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Irish Told to Expect Standard of Living to Drop

Today the prime minister of Ireland told his country's citizens that the global financial crisis will not be easy to recover from, and that they should expect several years of a reduced standard of living.  This will be a tough adjustment since Ireland has had one of the fastest expanding economies in Europe for more than a decade.

Mr Cowen criticised the widespread negativity which suggests the economic boom was an illusion or never happened. “After ten or 12 good years, when one year was better than the next, for most people, we are now going to face into a few years where the standard of living is going to drop. But it is going to drop back to a level which is still well ahead of where it was five, ten or 15 years ago.”

You can read the whole story here, but the point is that people around the world are having to reexamine their lives.  From Michigan to Ireland to China this global "fracture" in the financial markets is forcing us to evaluate the way we live, work, save and spend.


My Take - Layoffs are a gut-wrenching blow ... and an opportunity

By BILL VAN STEENIS Park Township Posted Dec 08, 2008 @ 11:00 PM Last update Dec 09, 2008 @ 08:27 AM

Park Township, MI —

Saturday morning, I opened The Sentinel to the news that Gentex, a highly respected institution in automotive manufacturing in the Holland-Zeeland area eliminated the jobs of more than 350 loyal employees. It is truly a sad day for our community. 

Short of the death of a child or a spouse, losing one’s job is one of the most stressful events that a person can experience. It is like being punched in the stomach when you didn’t see it coming.

Losing your job knocks the wind out of you and leaves you gasping for breath. It puts you into a state of freefall. Every support system you rely on as an anchor in life is immediately in jeopardy — your family, your church, your friends, your home. Virtually everything you count on in life is in limbo.

When you lose your job, your entire family is dramatically impacted. Together you are going to experience many emotions during this process. You are going to work through the five stages of grief that accompany a loss of this magnitude: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. You are going to be faced with having to rethink your life, your values and your willingness to make sacrifices you never thought you’d have to consider.

The good news is that you are going to make it. This event is not the end of the world. Please don’t do anything that you can’t take back. Let me admonish you — never seek a permanent solution to a temporary problem and that’s what this job loss is, a temporary problem.

I am speaking from experience. I have personally experienced job loss several times during my career. Twice I have been nearly wiped out financially. Once I had to move across the country to take a new job. The good news for me was that I not only survived, I actually thrived and grew from these experiences.

My job loss resulted in my taking an inventory of what was really important to me and what I could live without. It simplified my life. I learned that I have skills that I never thought I had. The process stretched me and I grew both personally and professionally.

I would not want to repeat losing a job but I wouldn’t trade the experience for any amount of money. I learned a great deal about myself through this process, my strengths, my talents and my weaknesses. I learned to differentiate what I thought was important to me from what was truly important to me and you will, too.

Reexamine Life.  Don't work for a living, work for a life worth living.


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