That, ladies and gentlemen, is the sound of world economy falling off a cliff.
See what I mean about being too negative? Even though (I think) I am in pretty good shape to weather the storm, I find it difficult to be upbeat and optimistic about this whole situation. Ever since I was young, I never want to be someone who never saw it coming (whatever bad thing “it” might be) and be completely psychologically beaten down. But I’m afraid that in trying to be realistic, I have overcompensated and fallen off the cliff into the abyss.
But how can I not, when every headline I read is saying, in essence, “How bad will it get? Worse than you think?”. So if things are worse than I think, I might adjust my thinking to a “worse” case scenario to reflect reality, but then it just turns into a vicious cycle where things are NEVER as good as I think they might eventually be, which means that no matter how bad I think things will be, the truth, when it comes, will be even uglier than the ugliest scenarios I can foresee.
It doesn’t help that:
a) I am an absolute news junkie. I read the WSJ, New York Times, The Economist, and CNN Money every, single, day. On the way to work, I listen to Market Place on NPR. (Of course, I also have a plethora of personal finance blogs that I frequent). On any given day, I know the Dow and I know the layoff count. All this news-reading is very informative, and I’m being informed that well, there ARE no good news out there.
b) I keep an ear out for layoff news from my circle of fellow young professionals (financial analysts, consultants, accountants, PR people, etc). Many of the Big Four accounting firms have already had 3-4 rounds of layoffs. Law firms are cutting attorneys. Hiring everywhere is contracting. Most people I know who were laid off have not been able to find a comparable job. Oh, and you know how health care and education are supposed to be “recession-resistant?” Well, my mom works at a hospital, and she said that even they have cut back on per diem (temporary) nurses.
So I think things are pretty bad.
BUT – what if my thinking is too optimistic? Then obviously it’s even worse than I think. Maybe the job market won’t improve until 2014. Maybe it will be a jobless recovery. Maybe I will lose my job, go to grad school, graduate with debt, and can’t find a job. And become the weird, unaccomplished (also unmarried) cousin at family gatherings…
I do think (hope?) that things will start to get better in 2011 and beyond. I know I am an ultimately optimistic person, because the very act of PUTTING MY MONEY into deteriorating markets imply that I believe, one day, the economy will recover. So perhaps, depsite all the doom and gloom, I am a total optimist.