, debt overhang and the length of time to fully recover, which has every potential to make this period collectively dreary. We must individually fight colorlessness of a flat time span to make it interesting to ourselves, making an effort to overcome potential personal lifelessness. Opportunities are fewer and farther in between now and will be in the upcoming era and every chance missed is a mini-crisis of itself. It is key to take every option to learn something new, make enriching friendships, accept a job that may not be permanent or ideal, travel or see something different, whatever presents itself and take advantage of the chance while you can. You never know when learning something, such as creating a website, fixing a bicycle, cooking an omelet, participating in a focus group, learning to use an e-reader, teaching a kid to tie his shoe, taking a community class or going back to school, you get the idea...may become a skill used in or to gain employment or create your own enterprise.

Over four years ago when I started getting interested in YouTube I didn't plan on learning to make, edit and upload videos, renew my photography interest and start a new blog. After I lost my main source of income in 2007, a full-time job I'd held a long time, I used the activities of all of them to occupy my time and gain some more skills in using the internet and get involved in the social web. I took the time to learn how to use a smartphone to its fullest, rather than just as a tool for work. I had no idea then that those skills would later impress an employer to hire me during a down employment market.

Opportunities usually don't present themselves as connections to something to advance yourself, your future and make your life better. Keep your eyes on the road and wide open.