Finally the ‘phoney recession’ is over. I’ve been saying this for a while that a lot of people and companies have been deluding themselves. It is, I suppose, easy to have done in the run up to Christmas. Everyone had something to look forward and sales usually go up that time of year anyway.
Spend! Spend! Spend! That seems to have been the watchward from a failed government whose economic policies have created a massive boom from which logic dictates a bust would follow. The worst thing was that it was a boom built on debt and easy credit. As the house of cards collapses, that debt still needs to be serviced by some-one.
People are finally taking heed of the idea of living within their means, because quite simply they now have to. The credit limit got maxed out and it’s time to pay it off. Ouch! All spent up for Christmas, I guess a lot of families are wising up to the harsh reality that it’s a long slog and money is too tight to mention. Hence the end of the phoney recession and the start of the real hard-nose recession that will take more than a few gimmicks to see us through. Did you notice much from the 2½% VAT cut? No, I didn’t notice more than a few pennies different, if at all. Yet that’s 12½billion squids down the tube apparently. An expensive gimmick from a government that has become very good at wasting our cash.
I read the other week that government departments have lost something like an average of one computer a day for the last few years. That’s a lot of computers. Where are they going? If you or I lost our laptop, we’d have a damn good look for it. We would certainly be far more careful with its replacement. The civil service seems to have a couldn’t-give-a-shit approach. These aren’t all laptops either, which I could see as being a target for thieves and easy to smuggle out under a coat. Apparently a sizeable chunk were desktop computers. How does that work? Don’t you ask questions when strangers carry out from your offices the computers? Apparently the civil service doesn’t. On top of this apparently there are countless removeable hard disks and memory sticks unaccounted for. Little wonder our personal data keeps going missing. With such a blasé attitude, it is perfectly justified that no-one trusts this govbernment with its increasingly more elaborate plans to spy on us and keep data on us.
Every day there seems to be announcements of job losses and companies going into liquidation. MFI, Courts and Woolworths were the biggies, but just the other day a large pottery firm was the latest to announce they were folding. Where is it going to end? Part of the problem may be that during the boom times ineffeciency and waste along with bad management has expanded unchecked. After all, when the money is easy to come by and profits march on upwards every year regardless, then a lot of the problems can easily be ignored. Now times are tougher though those problems are coming back and fast. I suppose that is one of the reasons that M&S, amongst others, have announced job cuts even though compared to others they’re not doing too badly. I suppose maybe they have realised that it is time to make those efficiency changes that should have been kept on top of during the good times.
Finally, my own day job has been suffering. January to March is always a slacker time, even in good years. But this year I saw the recession coming and we’ve already battoned down the hatches. This year I have so far worked two shifts Well, it is only the sixth of January, but that is still a shadow of how busy I was in December. I mostly do work for a chilled food haulage firm. The way I see it, regardless of how bad times are people still eat food and that food still needs to be moved. Of course, people might move down market and buy cheaper food, but we’re shifting everything from the fancy expensive stuff to the supermarket budget ranges. The only thing that would scupper me is lots of people going on massive diets reducing the demand for food across the board.
As it is, I think it will be very tough. The jobs market has few new jobs, and a lot of people have been put out of work meaning that the number of people going after each job is vastly increased. That’s never good for those people desperately looking for work. I wish them well; my partner is one of them.
I like to look for plus points. Not working seventy hour plus weeks at the moment does at least give me time for the writing. That means I should be able to meet the deadline of finishing the new book by the end of January. Then it is a case of refining the draft and sending it on to the agent. Call me old fashioned, but a decent advance and contract for it would be rather nice at the moment. This book more than any other has a lot of hope riding on it. Everyone has to have something to look forward to and believe in, and my writing for me is that thing. One day it will pull me away from having to toil in dead end jobs to pay the bills. One day I will be successful enough so as to not need to get up at 1:00am and have to work for fifteen hours tripping salmon to Manchester from Falkirk. It might happen.
In all my life I have taken to heart the expression: “Take a chance and you won’t be sorry for a might have been”. How true. There is another expression that hovers in my mind a lot. That is: “If you want something to happen you have to get out there and make it happen”. It is very true. Some call me a workaholic, but what I’m actually doing is doing everything that I can to make it happen.