The rain stops sometime.
"You don't close off the rain barrel just because the ground is wet," I said to a friend.
My sister has her own business. Business is booming, but finding anyone to help her work it is not. She's got money coming in but is working herself to death.
"I just want to pay down debt and make as much money as I can now," she said. "Who knows what the future brings."
I get it.
You make money while it's possible, because someday it won't be.
Why aren't people working? Why are so many jobs unfilled?
Some say the unemployment benefits from the pandemic are too good. There's probably truth to that. When September rolls around and all of the benefits are gone (unless they're renewed), will we see a change? Folks banking on there being a job available for them after summer is over are foolish gamblers; business owners will find ways to make it work with fewer workers, or they'll simply close their business. Who's to say there will be a job waiting after your last big unemployment check comes in? Who's to say automation or more efficient methods won't have made you obsolete?
Maybe there are other reasons, too.
I heard a talk show host share data that said during the Great Recession of 2008, American households lost $3 trillion dollars. Somehow during the pandemic, households saw an influx of $13 trillion. When you have a lot of cash or spending power through easy credit, you might not be motivated to go out and work and get more. I know a lot of business owners and service/hospitality workers didn't see that influx of cash, but it was a strange time of false buoyancy due to government checks, halted rents, and incredible unemployment benefits. Working from home meant saving on commute, daycare, and other expenses.
There's the growing problem of a generation of teenagers and younger people who don't work like they used to. Summer jobs meant most of the fast food and service industries had these younger workers, back when I was growing up. I don't know what they do now, but I see a lot of adults working these jobs. It's probably why there's a push for higher minimum wages, since jobs that used to be considered low-wage for young people to earn some extra cash are now being expected to feed a family.
Have you heard about the new trend of a modern version of a gap year? Some kids graduate high school and take a year off before college (which, considering what our colleges are teaching, maybe ought to be skip it all together), and...do nothing. Not travel. Not work. Not save money for college. Just hang out. Maybe play video games? Shame on those parents who let them get away with it. Any parent with an able-bodied teenager who isn't working but is being shuffled around for sports or summer fun has zero right to complain about poor service, poor staffing, reduced hours, and long wait times. Their kid ought to be working. They could get a job right now that would absolutely work with their personal schedule.
There's also the issue of a massive number of people who got a taste of working from home wanting to stay home. It will work for some (I work from home), but it can't work for everyone. And so, perhaps like Cousin Eddie from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, they're going to hold out for a management position for years.
I know there are women who are unable to return to the workforce because still-lingering pandemic restrictions, or the fallout of 2020, have made it impossible for them to find day care.
Lots of reasons, maybe, as to why there's a new help wanted sign every day.
"Look at all these jobs for the taking!" I said as we were driving around, counting those signs. "People are leaving money on the table!"
I have considered picking up an extra job, even though right now I'm drowning in freelance writing work having hopelessly overbooked my calendar, and have no idea how to work a job into that writing schedule. But there's money to be earned, just waiting. It pains me to see it.
"I think it's a perfect storm of all of these factors," I said to that friend as our discussion went on about why there were so many jobs available. "All of that came together at the same time and here we are with more jobs sitting open and unfilled than ever before, people flush with money through government checks and ample credit, and a sneaking inflation that is creeping up for the pounce on people who don't pay attention to pricing."
An old fellow came into my sister's place of business, and got to chatting. He was a lifelong hard working man who had finally retired. They got to talking about these things, and he, having lived through many recessions and tough times, said it plainly.
"Why are people so blind?" he said. "Can't they see what's coming? They should be working and saving money."
Blindness and sheep-like gullibility are the theme of 2020 and now, 2021, I guess.
Can't you see it? Can't you feel it? Do people really think stimulus checks and prosperity and cushy lives are in the future? Do you still believe government talking heads assuring you that everything is fine, you're fine, and endless trillions in spending and freebies and lawlessness will make everything fine?
My sister pointed out that her loathed national bank had sold all of their student loans to someone else, and notified her that they were ending programs such as a open credit line as overdraft protection. They are girding themselves up for what seems like an expected perhaps soon-coming credit default. They aren't saying it overtly, mind you. They're too wrapped up in woke social justice and rainbowizing their social media feeds to placate a bleating public to let their customers know that a financial tsunami is coming.
But we shouldn't need them to tell us.
Housing prices are off the charts. A house near me, average beige on a busy road sporting one of the most crooked non-private privacy fences I've seen, is on the market for nearly half a million dollars.
More and more I see shelves in stores that have an odd item here and there unavailable due to supply chain and production issues. I've read stories of restaurants who can't get their supplies because there aren't truckers to deliver them. Several restaurants in town are partly shut down due to lack of workers and supplies.
I know that we have significantly less ground moisture than we did in dry 2020, and that means crops that made it through last year's drought will fail if this year's drought continues. That means food prices will increase.
I see the articles about inflation. I see the prices gradually rising and the food content in packages at the store having less content for the same dollar amount. I've priced out plywood and 2x4's. I watch the gas prices inch up. I've talked to business owners who say that if things don't change soon, they can no longer absorb the price increases and will have to pass them on to the customer. Summer might end with a mighty bang in your pocketbook and maybe, when your summer fun is over and you're ready to go back to work, there won't be any work left.
I don't care how much money I have. I always want to work. Work when you can, and save, because someday you won't be able to.
It doesn't matter if it's raining. It doesn't matter if the ground is wet. You save the rainwater, because drought is always coming.