Working for The Man

Working in the fields you get your facts learned...

and I got my facts learned real good.

This economic climate is like the weather, we have no control over it. The storm is gusting winds, huffing and puffing and blowing houses down, rain is flooding the basements and lower floors and no amount of sandbagging is going to stop it. Politicians and bureaucrats egos may lead them to believe they can do something about it but most of the population has figured out that we're in a disruptive contraction that will run it's own course.

Personally I don't believe the unemployment figure is going to remain stagnant and only go up or down a notch or two as the so-called experts predict. It's widely agreed that unemployment is going to be a problem for a long time and it is my opinion it is going to go higher. Already it is higher than official numbers reflect. The broken record is that this is an economic contraction due to overleveraging of debt by individuals and government. If people are not employed they cannot pay debt or taxes. That is a fact.

Our country has created people with a mindset of a job or career working for a large or medium sized employer with an implied contract of benefits and a pension. The Man. No longer is he willing to carry the contract though. This administration has also done everything it can to kill many of the remaining average micro entrepreneurial enterprises as well as small businesses out there that might have employed a few people or kept a family going. A "jobs program?" Really? My additional thought is there is no point in retraining or educating for careers unlikely to exist in the coming years. Working for The Man is past tense. Small businesses must rework their way around the obstructions. Thinking otherwise is a delusion.

Individuals work in the present to plan for a different future.

The people who are thriving and will thrive are those who are thinking creatively while looking down the road and taking control now of what they can. They aren't putting themselves into debt or deficit spending and if they are in that position they are digging their way out of it. The Americans who are making it are those who are achievement oriented, still have a sense of reward for hard work and self-reliance, cutting a swath for their own path. Perhaps that means working at a job now as a means to an end but the end game is not to work for someone else in the sense we have been. The primary intention at this juncture is a future forward assessment of skills that are of value and develop them alongside additional ones.

What a thinking ahead person is doing in one way or another is fashioning tools in every moment of spare time. They're figuring out how to make a living or already are in the coming new period and create a different way of life. In stormy weather they're holding fast to values in order to rebuild lives above the flood line. There is not a politician or bureaucrat that can provide the ingredients necessary to prepare and act to accomplish the reconstruction required. While this economic contraction is running its course simultaneously individuals and communities are reinventing themselves on their own. People are or will be working for themselves, either in their own enterprises or as free agents for another enterprise by choice. The government can't machinate that. Only individuals and communities can engineer the kind of renovation our economy needs for our country to fully function again.

(With apologies to Springsteen on this Labor Day.)


  1. First of all, that rain-through-the-windshield picture is a beautiful thing. It looked like that around here today, rainy and dark and cool and I loved it.

    There seem to be an awful lot of people who would try to have you believe that rainy, cloudy days aren't as good as sunny, cloudless ones. I do my best to avoid these people.

    Life needs dynamics. You need some rain once in a while, and a head cold, and the neighbor's dog barking. These things serve purposes much more meaningful than a weatherperson saying, "you might want to bring the umbrella".

    I'm sure we're in an interesting time right now. I know I've never felt both so hopeful and so disturbed by what I see; some people spend their days striving for minimum wage and some people wear their thumbs raw texting. Maybe they're sometimes the same people. I feel like an immigrant to a country I don't understand, sometimes.

    It's a lonely feeling but there are worse things. You are right that working for the man is at best inadequate; we each and all truly work for ourselves and (if we're lucky) some people we love. I know it's politically popular to thrust people who think like I do work-wise as OPPONENTS and THREATS of government workers and members of the AFL-CIO. But if you gathered you and I and all the rest of us in a room and gave us truth serum I doubt that anyone would say, "I'm doing all of this for someone else." The artists in the crowd might try to say it but if they're sane they'd know that on some level they were lying.

    Self-interest is at the base of every great thing that ever came out of America or anywhere else. We never work for the man unless the man is me. Then, the badlands treat us good.

    I can't imagine what this thing says, but I'm not editing.

    Thanks, JR!

  2. First I love that photo and am pleased that someone else appreciates it also and said so.

    "I feel like an immigrant to a country I don't understand, sometimes." Wow...as an immigrant I'm just now beginning to understand why after decades of assimilation and "Americanization" (thanks to my American dad and aunt who prepared all of us from the time we were born) since 9-11 I've felt that way. More like asking the question "Who ARE these people?" who went on the biggest borrowing and spending spree I've ever seen after that calamitous event.

    Thomas Friedman answered it recently with we went from my parents generation of "spend and invest" to my generation of "borrow and spend." The latter values are not what I was brought up with, I suspect you weren't either, so that somewhat answers the sense of being an immigrant in our own land.