Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where we follow weather reports for approaching hurricanes and financial reports for approaching economic catastrophes. How convenient when both make the news in the same week!
Mr. Johnson has had several job offers in the past few years. And even though we're constantly under the threat of plant closure here in the Great Blue Northeast, he hasn't changed jobs.
Why? Let's examine the list:
1. One job offer was in his home town, and the prospective boss asked him to take a "hometown discount" on his salary. In other words, can we pay you less because you love Baltimore?
If he'd gone to Baltimore, Mr. Johnson would have taken a pay cut, and he would have been laid off this year.
2. The next job offer was at the most cutting-edge and famous plant in Mr. Johnson's line of work. And Mr. Johnson is eminently qualified to work there. But while he was interviewing down in Washington, DC, I was looking at the real estate listings. A two-bedroom bungalow in Chevy Chase was $450,000 -- and it looked like it hadn't been taken care of since the Eisenhower era. I told Mr. Johnson, "You'll be taking a whopper of a pay cut if we move, because the houses are too expensive in DC."
Mr. Johnson did not get the job. If he had, he would have been laid off last year.
3. Periodically Mr. Johnson hears from a plant in Los Angeles. And he just plainly loves that California weather. But when a job offer came, we looked at the real estate listings and could hardly breathe. A two bedroom bungalow in suburban LA was $750,000!
Mr. Johnson did not take the job. If he had, he would have been laid off this past summer.
We are clinging to the cliff by our fingernails. This latest round of financial ruin on Wall Street may do us in, even though Mr. Johnson is a senior employee in a union plant. But you know what? Shit happens, it doesn't matter what deity you worship.
At times like this it's helpful to remember that your ancestors went through tough times too, and died from them often enough. But somehow they gave birth to another generation, and that generation survived to be mowed down in its hard time, after having birthed another generation.
Somehow you got here, where you are today. I did too. And that's miracle enough for me. Thanks be unto the bored gods!
I'm Anne Johnson, and I approved this message.