Sunday, November 11, 2012

The simple life- As it pertains to cycling

Living simple in the wake of corporate downsizing, and
how this relates to cycling

In the past week, the greedy, inhumane actions of some major corporations have left tens of thousands of people without work. In my area alone, one major technologies employer laid off 200 of it's employees, among them even some of my friends. Many are once again hitting the job trail trying to figure out if they can afford their current lifestyle or if they will have to lose it all and start over.

There are many theories as to why so many companies have been laying off, cutting full time hours and benefits from their employees. Fear over the introduction of a national health care bill, a "fiscal cliff" which is probably bad news for rich guys getting tax breaks, and even college educated Puerto Ricans (like me) that are starting to catch on about taxation without representation, and finally wanting to do something about it in their commonwealth are all current events some say have encouraged corporate downsizing.

Whatever the reasons for the job losses, these actions are wrong and whatever goes around comes around. I hope any pompous jerk who's laid off a bunch of people and is reading this takes that into heart. In the end, we need companies that can invest in their workers and in the economy of this country. So if you're going to high  tail it to Asia for the cheap labor then don't bother coming back. Take your goods over there as well and figure out how to sell them. Companies that keep making their employees suffer aren't getting away with much this time. People are used to being unemployed or underemployed, so they'll deal with it. In return these companies are basically falling on their own swords so to speak.

"Keep it simple" has been my mantra since 2008, when the economic crisis hit and I was fired two days after returning from my honeymoon. I had to learn how to hustle and teach myself to not have such lofty standards when it came to work. In the time it's taken me to get back on my feet I have worked as  a photographer, bicycle mechanic, sign installer, and even built furniture on call of an office once. I have also worked in  the medical field for two years reading and interpreting electrocardiograms. All this in only four years. I just did what I had to do. Let me tell you it's been a blast and an adventure at the same time.

Many young couples and young people who live on their own acquire debt. This can come in the form of student loans, car payments, or expensive housing. When I was in my early 20's, the loft lifestyle became popular. My roommate and I bought a futon, and we would spend a lot of time browsing the IKEA catalog for more contemporary furniture to dress our apartment with.

Still, our rent was low and we could afford it. I have personally witnessed many young people who find a nice paying job, move to the fancy, "arts district" side of town, ornate their lofts in IKEA furniture and buy a brand new car without even having worked at the job for a year. They do all this only to get the pink slip later. Then they are pulling hairs out trying to figure out what to do. 

Again, I say keep it simple. Buy a car in cash or buy it used, if it's even necessary to own a car. If you live two miles from your grocery store, your gym, your church, a bike lane- do you even need a car? I don't think so. Ride a bicycle instead. That will save  you potentially $800 a month in travel related expenses. Riding a bike is not for poor people. Its for smart people that keep it simple.  There is also the added side benefit of getting in shape and getting to avoid all those doctors visits later. More money in your pocket my friends.

A savings account is the best credit line you can have. If you deposit $50 a week into a savings account, you will have enough to fly to Germany in six months. Trust me, I have done it myself. Ever have a low balance on your account? Just transfer some money from your savings. No need to ask anyone for a bailout. There are some people who just aren't able to save anything. That's understandable, but for if times get better a savings account is the way to go.

Without complicating this issue of deep thought too much, I hope this article serves as a encouragement for those who have recently lost their jobs. To those of you who have lost your job I would like to say this; grow your local economy. I have yet to see a grocer in my residential area. If someone started a small chain of grocery stores that targeted residential neighborhoods, they would hit the jack pot. Zoning laws are outdated and are designed around suburban sprawl, time to do away with those too. Maritime, cabotage trade laws that prohibit exports from U. S territories have to end. For those of you who are unemployed and are visionaries, there is still a lot of options left and a lot of  untapped markets or markets that don't even exist yet. It's up to you to make it happen. Hustle my friends, and don't be afraid to roll up your sleeves and get some dirt underneath your fingernails.

1 comment:

  1. I found your blog and I really like it! I was looking for a bike like mine, Strider 10 speed, which is in one of your 2009 article. You are so dead-on with your views on what is going on in our America today. There really is no reason for these companies to be doing what they're doing, laying off and stopping productions to go elsewhere. Don't they see the damage that they do? They do but they don't seem to care. In the end, they hurt themselves too!