January 27, 2009

Has the financial collapse changed your mind about what you'd like to do with your life?



Has it changed your view of work?

How you spend your time?

What you do for money?

Life in general?


56 comments:

The Happy Hippie said...

Yes, this whole fiasco has made me skeptical of the matrix that has been built up to fool us into making money for corporations. Work hard! Make money! Invest your money with us! Don't watch us, just keep working! All will be well!
Fooey. I want to enjoy what time I have left on this planet. Work will be just for paying the minimum bills I can pare down to. I want time, not paper that can be stolen so easily from me, as we have now seen.

Anonymous said...

Never get married

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2PPPZHPArk&feature=related

Guberville Smack said...

Not so much my life. It has changed my mind about debt. It has changed how I view the Government, banks, wall street and sales people.
It's like I took the blue pill, or the red one or green one. (The one that makes you see things how they really are).
Help me out Matrix nerds.

Anonymous said...

i am thinking about becoming a REALTOR.

lap dog said...

Nah. Still want to get filthy rich.

keith said...

I'm just thinking back to that post the other day about the guy who spent the past 20 years at the office 60 hours a week, all for 'his kids'

Meanwhile, he probably never saw his kids.

This reckless pursuit of money, at the expense of life, has to end.

Yes, standards of living will then decline. GDP will decline.

But a nation of materialistic over-consumption work and debt zombies needed an enema.

Most of you hate the French, but how does eight weeks of holiday and 35-hour workweeks sound to you?

I don't know if they can survive on that, but hell, it sure is a nice life.

The world is not going back to normal after the magnitude of what they have done.

And maybe that's a good thing.

The reset button has been pushed.

And your life, whether you understand that now or not, will never, ever be the same.

Anonymous said...

The whole RE bubble has changed my life drastically. Wanted to buy a house 8 years ago, but prices were spiraling upward so fast I couldn't afford anything but crap. So I embarked on a life of moving around a lot to chase $$. Then once I could afford what I wanted, I realized it was all going to pop anyway, so I held off. I've had fun and made money, but never settled down. Now there's no point in doing anything different until the bottom is in. If this whole episode taught me anything, it's that I hate the Federal Reserve.

Anonymous said...

>And your life, whether you understand that now or not, will never, ever be the same.

Yeah whatever. Say it don't spray it.




Couldn't help myself. A line from Joe Dirt.

xxxooo said...

I didn't have an opinion before this financial crisis other than petty anger towards injustice. this time around, I'm trying to look the Medusa in the eye and see humanity for what it is.

JaneZ said...

Guberville Smack said...

Help me out Matrix nerds.

Red = reality. They don't make those pills in the USA any longer.

AA filters on.

Anonymous said...

hmmm, been thinking about becoming the mayor of Portland Oregon so I can start hitting on 17 year old girls.

keith said...

On the French thing, before a bunch of flames come though, no, I don't know how France will compete in a global marketplace.

People in India and China are willing to work for 1% of what they earn in France. They're smarter, they're harder working, and there's millions and millions of 'em.

Also, the French labor laws are for sh*t. If you hire someone, you're stuck with them forever, whether they end up being a good worker or not. Think Ryan Leaf.

But, that said, the French do have an amazing lifestyle, for the most part. Food, culture, wine, art, sex, travel, etc etc. Puts America to shame.

But, the big question, for France and for the USA, is - will it last? Can it last?

I don't think so.

And this is the Big Change. Having societies get used to a DECLINING standard of living.

At the same time, who's to say people enjoy their lives more today than they did in 1250 or 1850 or 1950?

Money, and possessions, may very well likely have not bought happiness after all.

It just looked like it.

Anonymous said...

Yes.

Now I'm sure Bushco and Cheneyburton ARE guilty and must be punished accordingly.

Arrest, Try, Convict, Sentence and incarcerate for a long, long time.

Fuck GOP.

casey said...

It made me drink more budweiser and pop more viagra pills.Other than that still broke and homeless.

Anonymous said...

No but it has made it easier for me. Can't work for the man if I am laid off. Which makes it easier to finally go out on my own.

And while they were giving away silly money I was taking it and bought 3 cash flowing rental units. If only this stupidity had carried on 2 more years.

But my heart breaks for all the people that will be hurt by this disaster.

Anonymous said...

Isn't the world supposed to pretty much come to an end as we know it soon anyway?
Peak oil, climate change, over-population, escalating nulear threat.
2012?
Wish I could have been able to quit smoking, but guess it doesn't matter so much now.
Think I'll just enjoy what little time I have left.

Anonymous said...

"Also, the French labor laws are for sh*t. If you hire someone, you're stuck with them forever, whether they end up being a good worker or not. Think Ryan Leaf.

But, that said, the French do have an amazing lifestyle, for the most part. Food, culture, wine, art, sex, travel, etc etc."

