Wages of Gloom

Geo-politics, fiscal rectitude, transparency, monetary policy, sovereign debt and constitutionality aside, the Obama years will be marked as an eon of gloom for wage-earners.

There ‘ain’t been nuthin’ in for us, that’s fer dayum sure.

I could link to statistical and commentary sites all showing that wages are stuck or reversing, with no hope for sustained change in sight, but what’s the point? If you are, like me, at the mercy of an arsehole employer, you already know all about it. And if you aren’t in need of a hourly job, you’re probably cruising along.

Those in the asset-owning class are the ones who have made out. Bubbles like never before seen are current in:

* stocks

* bonds

* (lots of) housing

* collectibles

…and all the stuff that doesn’t require actual day-to-day labor. You have had to own assets OR cashflow for the last ten years to have been successful. Even savers have been screwed over with zero rates.

What’s the lesson? Well, for one thing, consider your job a short-term tactic only. All, and I really mean all of your creative energy should be channeled into creating, finding, mining, uncovering, discovering, harnessing and making income from other than hourly work. It is that important. The success of the rest of our lives depends upon it.

Remember: governments are broke (US, Japan, Greece) or committed to failed enterprises (Germany to the EU) or just plain corrupt (almost everywhere else.) So counting on them for anything…well, you figure it out.

Remember: asset bubbles burst; they never, ever last. So all that stuff I listed above? Well…you figure it out.

Remember: income is what makes the world go around. Rents still must be paid; people will always need soap, shampoo and tile cleaner; people still have aspirations, and will work for you if you motivate them. At some point income-producing assets will reach reasonable prices worthy of us investing.

The only question is: Will you be ready when they do? Will you have the cashflow to take advantage?

Wages and Politicians be damned. Let’s get independent.

Ignore the Circus

There appear to me to be two worlds which we all bestride: there is the public, media defined world of clowns like Brian Williams and the political/economic circus, and there is our daily life of family, friends, colleagues and those who surround them.

It is easy to be swept into thinking about that first world. We are, after all, surrounded by media and the stories they create around this stuff. It is dramatic, and they polish it to make sure it shines enough to keep our interest. What it is not is of any use to us. Being familiar with reality tv stars or even the chicanery of public politics is fundamentally of no value.

If we are talking about our quality of life, I work to keep my focus much shorter. Being positive and energetic affects those people close to us, but can influence others slightly more distant. Doing the right thing might not be easy in the short run, but will always reward you on a longer time-frame. Completing tasks – even the mundane, boring stuff – gives us enormous satisfaction, much more than knowing the latest (bogus) unemployment statistics.

Keep it local, keep it personal, keep it honest. The rest will take care of itself. Oh, and work hard too, that always helps.

Even the Smallest Thing

Sometime in the last twenty-four hours I heard or read or maybe even half-remembered the following concept:

When we stretch ourselves mentally, physically or spiritually, you cannot undo it. We’re forever stretched.

That’s my summary, but the idea is clear.

It reminds me of an older – again, stolen – thought about achievement. When Roger Bannister first ran a mile in fewer than four minutes, it sparked a rush of others doing the same. He gave athletes permission to break a previously unsurpassed barrier.

We all need to give ourselves permission to break barriers, especially the smallest ones closest to hand. They are the most important.



Happy Mother's Day, Carol.
Happy Mother’s Day, Carol.

Sundays have a specific feel to me, perhaps for you too. This Sunday, yesterday, was my first without work for weeks, and so it felt particularly special.

After some breakfast at The Coffee Loft (living the dream with coffee, panino, newspaper and Sunday Baroque) I tootled off to Barnes and Noble. They’ve changed B & N around since last I was there, it’s different and roomier. Hopefully bookshops will survive the Amazon onslaught.

Then to Best Buy. Best Buy can make me feel inadequate. Odd, I know, but it’s the combination of all that wonderful stuff that I can’t afford, and all that wonderful stuff that I don’t quite understand. The technology on sale is brilliant, but I have a need for only a tiny fraction of what’s available. Despite that, I would still like to have it all – ridiculous as that is.

Sunday was restful, a rejuvenation day. This morning I was at Lido Key at sunup, reveling in the absence of people and the quiet. At the beach, there’s space to think, to get calm, to find perspective. It made me happy that someone remembered to give Carol some flowers. That’s what’s important. And I’m glad that someone knows it.