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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Failed Economy

So, for those of you who haven’t figured it out, living on credit is death.  Really.   It is better to pack up, move (to your parents’ house, your best friend’s garage, etc), get a job doing something possibly below your (perceived) pay grade, and regroup.  I, unlike many people who are “suffering” from the economic situation, have really felt not having anything.  Just to put into perspective, I graduated from a high school that is mostly scorned by the academic community (long story), went to an itty-bitty college, bailed—largely because said high school didn’t really prepare me for anything—and ended up living on people’s couches and worse.  I took an 18 hour bus ride from Los Angles to an uncertain future in Seattle.  From that bus stop, I walked into nothing.   My mother was getting ready to take on a job as cook on a ship that was bound for a trek around the world (that sounds fancy, but she made about $4.50 an hour).  I couldn’t run home to mommy. I had just three months to find a way to survive.  So, I started selling “insurance” to people.  It was such a scam I couldn’t stomach it anymore so I went to a temp agency and ended up at Microsoft.  There is tons of irony there, because at the time, my goal was to be a software designer engineer (SDE) at Microsoft.  The year was 1994.  I was so far from being an SDE.  I was answering phones in Product Support Services.  I wasn’t even handling the cases, I was simply a dispatch to the engineers.  I bombed every interview I had beyond that clerical job of answering phones.  I wasn’t ready, and I knew it.  So I worked harder.

Things happened (because I made them happen), and my life changed.  I worked from the very bottom to something that I loved.  I didn’t stay at Microsoft, either.  I left, did my thing, and then came back.  In between, I lived in the streets of Seattle for many nights, just wandering around.  That was scary.  At times, I didn’t know where I was going to spend the night.  I kept pushing.  I read every book I could find about software development.  I hooked up with a tiny company in Redmond that put me on a contract as a developer at Microsoft.  I worked *hard*.  I work hard every day, even weekends—and I hate holidays, just ask my wife.  People need to work harder and smarter.  Don’t expect anything out of entitlement.   You aren’t entitled to anything except what you create. 

The only easy day was yesterday.  Character is not developed by wishing in one and and, well, pooping in the other.  See which one fills up faster.

So, those of you out there that are living on credit cards and hoping for the best, get yourself together and focus.  This isn’t a free ride.  We are lucky to live here and now.  If anything, we live in interesting times.  I voted for Barak Obama, but I have no more faith in him than I have had in any politician.  We need hope, but we are still responsible for our own condition.  Obama might be a catalyst that sparks a change in this country, but he cannot do it if we are collectively acting irresponsibly and simply wishing for a “better day.”


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