Actually, Montreal (& lesser so, Quebec province), is what France needs to be. Keep the cultural highlights, keep some of the welfare state to retain lazy artisans (or musicians), but make the workforce more Yankee in flavor where being laid off is a possibility when long term performance is in decline. In contrast, most layoffs in the US are ad hoc in nature.

Pissed in New York said...

Yes but it has been longer coming than just the last few months. Seriously considering a lower paying job at a not for profit. I've grown to hate the rat race. Trade off would be I'd hopefully be making a decent difference for lower income people, not just making rich spoiled folks more rich and spoiled. I'd love to come home feeling good and fully engaged in the work. But i know many not for profits can suck and be corrupt just like big $$ businesses. Often even worse, and can be hard to see initially. As it would also involve a career change it's a tough call.

Anonymous said...

Not really. Still would like to live in a mountain town near an ocean where I hang out in a cafe that serves good tacos and a good margaritta served by a cute waitress. Nada is nada.

Don Payne

PS ... if any of you know where this is please post :).

Guberville Smack said...

"At the same time, who's to say people enjoy their lives more today than they did in 1250 or 1850or 1950?"

Going by Anti- Depressant sales and therapist data, people are become more and more miserable.

Anonymous said...

Just makes me glad that I never got sucked into the trap of buying tons of stupid stuff, eating out constantly, and living beyond my means. The "new" idea of being frugal and watching one's spending is the way I have always lived. My standard of living has not changed one bit. As a matter of fact, my standard of living is probably far better at this point than many of my colleagues.

Everyone used to laugh at me because I drive a vehicle with 265k miles on it. It still looks very decent and runs fine. I have the money to buy just about any car I want, within reason. But I couldn't see the point of a buying a new one just for the sake of having a new car. When my car finally dies, I will indeed get a new one.

People have always made snide comments to me like "It must be nice" about the fact that my kid goes to a private school or that I have a cleaning lady. But yet they are the ones with the new cars, all the latest electronics, eating out 2-3 times a week, etc. I just have chosen to spend my money differently. I definitely feel resentment from these people and I don't get it. They made their choices and I made mine.

Anonymous said...

Anon wrote:
>Now I'm sure Bushco and >Cheneyburton ARE guilty and must >be punished accordingly.

Guilty of what? Stupidity yes, but the finacial crisis, give me a break. Worldwide greed, plain and simple. You only need to look in the mirror to find the guilty.

As for the rest of my life, I'll be in Mendocino farming.

cooter said...

Does anyone know where I canget some prozac online?Goes great with a jack daniels chaser.

Anonymous said...

"Most of you hate the French, but how does eight weeks of holiday and 35-hour workweeks sound to you?"

Wasn't that the "promise" that used to be made to us back in grade school in the 50's? What with our rich country and technology and all.

Paul E. Math said...

I'm contantly in a state of trying to figure out what I'm going to do with my life. I'm a peon and when I look at the people above me in my company the added headaches just don't seem worth it.

Even so, I was in line for a promotion this year and the thought of a few extra bucks motivated me from time to time. But my employer put a freeze on all promotions and all pay increases of any kind. Guess how motivated I am now?

All I seem to care about these days is flipping stocks, which adds nothing to society and our economy and is just one step above flipping houses. Neither a reliable nor respectable pursuit.

More and more I think about quitting my job, moving somewhere sunny and low cost, cashing in my 401k and just flipping stocks until it all runs out.

Lady Di said...

Nah, this is peanuts compared to the changes I made after my kids were born. I left my big shot (in my mind) lawyer career and started a small part time practice, downsized and reprioritized my life so I could be home and raise my kids.

Best decision I ever made. (next to buying gold at $300.00 an ounce)

Anonymous said...

I'm just thinking back to that post the other day about the guy who spent the past 20 years at the office 60 hours a week, all for 'his kids'

Meanwhile, he probably never saw his kids.<<<<

keith, what was this thing we called the American dream? what was it? was it always about making more money than your neighbor had and riding around in expensive cars and buying large boats and having lake houses, etc etc etc......was it always like this? or did somehow somewhere the american dream was corrupted. to me the american dream was about freedom and liberty and being able to be left alone to do whatever you wanted as long, more or less. so now hollyweird, tells our children to pursue wealth no matter what it takes and win no matter what it takes and we have lost our way. because of greed, this modern day version of the american dream is now dead due to too much credit and too much borrowing and buying things we don't need with money we don't have. how long shall we continue to be led around by the nose by these bankers who think that life is all about interest, making money and profits??? how long shall we play this game? over 200 years ago, men fought for a idea. it was not about making money. it was about freedom and liberty and the freedom to choose what one wanted to do with one's life without having to bow to someone else. we were free men once. but we have strayed away. we are no longer free. we are slaves again. liberty in this world should be cherished but we have allowed this gang of thugs who run this country to take away our rights, one after the other, with no end in sight. for what i say? for what? to save us from al quaeda? oh give me a break already. the american dream can be reacquired but it will require american blood. i am sorry if that is not what many want to hear, but it a true statement. i wish it could be different. for too long the americans have slept while domestic enemies have destroyed us from within and many willing accomplices have taken the money instead of doing the right thing. honor is lost now for the most part. honor and integrity and the worth of a man's word is gone now. as honor goes, so we go. for honor and integrity are founded upon that thing that once was the american dream but was lost. we lost it. we are to blame.

