In March 2000, the stock market collapsed. Remember, bubble-riders? Ravers? Three months later, I lost my job. I happened to be working with the Technology division of the Pacific Stock Exchange, so I could complain to no one that I had not seen it coming.
I was the canary in the coal mine, that time. Having been in the shaft the other way around — the first to see daylight — I have always believed that I would recognize it when it came again.
That first time, daylight came in a travel-crowded autumn; I was traveling between my home in San Francisco and a couple of other places. I had just gotten engaged, laid off, and I was grieving the loss of my grandmother. In October I had interviewed for a good job at home, then taken off to visit a family member; I was headed home to vote for Bubba’s re-election, November ’96.
During a layover on my flight home, I checked my voicemail from a pay phone at Kennedy Airport. Eight new messages, said my machine. Seven of them were from my recruiter. She had a job offer for me.
By the time I reached her, about an hour later, the starting salary she was offering had gone up. She thought I was stonewalling. I wasn’t; why would I? I had never done corporate training before. I knew I was a bargain, not a prize.
But here’s the thing: my new employer was an Internet Service Provider. They needed workers — badly. What they had was money; what they didn’t have was time. They were on to something big, bigger than anything I had ever seen. And, as it turned out, so was I.
My friends: 15 years later, daylight has again come. Forget everything you hear or read about “this economy”; the badness of it, the double dip. That’s bullshit. It’s a dirt-road cloud of rumor.
I am here to tell you that the recession is over.
My last job ended while I was on vacation, earlier this month. I got the offer for the new one less than two weeks later — while I was still on vacation. I have not had time to do my laundry, get a pedicure, buy stockings. I am the whitest person you will ever meet, and I will start this job with a tan.
I am not wonderful. I have held something like 13 jobs in 17 years. I am the kind of person who misspells the word “Communications” in her own email signature; whose Monster.com profile says “contract positions only”, and means it. And I got a job in less than two weeks. What makes you think that you couldn’t?
The recession is over.
Was it easy? Like hell it was. Don’t you think I wanted an entire month off? Who doesn’t? But the heart, the bank account, the 14-year-old with the shopping habit, wants what it wants. The job was there; the company and agency offered; I accepted.
The recession is over.
You don’t have to go out right now and buy a house, or a car, or change jobs, but if I were you I’d probably get the hell up and do whatever it is I’ve been saying I would do “when ‘the economy’ improves”. Because ‘the economy’, alive and well and laughing at Ben Bernanke and the Tea Party and everyone else who’s banking on doom, actually needs participants. Not readers. Not watchers. Participants.
Think this has nothing to do with you?
The recession is over. Catch up.