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Good News about Downward Mobility | Turning Crap into Compost




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Good News about Downward Mobility

images-12This recession is still getting heavy play in the media, but in addition to the terrifying doomsday stories that keep us all on heightened anxiety alert (“ie: The gap between the rich and the poor will continue to widen…It’s one the worst recessions in our country’s history…13 million people are facing unemployment…more than 30 million people are relying on food stamps…. ”), a few stories about the upsides are starting to get some real attention. In fact the goddess of goodness herself (Oprah, who Cemetery Mary has long since forgiven for not taking her seat at my funeral) just did a whole show about folks who’ve dropped a few notches in social classes due to some severe financial set backs. And do you know what? Instead of turning into bitter nuts, they are surviving AND becoming, in the process, more compassionate, empathic humans.

Imagine that.

Turning crap into compost is what we do people.

images3It appears that formerly successful white collar workers once belonging to the upper-middle-class now stand in line at the unemployment office and realize for the first time that the unemployed are not a heap of unmotivated, uneducated or lazy losers. Because many freewheeling spenders have been forced to downsize, they have also learned that it is possible to be just as happy with less money. They have refocused their energy on family, friends and their life’s passion.

And speaking of continuing to follow one’s heart, today’s SF Chronicle reprinted the journalist Barbara Ehrenreich’s commencement address to UC Berkeley Journalism graduates in which she talks about how she’s had to recommit to her passion for telling the story that needs to be told despite the long hours and lousy pay. She informs the graduates that they are trying to carve out a career in the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. “You are furthermore going to be trying to do so within what appears to be a dying industry.”

images-3Ehrenreich goes on to ask the students how they think it feels to be an autoworker right now? Or a laidoff paper mill worker, construction worker, or miner? “So let me be the first to say this to you: Welcome to the American working class.”

Ehrenreich’s students and Oprah’s guests all seem to embrace the economic challenges with a feisty compassion for focusing on what’s important. Though Ehrenreich was directing her comments to a group of journalists, her message is resonant with all workers of all social classes who are forced to accept the new reality of this job market.

“As long as there is a story to be told, an injustice to be exposed, a mystery to be solved, we will find a way to do it. A recession won’t stop us. A dying industry won’t stop us. Even poverty won’t stop us because we are all on a mission here.”

That’s right, what’s the point of whining and worrying when there are so many missions to be accomplished?

What is your mission?images-4

Do something to move it forward today.

 

One Response to “Good News about Downward Mobility”

  1. Michael Says:

    When you end with Calvin and Hobbs, well, that’s some serious motivation. I’m all over it.

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