AndTheCircusLeavesTown said...

It gave me a crystalline sense of urgency: only we, with our neighbors, can help ourselves. The government is corrupt; businesses are hopeless. We are destined to be poorer as a whole, but we can fight against the alienation that commercial culture has established; I guess I mean it's more fun to talk to people than I remembered.

WTF1920 said...

Q: "Life in general?"

A: Been thinking about it for a few weeks now. I'm not the same person I was 5 years ago. I used to be so laidback. I don't even remember the last time I drove to the beach just to watch the sunset, or take a walk on a crystal clear night just to look up at the stars in awe. I let my body turn into a flabby pile of shit, because I haven't been weightlifting like I used to. I've been too obsessed with work. It gives me a lump in my throat to think of all the time I missed, and the body I've lost.

Q: "Has it changed your view of work?"

A: I don't know what to do. I don't know the future of my job. I don't know if I should take a risk by getting another job. I don't even know if I can afford to stay at my current job...

I don't know much, but I do know this; hard work doesn't mean jackshit! If you want to get somewhere in life, you have to know the right people, have the right connections, and have good luck. If you don't have all three, you'll be a nobody and pay for other peoples fuckups. And you know what else? I don't have the luck or connections so you can count on me never busting my ass again. And hey, why should I? My money goes to people who deserve nothing.


I'm just going to get my life back in order, and my body back in shape. Fuck all these people who want to use me for my work ethic. Why should I work hard when they don't appreciate it?

Anonymous said...

People have always made snide comments to me like "It must be nice" about the fact that my kid goes to a private school or that I have a cleaning lady.

-------------------------

same here. I have a cleaning lady and a service does my yard. I bought my most recent vehicle in 1998. the one before that in 1987. I have owned 3 cars in my 43 years. I am on my second house and will likely stay in this one for many more decades. I get a new cell phone only when my current one breaks. I used my startac for so long people began to stare when I used it. loved that phone, it kept going and going....

I also own 2 businesses and 2 multi-unit apartment complexes (they are both way cash flow positive). I see no value in buying deprecating assets just to look rich. I have always paid cash for my cars, all 3 of them.

Anonymous said...

A man in Wilmington, CA would answer "yes" to your question if he were still alive to answer it.

As it is, he killed himself after killing his wife and five kids. In their new construction subdivision home.

Girlguide said...

Sold my business to people who needed it to stay in the US. Now, I am going to travel in my little trailer. See my children and grandchildren. Live cheap so I don't have to work.

Travel to the southwest in the winter, Colorado, Wyoming and Montana in the summer.

I am selling all my furniture and just keeping the really important things. Pictures. Papers.

Getting on the road next week. I already feel better.

Someone tell me when the revolution starts. I might not notice.

Amtex said...

Definately. I am content with my money market and CD rates. Lost all interest in a new car, the 2003 is just fine. Enjoying our modest size house. Look at the 4000 square foot monsters I pass everyday and wonder who the heck will buy them in 10-15 years when the current occupants want to retire. Traded the chase of more and more for enjoying the now.

Mike H. said...

It doesn't take much to enjoy life. Many nice things (hiking, the mountains, biking in the forest, swimming in the sea) are free. If you know how to play the system you'll do just fine.

-Mike

Craig Duckk said...

Top Ten Things I will not be changing my mind about:
10. Doing coke off of a strippers teet in the Bird's Nest at the FBR Open
9. Selling "fixer uppers"
8. Eating at McDonalds if it allows me more time to waste on my Blackberry/IPhone
7. Fondling myself to Connie Degroot videos
6. My "Mini-Hummer" golf cart. Only cost me $17,000
5. Granite counters in my laundry room
4. Hocking Amway products and selling plasma/semen when times get tough. ;) ;)
3. Ramen is okay for every meal as long as you can pay with your credit card
2. It's ALWAYS A GREAT TIME TO BUY
1. I'm A TOOL!!

Frank R said...

No.

Frank R said...

Now I'm sure Bushco and Cheneyburton ARE guilty and must be punished accordingly.

Arrest, Try, Convict, Sentence and incarcerate for a long, long time.


In case your reading level is not sufficient to read the news, they're gone.

Get over it.

Move on.

Grow up.

Your Messiah is here, how come this mess isn't fixed yet? LOL

Anonymous said...

"Everyone used to laugh at me because I drive a vehicle with 265k miles on it."

Amen , I have one that still looks great and over a quarter million miles on it. I buy and drive until the wheels fall off. It's a 1994 FORD Ranger and I will get another one when this one takes a crap.

