Dec 7, 2010

“But that’s not my job.”

There are 6.2 million long-term unemployed in the United States.

Many get up each and every morning and go to their computers looking for work as if their computers will soon offer (will it be today?) a panacea to their worry.

Guess what? If you’re not willing to do anything, anywhere, at whatever price, you may as well hang up your tool belt now. There it is — the nail on the wall. Go ahead. Reach high, stretch.

While you’re stretching, think about this:

What else could you be doing besides compulsively gazing into that ‘puter screen looking for answers?

I was flipping through channels yesterday and happened upon (love him or hate him) Glenn Beck addressing a small panel of people in Pittsburgh in preparation for a show he was doing a few hours later to a theatre audience. One of the participants was a man who appeared to be maybe 45 years old. Glenn had asked the small gathering what they were doing in preparation for the economic nuclear winter Glen sees on the horizon.

My wife and I have five businesses and we do what we have to do to keep things going for everyone. We pay ourselves last.”

Huh?” I thought, sitting up and leaning forward. “That’s something they don’t wanna hear,” I thought to myself.

Pay yourself last? Remember all that shouting maybe 20, 25 or so years ago about paying yourself first? Back in late 2008 we had a lively LinkedIn discussion about the concept.

Although the concept of putting away a portion of your savings is a good and valuable one the broader message of “Me, first,” shines through.

It’s not always possible to pay one’s self.

“Me, first,” thinking has brought us to where we are today.

Sometimes, especially when you’re a business owner, the needs of others come first.

Your employees should be paid before you pay yourself. This includes payroll taxes.

Your creditors should be paid before you pay yourself.

The lights need to be kept on, the equipment needs to be maintained, and the roof needs to be fixed before you pay yourself.

Many of today’s long-term unemployed will probably never again find jobs as employees of someone else.

Many of them will need to reach deep into their own resources and create jobs for themselves.

Some of them will buy established businesses if they have the financial resources to do it.

Not many do nowadays.

Many of the unemployed are living unemployment check to half way through the month when they’re going hungry.

They stay hungry until the next check arrives.

Two million Americans are about to lose those unemployment checks if Congress doesn’t extend the already historically unprecedented time of almost two years to receive benefits that is in place now.

Doing so is greatly taxing state coffers. Michigan has stopped accepting/processing new unemployment claims.

Almost $320 billion has been paid out to jobless Americans in the last three years with more than one third of that paid by the federal government. The rest has been paid by the states.

Here’s a good explanation of how Unemployment Insurance works.

It seems, maybe, that the water has hit the shore.

When water hits the shore there’s a lot of commotion created in the inward rushing force.

It’s not as if there haven’t been warnings; there have been plenty. Here’s one that sounded eighteen years ago but went largely ignored.

Comparing that one to the water hitting the shore analogy, it’s not well known that before a tsunami hits land the ocean first sucks water away from the coastline before rushing back in with enormous speed and force. Those on the coastline have only a few minutes to save themselves at this point.

Those who remain perish along with the stranded fish flopping on the sand, gasping for air.

Maybe Old Ross was on to something all those years ago. Maybe we only have a few minutes left to save ourselves.

One way of saving ourselves is to do what many are going to be forced soon to do:


That can be your next job.

It’s not as bad as it sounds.

Nobody’s ever again going to pay you as an employee.

What are your options?

Before accepting your options you’re going to have to swallow that big lump about paying yourself last.

Can you do it?

It’s not all about us.

It’s about others too and when we realize that and accept the fact that it’s up to us to pull ourselves out of the harm’s way that this economic tsunami is delivering, the better we’re going to feel.

The sooner we get at this business of saving ourselves, the better off we’re all going to be.

In the coming days I’m going to share with you some ways to pull yourself out of harm’s way. It’s not going to be easy advice to follow but for some of you I think it’s going to come in handy.

re-posted with permission from

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