Loud-mouthed liberal feminist. Anarchist knitter. Tequila-drinking artsy-smartsy fat chick. Bluesy folk-rock singer-songwriter. Rebel with too many causes. Quirky eclectic pagan poet. Paradoxical intuitive smartass. Sarcastic brainiac insomniac. You know, for starters.


Shitty economy? Not exactly hypothetical.

The economy sucks. I've seen I dunno how many posts and articles and graphs showing how much it sucks, no matter what Washington or Wall Street might want to tell themselves and the rest of us.

The housing crisis? Still crisis-a-licious.

Unemployment? Still sky high. (And then there's the "speedup".)

...and so on and so forth. There's plenty of information out there.

The numbers are irrefutable and stomach-turning for me, and all things considered, I am incredibly lucky - I still have a job, I still have health insurance, I still have time before retirement for my 401k to bounce back, and I even have a small pension that took less of a hit than my 401k. But, even for me, a single woman who doesn't own a home or carry any debt, this shit is not hypothetical: the awful economy has been like a repeated punch to the gut. What does it say about the horrible-ness of it if someone like me, who ought to be relatively insulated from the crisis, is still feeling it significantly?

What do I mean, though? How has it hit me?

Well, first, let's talk about the fact that I work for a big multi-national corporation. In the past five years, we've paid cash to acquire two other companies and sponsored one of the world's most popular sports franchises to the tune of $20 million. Every quarter, our shareholder return grows. This year, my CEO got $6 million in bonuses alone. Meanwhile, hundreds of jobs here in the U.S. were eliminated and then replaced by offshoring operations in India and Mexico. That small pension, which should've been growing more every year, was frozen last year. My health benefits decreased, my deductibles increased. My salary, unlike shareholder returns, didn't increase enough to keep up with cost of living increases. On my little six person team, two of us have taken leaves of absence for major health reasons. I'm pretty sure all of us have been on anti-depressants and/or anti-anxiety meds at some point, and we're all working harder than we ever have, trying to keep up with expanding workloads and decreasing support. We're using outdated hardware and software that further challenge our efficiency, and management has become more and more draconian, because we're all supposed to be so grateful to even have jobs anymore.

So, yeah, I am luckier than a lot of people have been in this recession. I still have a job. But it's becoming less of a blessing every day, and I don't see much of a chance that trend will change anytime soon. I'm still holding on, but I'm not sure how much longer I'll still be able to say that.

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