No car payment since 1999 , so that is a constant $400-500 in savings most months. Sitting pretty and found this Blog in 2005 when the real estate market really got stupid.

I fix A/C equipment and when the depression hits real bad I will do even more side work for CASH. Most grunt work like mine is depression proof.

i've had it said...

This crisis, and the response to it by the Feds and Wall Street, has had the following affects on me:

1) The Govt. -- reinforced my opposition to the Fed as an institution and that it needs to be abolished. It also reinforced my belief that Congress is nothing more than an organized crime syndicate...they are simply a bunch of criminals...all of them. it reinforced my belief that the govt. does not work within the limitations imposed on it by the Constitution; it has no regard for it (see TARP).

2) Wall Street - i definitely now have little to no respect for the banking and investment banking sectors. these market segments are full of blow hards, arrogant bastards, and criminals.

3) i live my life in a fairly modest way so no big changes for me. i cook for myself, eat out once in a while, don't have a widescreen tv, drive an 8 year old volvo, and don't have a lot of material objects...which i could easily afford.

4) i am now much more pessimistic about america's future (fuck the french...they are perpetual losers and have had no future for years; same thing with the brits). unfortunately, i just don't see us pulling ourselves out of this one since we have no more industries of any sort anymore. china, india, and asia in general will lead the way since they have the industry, education, population density, and creativity that is needed to pull themselves out of this mess.

5) i have come to accept that the republicans have trashed their values and have put this country on the course to National Socialism with their TARP bailout, which opened the way to this new $1 trillion stimulus package that will send us straight into a controlled and managed society (too difficult to explain here, but it will).

i'm depressed about this whole situation and fear for an america that i know is spiraling downward at the hands of the Socialist Democratic Party (formerly the Democrat Party) which will have all of us marching in goosestep soon.

Anonymous said...

Did the same trip many times, from LA to San Fran, usually high on pot.

Anonymous said...

Yes; I'd like to take out a liar loan, and get some of that nifty equity they just agreed to give away.

Well bust my Maiden Head!

Anonymous said...

I would NEVER trade my American lifestyle for a French one. And I lived in Paris, studied at Sorbonne, French grandparents, and am fluent in French.

Why would I? I live in an oceanfront condo of 1,000 sq ft, with gym, pool, private beach, valet, etc. Tell me when a French can ever achieve that. Anytime I feel like going to Europe, I can jump on a plane and be there in a few hours, paying very little. My effective tax rate last year was about 4%, while the French must be what, 60%? I can also take 30 days off whenever I feel like...and I bet most of your readers can too.

Funny, you people always bash the labor conditions in the US, while your heroes Leo Laporte and all his geek liberal friends from CA are always jet-setting around the country and the world. That's just an example.

See Keith, you live your life as a tourist, so when you visit other countries you're living it as tourist. You spend 3 days in Paris and think that you have all figured out.

While living in France, I met hundreds of French people who wanted to get out of France, from gov employees to business owners and managers. They all envied how I was living in 2 different countries, both in the Americas.

Thousands of them are leaving France to set businesses elsewhere, because they can't make a decent living there. Business owners have to work hard no matter which place they find themselves in. Plus their apartments are crap and high cost of living are eating employees' wages.

You can't have the entire population working for the French government; you need entrepreneurs. Those socialist rules are killing all the businesses there, to the point that Sarkozy wanted change. I've posted on HP an article about many French boulangerie owners moving to UK because business in France was horrible. That was 2 years ago.

There's a myth about the great French lifestyle. They work less to spend more time in Cafes, getting ripped, and when vacation time comes, they're all broke. Now they can't even afford the Cafes or eating out. I know, I used to hang out with them. The people you see in the South of France are the rich from somewhere else.

Oh, and regarding the myth of French having satisfying sex, the research from Durex, the largest mfr of condoms, states otherwise. Check for yourself, go to www.durexworld.com, pick a country, then click on "Sexual Wellbeing Survey", then "Frequency of Sex". Its world map shows the results by country.

Anonymous said...

I don't think working harder for less is a model that I like very much . Its seems like the USA is going backwards . Yes, its stupid to consume just for the sake of consumption ,but not having the liberty to do so if you wanted to would suck .The more freedoms you have and the more choices you have and the more creature comforts you have isn't all that bad really .
Chasing the all mighty buck to the exclusion of a balanced and enriched life is not a model I like either ,but hell at least in America if someone wanted to do that they could.

Pamela said...

Keith, having lived in both France and Spain, I know what you mean. There is more of an emphasis on family, good food, socializing and life outside of work. I love the long lunches in Spain, the tapas bars and the friendliness of the people. The French have such an attention to detail; the village we lived in gave out awards to people who had the nicest flowers and gardens. Every house had a food garden on the south side. Old ladies biked into the village to do their shopping and the dogs were tied up outside the patisserie, while people bought their gateaux and bread.

