I cannot remember a time when I have personally known more people who have lost their jobs, had their hours cut, or have been told they are likely to lose their jobs within a few months. All age and income demographics, too. There is sadness, and worry, and mainly just this stunned factor, like " too." I don't know very many people who have substantial savings, or who don't have significant levels of debt. That seems to be the way it has been for awhile now: get what you want NOW, pay it off sometime, then maybe save some money. Maybe.

So. Now. What.

The potential upside to all this is that maybe you have some time to think about So Now What. There seem to be so many people who are dissatisfied with their jobs, for so many reasons. Why not try to think about now doing something you feel passionate about? A story addressed this very issue today:

I like what this woman has to say in the article:

"I've spent most of my professional life making money for other people's companies," says Laura Waldusky, who opened her own jewelry shop this month in Houston, Texas, after being unable to find a job in 2008. "Why not invest my talents in, well, myself?"

My parents, who started up their own businesses, would often say, "You will never be happy working for someone else." I don't know if that is really 100% true, but my spin on that is that you will never be happy if you feel you aren't working for you, using your talents, heart, and skills to do something you care about. It is not too much to hope for, but it does take some thought, effort, planning, luck, and reflection. If you want to be an astronaut, I AM SORRY. Just move on. Perhaps something a little more down to earth, ah ha ha ha. Oof, sorry.

If you open a business, the article goes on to say, the chances it will fail within a year are 80%. That is a daunting figure. But, realistically, there was probably a fatal flaw with the business plan, or many flaws. If you have always dreamed of opening a darling little cafe with delicate pastries and fresh flowers on the tiny tables, you should not pick a location next to the Dunlap tire shop and The Pink Kitten "gentleman's club." A hunting knife/survivalist shop is probably not going to do so well in Beverly Hills. Borrowing $50,000 to start up your bead shop from "Big Jimmy" outside of the Golden Nugget casino may end up with you filing for Medicaid and/or the Witness Protection Program. You have to find something you like, that you can do well, and that other people need or want, and then you have to find the right way to deliver it to them. Despite the terrible odds, every year folks do this, and they do succeed.

What you consider a success may have to change. The McMansion/4-car-garage/Hummer days are over, unless you are someone associated with professional sports or music with vocoder vocals. To do what you want, you will likely have to drive a Datsun, that's right, a Datsun, not even Nissan, live with roommates, your family, your wife's family, or your wife's family's roommates. You will never sleep. Your debt load will get worse before it gets better, and a week at Disneyland will have to be a weekend at the Dells. No one need know that your underwear elastic is sagging, or that you've given up your expensive 3-pack-a-day cigarette habit for smoking the half-smooshed-out butts across from the high school from cute teenage girls who look herpes-free.

So. Now. What. When you are overwhelmed, it's hard to even know where to start to answer the question. How do you find what it is you feel you were meant to do? Well, you can ask. Ask your family and friends to give you their honest opinions about what they think you do well, what they could see you doing. You might be surprised at what they come up with, and it could take you in a whole different direction. If you have an area of interest, talk about it. To anyone, anytime, as long as you are not too obnoxious about it. Chances are, someone you meet will know more about the field, know someone you could talk to, or might even have a line on a JOB. Networking is crucial, even though I loathe the word. I guess I would rather think of it all as finding connections with like-minded people, rather than the crass 80s kind of soulless job-whoring. Good god, I sound like a hippie.

A lot of people are going to be in the same boat, which means two things: ruthless competition for resources, and a genuine willingness to help out others. What can I tell you? Well, I just told you that, and all the stuff above, too. The best and the worst can come out of dire situations. Door shut, window open, silver lining, blah bah blah. Now is the time, now now now, to save that extra bit of money, go to night school to get extra training like you swore you would, talk to your friend about opening a booth at the Farmer's Market, take the bus, read up, rest up, think. Think about what makes you smile, and head in that direction. Something will happen.

Like the Grand Opening of The Pink Kitten II.