Post Great Recession: Our Mothers, Ourselves

Are We Fated To Become Our Mothers?

Mar 1, 2011 by

There was nothing my mother loved more than scanning the economic horizons and finding possible signs that The Great Depression was going to again happen. Family members, neighbors, and even the parish priest had down cold every one of my mother’s floor ladies in the factory and how the owner played had cute with her.

That went on and on until she died in the mid 1980s, with a pile of money socked away for us three daughters. Of course, the three of us ran out and bought houses and cars we couldn’t afford.  Rebellion against all the tales we had heard about how degrading working was in a factory during The Great Depression had been was bound to happen.  Giving money importance, we were convinced, would make us our mother, ourselves.  It wasn’t until my communications boutique crashed and my 401K was drained in 2003 that I began to notice that money is difficult to earn and even more difficult to accumulate.

Now, after the unexpected severity of this recent downturn, I wonder if I have become my mother.  For example, I have already become An Ancient Mariner type who tells whoever I can corner long-winded detailed tales of all the cons I had run into during the recession.  There was the chap from England who told me that he was booked on “Oprah” and Richard Branson was writing the Preface of his book.

It wasn’t until I looked over a few chapters of his manuscript, without the meter running, that I knew this was another desperate loser.  More recently, a woman who Google reports had been in a mess with Congress regarding a food supplement, picked my brain about her new business for too long before I got it. Among other lures she mentioned a board seat for me and stock options.  Before the downturn, this sort of thing just didn’t happen.

Of course,  forewarned is forearmed.  I know my mother’s peculiar money-saving tactics.  It was down the hatch for all those little bottles of cream at a coffee counter.  At the Salvation Army she would take out her dentures to try to get enough more off an item.  She dumpster dived before that was cool.  It wouldn’t dawn on me to do any of that.

What I fear I will do is hold those grievances, as with the experiences of the two cons, so close to my heart.  That could make me a less effective salesperson for my communications boutique. That’s because in order to get the order you have to give enough and just enough information and insight about the prospect’s problem.  Will I ever trust my business instincts to play a sales call appropriately and not be in emotional lockdown protecting information?

The odds are, that unlike my mother, I will get on the other side of the downturn’s woes.  I recognize the power of optimism.  Her generation wasn’t schooled in how a sunny mindset and calm can set in motion a law of attraction.   Already I’m closing on more sales calls because the last several months did leave me with a financial reserve.  In addition, next month I begin collecting Social Security.  I have a hunch that not only I but many of All The Single Girlfriends will be doing a Ronald Reagan and making it morning in America.

About the Author

Jane Genova Has Written 24 Articles For Us!

I’m a coach, book author, and lecturer on careers, specializing in transitions. When I was 58, I restarted my professional life. That was in 2003. Since then I have I have muted into one of those renaissance folks who keeps multiple lines of work going. My latest book Over-50: How We Keep Working has helped thousands of people realize that exciting careers don’t depend on your age. I write four blogs: Jane Genova, Law and More, Career Transitions, Over-50.
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1 Comment

  1. Jane, I so relate to what you have said here. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of wanting the work so much, you give the store away before you’ve collected the rent fee. It’s the challenge of any small, self-employed person, how much to give away, when to say we need a contract. I’ve been burned enough to have decided that, if you want my expertise and help, well then I’m worth paying a reasonable consultation fee. On thing we girlfriends tend to do is under value our own expertise and knowledge.

    Thanks for reminding me that I’m worth it! – Debra

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