My husband, who now travels to France frequently on business, does get frustrated with the French work environment. It is not just the short work week and regulations against working, but the bureacracy. They invented the word. He has not had the same issues in Spain.

People work odd schedules in Spain, because siesta is still kept. Even senior people have to punch a time clock, because of the staggered hours. This results in a long work day. They work very hard and play very hard. It's great to party with the Spanish.

The one thing I learned living in Spain, is that you don't need a big house if you're out being sociable all the time. The cafes are your living room. You eat out with your friends, not because you are too lazy to cook. Eating out is inexpensive, too, at real restaurants, not chains -not sure if they even have chains except for the few American ones. 80% of the Spanish population live in apartments and many of them go home for their main meal of the day. They live close to their place of employment. I know Spain had a real estate run-up as bad as the UK and they will be suffering. I think they will handle it, because food, which is the important thing, is cheap there.

I think the big difference is that the US is EFFICIENT big time. Things happen on a schedule in this country and we have the economy of scale. We pay much less for big ticket items than any European country. We could slow down, buy less crap and still be efficient. I really hope that the one thing Obama spends money on is public transporatation. I'm thinking those two, Biden and Obama, seem to like trains. Imagine if you could get to work without driving and only had to run one car. Imagine if we could get rid of snob zoning which only runs up the price of housing. The Boston suburbs, for expample, are a nightmare of snob zoning in their suburbs. It is unfair to younger people to insist on big lots and have no available areas with a greater density of housing. We should have denser suburbs with better train service.

keith said...

Few more things on the French, since I find it interesting:

* The entire country will be shutting down on Thursday, as they go on strike (again) to protest the government's handling of the crisis. One thing the French like to do is go on strike and riot, so game on

* I would NEVER, EVER live and work in France. Paying those kinds of tax rates would drive me insane. I would live in France, but only without income. Work? no way.

* No country has better food, wine, art, culture or scenery. They win. Deal with it. Italy comes close, but when you add up the score, France wins.

* The men can be prissy little bitches, and the women can be harsh and not so attractive. Not the most pleasant people in the world. And I think they enjoy their non-pleasantness.

* Has France ever won a war?

* There will be more Africans and Muslims in France then French soon enough. If you want to enjoy France while it's still French, you might want to go now.

* Endless holiday and 35-hour workweeks sounds good, but if a society doesn't work, doesn't produce, and taxes themselves to high heaven, how can they compete?

In the end, France will likely be one of globalization's losers. Like Detroit. Get Brie. They're going to go on quite the ride.

Pamela said...

Uh, yea, the main reason the US should never become like France or Spain...Taxes! While living overseas, we actually paid more in taxes than we earned, but that has a lot to do with corporate policies. Our taxes took up 60 pages and had to be done by a big 10 accounting firm in Brussels.

My detail-obsessed husband, who is neither a tax lawyer nor a tax accountant, carefully read the tax documents and actually found mistakes made by these international tax whizzes in Brussels. I have no sympathy for Tim Geithner, who can't even handle Turbo Tax! I'm sick of hearing "how smart" all these preppy bankers are. My husband went to the same schools, was smarter at school and makes a mere fraction of what they make. ...And he can figure out the tax code in several countries better than our secretary of the Treasury!

Many of these bankers are a bunch of arrogant, self-important wankers who have destroyed our country. They are no better than the mob in the way they have sucked the proles into usurious loans and then gambled the results away. I can't wait for some of them to do jail time.

Anonymous said...

I'm working as a CEO and it's some tiring shit. I don't get paid the big bucks like CEO's in other industries although they're 1000 people in my company. Base salary only $230K / yr.... so comfortable but not uber wealthy. The pressure is immense and it does suck the life out of you. I have to lay off 650 employees next Wednesday- that will be a tough day but the planning is tough as well.

Bonuses this year- forget it! I'd rather be hiking in the mountains and chilling out but am doing this for the experience. Sometimes life is hard, and there is no more time left for childish things.

Quiet Desperado said...

It's just dawning on me that a couple decades of direct deposit into the IRA/SRA, trying to do all the things you're supposed to do, and playing by the rules fundamentally did not work, thanks to those system players, cheats, and crooks who will always be with us.

I'm biding my time to see if I get the heave-ho, rather than dropping out, but I see the logic.

The biggest change is a lot less trust in the system, in particular Wall Street. I was never a believer Greenspan's honorable (hah!) Free Market.

Nothing wrong with my lifestyle, but I'll take that shorter work week with the less pay.

Thanks, Bush, for preventing outside forces from tearing us down so you could do it yourself.

Anonymous said...

I really don't get all the whining. If you play by the book, being smart with your time and money, you can retire rich (not necessarily wealthy) at 50 or less, in the US, to enjoy another 30 years of doing nothing. And then, possibly do little consulting gigs here and there as supplement, or buy another property overseas for getaways.

