Saturday, October 11, 2008

Economics and Personal Lives

The past few weeks have been painful for the world economy, and they've hit some of us directly. I'm one of those so affected.

Three and a half years ago I quit working and assumed the title of "kept man". I had hoped to spend a lot of time working on my art, and the rest of my time doing other things. Looking back, I did do a bit more carving, but not as much as I'd hoped. To be honest, I let other things get in the way. That's not to say the time was wasted. I've been very busy, become a volunteer fire fighter, done a bunch of projects around the house, and so on. But none of that matters at the moment, because the economy has wrecked our plans.

Back when I quit working I always said I was "pseudo-retired". I figured I might decide I wanted to go back or do some contract work. Leaving my options open seemed smart. But I enjoyed my time not working, and it made a lot of sense to stay home. I didn't want to go back to work. I still don't. External forces, however, don't care about my wants.

Next week I go in for an interview. I sent one email, asked one question, and was floored with the response. I'm honored by that reaction. I need a job, and it appears they have something for me. A good fit. And these are good people, creating good products.

I should be happy, and in some ways I am. But tearing up my life because the worldwide economy can't get it's act together - because some nitwits in investment banks decided to sell bad mortgages like they were candy - just feels wrong.

Assuming I get the job I'll still be carving, but my time will be even more limited than it was. And that list of projects I have for around the house will take longer to get through. And I'll be a lot more tired.

So a big, personal "thank you" to the brilliant minds who created sub prime mortgages, credit default swaps, and all the other derivative investments no one really understands. Your poor judgement has impacted many people around the world. I know I'm just another in a very long list, but I also want to see you rot in hell.

From my perspective, Anne and I did everything right. We saved early and often. We invested somewhat aggressively since we're young, and were (and still are) way ahead of the pack in terms of retirement planning. But now - as things continue to get worse with no end in sight - we're back to the basics. And I'm probably going back to work.