Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Hard Times, Dickens Style

Things are bad at my job. I don't want to say many details, but bearing witness to this financial meltdown, sitting a stone's throw from Wall Street everyday and having my dad email me to tell me to look up while I'm walking (in case people are jumping from buildings), has all been pretty unnerving. I just sent my co-workers an email with my personal email and phone number just in case it's me or them that gets the axe next. Layoffs are imminent, we've been told.

From my seat, it's sort of fine and actually interesting to witness. I have plans to attend grad school, this isn't my career, I don't have kids, I will make it work. Somehow. For my dear friends here at work, who have many just recently graduated from their master's programs at Yale, MIT, Harvard,'s bleak! Imagine completing years of school to be thrown into a job market that was at first booming and so suddenly crashing. We have lost most of our projects, our big names are holding back--who builds buildings during a depression? FDR, and that's about it, which is why our publicly funded project is one of the only ones hanging on.

In literally two months, our situation has become dire. The entire company has changed and will change even more very soon. If there is any field, besides something directly correlated to finance, that this crisis has impacted, it's design and architecture. New buildings are a luxury, architects are expensive and times are tough--naturally, it's one of the first things a company will 'put on hold'. The process of design is also so lengthy, there are so many opportunities before any building even begins to shut down the project. It's hard to get buildings built, actually built. Especially innovative and beautiful, cool ones. Especially in a recession/depression.

My my my. My my.

Regarding the bailout, have we seen any truly positive impacts thus far? Companies are still faltering every. single. day. People are losing their jobs like crazy, especially in New York. A job fair sponsored by today had a line stretching an entire avenue and around the block. It's rough. The bailout seems to have completely overlooked a greater problem of capitalism and simple MATH. Will more regulation fix these problems? How could so many institutions be hanging on by such a small margin? It's like they had MY bank account for Christ's sake...any major expense or problem and I'm wiped out. How did we come to this?

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