All that you have to do is get your damn degree and start investing early. Big deal. Is that difficult? Oh and don't come with the "everybody lost their money in crashes excuse" because many of us didn't, also many never believed in Santa Claus Madoff or Cosmo. My portfolio is returning 7% for the last 3 years, and I'm no financial wizard but I'm not a fool either. Sure, if you live with your head up your arse, you'll lose your retirement. Couldn't you see the blatant Tech crash coming; what about this huge housing Ponzi scheme? Many of us were alerting you all for years, including on HP. All you have to do is take your money out of the market when there's a historical bubble about to burst.

Then other pu$$ies whine: "But I come from a house without means". So why don't you join the military, where you can study at their medical/dental school and still earn $40k per year while doing so? You can also get an engineering degree there. Or you could join the military at 18, stay there for 20 years to retire as a captain, earning a $65k pension + full medical at 38-year old, with enough time to pursue other interests.

I'm tired of people whining of how hard we have to work in the US. Folks, you can do whatever you feel like in the US. You can open a business and get rich, join the military to become a doctor or dentist without humongous student loans, get full scholarships at major B-Schools like I did and like your hero Obama did, etc, etc. All this while paying very little taxes, as compared to Europe.

Regarding the oh-so-nice lifestyle of Europeans, just because they get together on Sundays to stuff their faces with food, or because they get hammered at local Cafés daily, please, you can do that here in he US, too. Happy-hour, hellooooo? How many of us lived the happy-hour orgy? I sure did in LA, NY, etc.

You people are talking about small villages in Europe. You would find the same friendly attitude in any small rural areas in the US. Funny, you people travel to Tuscany farms or to villages in Spain, and think that Rome and Madrid would be as friendly as those rural spots. Not! Don't expect to live in Paris and have large gatherings of neighbors having lunch on long wood tables, with a festive old man playing the accordion. That's a movie, folks. Locals aren't that friendly in big cities.

Yeah, the Spaniards take siesta, work less, but are totally f*cked now, bankrupt, in worse economic condition than the US. Would you like to be in Spain now, paying taxes to the wazoo, with no future ahead, no job? Things are bad in the US but we won't go back to horses; at least if we do, the rest of the world will be in worse dire situation.

The funny thing is that many praise the European lifestyle so much, but as soon as an America ugly ducking buys one of those Europeans bums they pick up at the bar, both immediately move back into the US, sometimes to live with mommy and daddy for awhile.

You rarely see these love birds staying in Europe to earn a living; they always move back here to look for the large and comfortable house with pool or the good paying job, which is hard to come by in Europe. Europeans can't even have A/C during the scalding summers for god's sake! How many do you know like that? How many European celebs have homes in the US? Sting, Elton John, movie stars...you name it, all spend time during the year in the US. It must be horrible here!

Not only that, if you live in the East coast, you can buy a weekend getaway to Caribbean islands for $400. What, don't you have that much to blow some steam once in a while in a nice Caribbean resort? You can even do that every month, if you like. Last year I went to the Jazz Festival in Montreal for the weekend, a city I visit frequently as a cheap getaway. I don't even earn six-figures salary. Boohooo, Americans have it tough!

I was just invited by a bunch of friends to run some marathon, ski in Colorado. Plus we constantly play tennis and bike together, go out for dinners during the week to enjoy superb European wine and meals (by French and Italian chefs who moved here), at a fraction of the cost the Europeans pay. Thank you restaurant.com! Please, if you can't have a social life in the US, the problem resides with you alone. don't blame our country.

Anonymous said...

"I don't know much, but I do know this; hard work doesn't mean jackshit! If you want to get somewhere in life, you have to know the right people, have the right connections, and have good luck."

Someone said that to me once and I disagreed with him. I went on working hard and he went on hardly working.

Today he drives a school bus and I make 5X as much as him. I don't know anybody or have connections, but I can work pretty much anywhere and get along with pretty much any team because I have a good attitude.

The last time we talked I brought our disagreement up to him. He said I must have had enough of the last one (luck) to make up for the other two. Guess he didn't notice the night school and user group meetings I went to. I also guess he didn't notice when I started being asked to speak at forums. He was too busy doing...I don't know what, maybe being mad at the world that nothing was handed to him. I feel sorry for him. His future is in his hands, but he is powerless.

PrincessValium said...

Hey Pissed in New York - I have been working for not-for-profits in the NYC area for the past 7 years, before that I worked in the dot-com industry and made some pretty good money.

Sure, it feels good to do good, but I am also a single mom to a toddler, and I am getting really tired of the low pay for working the same 40-50 hours a week other people who get paid more do.

I read an article the other day online that talked about how the best way to do good is to make a lot of money and then donate money to other people who are already doing good work. But I understand your feelings, because I had the same ones 8 years ago when I was laid-off after the dot-com crash.

