7/28/09

I'm even used as a homework assignment!

"I like hills because you can see the top. I know that sounds glib, but you know that the hill is not going to keep appearing; it's there and once you get to the top, it's behind you, and you feel as though you have conquered something." Rob DeCastella, Olympic Marathoner

So, today I answered a few questions for my friend JM, who was doing a homework assignement on the economy and how people are laid off, I am guessing. I donno, that's where I come into play where I had to answer all of these crazy questions as to what has the economy effected me?

LEAD
This month B has seven jobs, six roommates, and one bathroom in Midtown East. Between First and York East. Most days start at 5:50am and don't end until at least midnight for this 28-year-old, RPI-educated junior architect who now pays his rent through a dizzying combination of marathon coaching, dog sitting, and the odd, part-time office job.

NUT GRAF
After being downsized from a five- to four-day workweek in November of last year, sustaining a 20% hit to his already-modest by New York City standards salary, it was being placed on an eight-week "furlough" by his architecture firm in June—with no promises or guarantees for reemployment following this two-month, unpaid stint—that finally forced him to confront and test Walter Cannon's 1929 response theory: fight or flight?

B went with his gut. He gave notice to his two former Gramercy-area roommates and started packing for the move back to Somers, New York, a wearying but workable hour-long commute to and from the City. But three days before his father gassed up the family's silver minivan and headed into Manhattan to bring B back home, a last ditch Craigslist search revealed a Real World-esque loft apartment with too-good-to-be-true rent. It was this
fortuitous Hail Mary that enabled Brian to transcend his instincts and become The Accidental Entrepreneur.

RESEARCH FACTS / ANGLES
1. B makes the same amount (if not more money) by combining unemployment compensation and his under the table odd jobs than when he was employed full-time as a junior architect, yet his stress level is much higher without the security of a near-guaranteed next paycheck. Explore ways to quantify/monetize/expand upon independence vs. stress.

2. His days are much longer but, because he's dictating his own time (working for himself), he is allowing himself to do more of what he loves, which he previously sacrificed for his employer: running, reading, and studying, along with intangibles such as thinking, reflecting, and taking
charge of his future and career.

3. Explore the psychological effects/depression/insecurities of being put in 'purgatory': neither laid-off nor employed, an eight+ week holding pattern of unrest. Where did this trend originate and how common is it? Find and interview others in similar situations.

4. In addition to recurring bills (rent, cell phone, cable, electricity), B keeps a detailed spreadsheet of every single dollar earned and spent. In 2009 he has spent an average of $700/month for all groceries, dining out, laundry, transit, running, and 'luxury' items, down from an average of $820/month in 2008. This is a 15% savings.

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