The Economy Is Like a Bad Boyfriend and It's Time to Call Him Out
The economy is like a bad boyfriend.
He's criticized our dress, our labor, our personality and our looks. Worst of all, he tells us that our employment makes us look fat and we're lucky he sticks around us at all.
He asks us to pay for dinner when we know his pockets are bulging with cash. He makes eyes at other girls wherever we go. He assures us he's "just looking" but whenever we tell him it's time for him to put a ring on it, he reminds us how attractive he is and how replaceable we are.
We see our bad boyfriend kissing another girl and we weakly demand fidelity. We threaten to walk out the door. He laughs and says "good luck finding someone else." Then he lays her off and doubles our work load while eliminating another benefit.
I've been here before and many of you have too.
Only Gen-Y doesn't know that the bad boyfriend economy is not a steady state and will inevitably change. I was just 21 during the bad boyfriend economy of 1973. He laid me off when there weren't many jobs but I hadn't finished my education. So I accepted his unemployment insurance and food stamps and finished my college education while I worked part-time.
I lost my job again in the bad boyfriend economy of the early 1990s. This time I had a whole lot more to lose. Even though I was given a generous severance package, my new job paid exactly 50% of the one that permitted me, then a single woman, to buy a condominium. Foreclosure and bankruptcy followed.
This, of course, is the worst bad boyfriend economy since the Great Depression, which has put a certain branch of government in a mood to jettison the safety nets designed to get Americans off of breadlines, out of hobo camps, and back to work.
The party of corporate entitlements is fond of saying that the government doesn't create jobs. Private enterprise creates jobs. But the bad boyfriend economy of 2008 to 2013 slashed government jobs and created no new private ones. So we picked up the slack of lay-offs and accepted wage freezes because we believed our boyfriend was too promising to fail.
If I were America's mother, I'd be shaking my finger in my sons' and daughters' faces telling them to dump that bad boyfriend because I've been here before and I know that he can be replaced.
He is cyclical.
He's not a feature.
He's a flaw.
It's time to break up with this bad boyfriend economy.
It's time to remember that the value you add to private enterprise is irreplaceable. That you are smart. You are skilled. You are educated. You are experienced. That boyfriend does not deserve you. There are, as my own mother always said, a lot more fish in the sea.
When profits are up but job growth and wages are flat, it's time to start flirting with someone who recognizes and is willing to recompense workers' true value. Your self-esteem will rise. You'll be emboldened to finally ask for a raise. When your bad boyfriend says "no and good luck in this economy," you'll finally be ready to take mom's advice.
If you're ready to dump that bad boyfriend, come on over to She Negotiates and enroll in our negotiation master mind classes. In a small community of like-minded women, you'll find the strength and learn the skills to get that ring or walk right out that door.