I was much dumber 8 years ago. I had an extra 18K saved up that I should have totally invested in gold - it would be worth 54K today, thereabouts.

I spent a lot of it on traveling and smoking dope and financing the bills while I worked at my first non-profit org.

But now, I am thinking about going back to school to get an Accounting Certificate and then going to work for myself somehow. Or getting into "wealth management" (i.e. taking any dough I get from my divorce and putting it into investments and then monitoring them like a hawk). I don't know...

Maybe we could trade jobs???

:-)

Anonymous said...

Sure, it feels good to do good, but I am also a single mom to a toddler, and I am getting really tired of the low pay for working the same 40-50 hours a week other people who get paid more do.

Let it go, I was waiting for the single mom sob story. Hey genius, you didn't ask us for permission to copulate before having a career, so don't come sharing your kid with us now.

Why do you women think that, by mentioning the irritating, "I'm a single mother", we're going to get impressed? All we hear is "irresponsible", "no family planning", "too lazy to take a pill", "no career planning", etc.

Amazing how these women wear "single mother" as a badge of honor. Listen up women, my German Shepperd "Bijou" had 7 puppies on her own, in a corner of the house, in the winter. Stop thinking that breeding like flies is somehow acceptable by people with brains.

Anonymous said...

Let it go, I was waiting for the single mom sob story. Hey genius, you didn't ask us for permission to copulate before having a career, so don't come sharing your kid with us now.

Of course, when you have kids with your wifie-poo, all the single childless folks like us get expected to pick up YOUR slack.

You can't work late tonight! Your little darling is in a play at school!

You cannot work this weekend, it's Brittany's birthday party!

And don't even get me started on the men who expect (and usually get) 25% to 40% more pay because "they have a family now."

Lecturing the single moms is the height of hypocrisy -- they juggle a bunch of bullshit and get the job done.

The biggest sissy-wimps are the straight married guys with kids. They HATE work and are some of the most entitled people on the planet -- always ready to lecture other people on "how things are" while demanding exemptions from reality themselves.

PrincessValium said...

Hear this.

I mentioned it as a fact of my life in conjunction with the fact that I am planning to do something with my life where I will make more money to support myself and my child. I didn't say you had to share my burden with me, nor do I expect you to, nor do I expect you to be "impressed", although I'm sure you would fall all over a man who was raising a child on his own.

As for family plannning - sometimes the pill fails, as it did in my case. And sometimes, as in my case, a woman doesn't see abortion, which I assume you are implying is the "responsible" thing to do, as an option.

And sometimes, when one's husband thinks that he can use his wife as a punching bag, being half of Ann Coulter's hallowed dual-parent unit is not an option, as it was in my case.

So, why don't you do the world a favor, and go clean the wax out of your ears with a handgun, and STFU?

:-)

Pamela said...

To Anonynomous @ 6.29: You make several good points, I wish you had signed a name even if just a "handle".

Your point about retiring at 50; if my dad had retired at age 50 in 1964, that invested money of his would have had to make it through several recessions and a whole lot of inflation. Now considering those geniuses on Wall Street can't even seem to master derivative swapping for a far shorter period of time, perhaps you have some investment advice you would like to share. That said, my dad did retire young, although his initial nest egg, which was significant by 60s standards, is not so great now. An example of the power of inflation in some areas and not others would be the relative value of Jackie Kennedy's Fifth Ave apt: $250,000(+ or -)in 1964 and sold for, I think, $20,000,000(perhaps more) when she died. My dad could have bought that apartment, without an ARM or any mortgage, in the 60s, but not now. He still thinks he's a rich man and lives comfortably at age 95, with no financial help from any of his kids or the government. He does get health care, but he took a few German bullets to get that.

You are 100% right about scholarship money and the military being a good way to get an education. However, it seems only Ivy Leaguers are entitled to run our government and Wall Street; and they are not all they are cracked up to be. I would like to see more self-made men and women in our government. The Ivies are full of Elites, not the best and brightest as is commonly believed. BTW, there are plenty of them in my family...so don't flame me on this one.

Regarding American vs, European lifestyles, try living overseas, as I have done. You did not read my post very carefully, you're railing at straw men. Any American who has lived overseas becomes a sounding board/punching bag for European issues with the USA. Believe me, I have taken far more criticism of America and had to defend our way of life more than you can imagine. Some of it is sheer idiocy. For example the British person who went on and on, because the US does not have a state-run TV. WTF? I thought that was a good thing. Or all the secular Europeans who just don't get how generous Americans and their churches are. Or the Austrian doctors who wanted to talk about the Kyoto accord; thank goodness my chemical engineer daughter was there with the actual science. Or all the Euros who think our schools are so bad; we have the same Bell Curve, just more diversity...we are not Norway or Finland where everybody is ethnically the same. Or the Spanish lady who, upon hearing my daughter was going to a Canadian University, said, "thank goodness, she won't get shot." Yeah, most Europeans believe every word Michael Moore says.

You're right about air conditioners in Europe: you can't even buy a window box, only the big $3500 units which have to be installed into a wall. No wonder so many die whenever there is a heat wave. On another post I noted the lack of clothes dryers in most of Europe; somebody posted me "to get over it" and said that she liked to hang her laundry. She is probably not hanging inside her house for 3 days, every sheet, towel, sock, underwear etc. for a 4 bedroom house with guests; I would challenge any American to do that. Most Americans living in poverty have the use of a clothes dryer. I am not so environmental, 'mental' being the operative portion of that word, that I revel in drudgery. I also know firsthand that it takes 6 weeks to get a phone installed in Madrid. There is a reason mobile phones are so big in other countries, because the landline phone service is so dreadful.

You say Madrid is not friendly, you obviously have never even visited the city. In 3 years, I never once encountered any rudeness; the same could not be said for NYC, or any other city I have lived in for a few years. It is not uncommon to be stopped on the streets of Madrid by a stranger who has a few chatty words to say. It happened to me all the time. I also said the Spanish work hard, not "work less" as you stated. The French do work less, as mandated by their government, big surprise!

As to the Spanish "going back to horses", are you referring to food or transportation? Hehehe....They already sell horse meat in the grocery stores, along with a lot of other stuff Americans won't even look at, let alone eat. They have much nicer public transportation than we do. The subway system in Madrid is clean and safe, except for the random terrorist attack, but we have those too. If you live in Madrid, you do not need a car. Best thing... no teenagers with cars. I'll be glad if this recession takes that birthright away. How many teenagers can truly afford a car? It's more debt spending the US economy does not need. Of course our teenagers work, theirs don't. Our work ethic is a good thing.

Eating out in Europe is different than the US. It is not about stuffing your face with mass quantities of food or getting loaded at happy hour. It's cheaper, much cheaper in Spain, less so in France. Unless of course, you have to go to the name restaurants. There is more of an emphasis on quality and sociability, even the dog gets to come in France. I have been to 4 star restaurants in France, where there were well-behaved dogs under the table. What's not to like about that? It's slower, more relaxed and a big part of life. It is not the same as the US. Try it, you might like it! Spain is still cheap to visit.

As to celebs, they are here for tax reasons. And since the ones you noted were British, the common lanquage and a better climate in the US plays a part. If the Brits ever go back to pre-Thatcher taxes, they will be flooding our shores. MY FIL was in the 90% tax bracket in the 70s. That's why my husband emigrated. You couldn't pay him to go back to the UK. Yeah, I'm an American who married a foreigner, he's not a sponge, he could work anywhere he wants to; but then we're all mutts anyway.

We have a beautiful country which is worth traveling around and seeing, but so do they. Your $400 ticket is not so great compared to the $50 London to Malaga tickets. The Brits are notorious for their cheap, drunken holidays. They have a bad reputation in parts of Europe. It can be cheaper for a Londoner to fly to the Czech Republic for a wknd of drinking than to drink in London. And of course the Czechs invented beer.

I heartily agree with you about Montreal, having sent my kids to University there. In fact, we think the food in that part of Canada is often better than in France. It is a pity more Americans don't visit Canada; it's a great country! We go skiing there, but the French attention to food is what is so nice in Quebec.

Since this whole Depression we are facing was predicated on rampant buying of McMansions in exurbia, as well as $100,000 granite- countered kitchens for people who don't cook, and the slimy bankers who made it all possible, I think we could learn a few things from Europe. Like slowing down and enjoying life, like living in neighborhoods with greater density, with better public transportation. I do not think we need to become exactly like Europe. Believe me, I know their problems better than you do.

A good life is not killing yourself working to pay a mortgage on huge house with an inflated value and spewing hydrofluorocarbons on a long commute in a supersized SUV every day.

America had a lot of this figured out in the 30s and 40s when we invested in infrastructure. What GM did to public transport in LA was a crime. We need rethink how we live. I'm actually looking forward to that part of the Depression.

HB Slacker said...

I'm having a great life. While the job market weakened I was working freelance and as my workload increased it got more difficult to find a 9-5 job. So I was forced out of the corporate world in a good way. So I just keep answering to no one working around my playtime, and besides that I have gotten more women. Since depression era women arent so materialistic now it's nice to go dutch with a date and still end up taking her home too. I'm in several social networking groups here in Orange County, Ca and I'm doing so many activities and social gatherings/parties on the cheap like share condos at ski resorts ect.happy hours,dancing, house parties, sailing on someones boat, biking, museums etc. Since a lot of folks are struggling financially this brings people together more and people are freindlier I've noticed and more real. Women that used to seem maybe stuck up are friendly now. Were even having business networking groups so people come to find leads etc. I meet many hot women who used to be realtors and mortgagage brokers who now are humble asking around for work and easy to leave with being that once I tell them of what I do then they think "we can make money together" next thing you know there calling me and coming over for not just business