Friday, January 30, 2009

The Thin Economy! Keep Sewing!

Monday morning's drive into work raised my level of humility and thankfulness five notches. It was announced that 70,000 people lost their jobs. The companies named were Starbucks, Microsoft, Caterpillar, General Electric, Texas Instruments and the list goes on. All of these companies are solid American companies that have been around for decades. How will people survive?

For the past two years, I've noticed numerous foreclosures in my neighborhood. A neighborhood which has less than 15 percent apartment buildings. These home are not dilapidated; most are in excellent condition. One day a family was living there; the next it was boarded up with no for sale sign on the lawn.

Last week, my manager call an impromptu meeting to talk about budget cuts. Only 80 percent of our current fiscal year '09 was funded. Travel and no money available for June 2009 salaries. There are only six people in my unit. Of course, I'm on the horn with family and friends taking polls and discussing fall back plans. I told my mom, I would work three jobs if need be. She laughed and said, "Would you do janitorial work?" I replied, "In a heartbeat." The truth of the matter is, a lot of people are hurting financially and can not find jobs in their trained professions or trades. The market is saturated with IT skilled individuals and if unemployment increases, it will be extremely difficult to find a position. What I also learned is that many of my friends/family are cutting back. People are being very careful about the way they spend money.

Discussion with DBF - People will have to become more creative in supporting themselves. It's not pretty working just to pay bills. This will be an opportunity for people to become stronger. Start your own business.

In several discussion, people have suggested that I could always sew for people. May be..., but that won't bring in enough revenue. It's time consuming and if folks are cutting back; the cut backs are usually those things that people can live without: vacations, fancy dinners, party, custom sewing. So what do we do to sustain ourselves in the face of a failing economy: Become more conscientious about spending on hobbies we love? Or take in sewing to earn extra money?

..., at the end of the day, I thought to myself, "Don't worry. God is my resource. I will survive; my family will survive. We knew it was a recession before it was announced."


  1. My husband, in IT, was laid off yesterday. You can imagine that this is a very timely discussion in our house. What I'm gathering (from my internet surfing) is that people are cutting back. So, they'll be cutting back from buying a new custom sewn dress - but, they're going to be trying to save what they have. Step on the hem of your favorite pants and you'll be looking for someone to do the hem repair instead of tossing them aside and buying new.

    And, some people pay no mind to the economy and are still buying. I hear etsy/ebay selling isn't always the way to sell, say a custom made apron, but rather - check out your local craft fairs.

  2. I totally feel you. My company has just laid off 30 people so it's hitting close to home. I've been down-hearted for the past several weeks. It's been very stressful and it hurts to see co-workers go through this. Being in an HR position make it that much worse. I'm so grateful that for now I have a job, but feel deeply for those who have been laid off all around me. I'm not too proud, I too would work doing whatever it take to stay afloat.

    I'm looking more toward sewing everything I wear now. I'm thankful for the stash I have because buying more will be a lot more thoughtful going forward.

  3. I agree with you that God is the resource. You can't go around fretting and worrying about things that you can't change. Just leave it in the hands of the Lord and he will make a way.

  4. I agree with all that's been said. Just last Sunday, a lady who received an email from me, said she just realized that I sew and would I sew for her! I just smiled. (I have my blog address in my email signture) Some are cutting back, but there are others who still buy whatever they want! And the ones who are cutting back are the ones who will need you to repair and perhaps alter things! Yes, God Never Fails!

  5. Things are really tough out there. My friend has been unemployed for a year now and has even started a blog to document surviving during these times. (

    I am very happy to be in the medical simulation training field, where funds are a lot less volatile than other jobs out there.

  6. It really a global recession, not only in the States. I can't account for the number of people who have been laid off in Canada as well. I believe no matter the situation God will make a way out of no way......

  7. I am a self employed landscape designer. A luxury field to say the least. We specialize in mid sized residential projects usually just the kind of middle and upper middle income people who are getting laid off. I have some work for spring, but I billed about 12% less last year than the year before, and I know that this year will be even worse. I am going to have to learn to be very frugal, I can tell you that and taking in sewing may very well be on my plate.

  8. I've been thinking about this too. But one of my areas of cutting back has been not to cut back sewing but to cut back on buying RTW and sew more of my own clothes.

    Anyway, I want to thank you for this comment:

    "People will have to become more creative in supporting themselves. It's not pretty working just to pay bills. This will be an opportunity for people to become stronger."

    I think this might be a hard thing to hear, but it's the best attitude to have (right next to turning to God as a resource -- it's also hard to remember that God doesn't hate poverty as much as we do), and it's what I'm trying to embrace as my husband and I go through some tough times, as other people are.

  9. Aboslutely - we have a lot to be thankful for if we or our spouses still have jobs. I thank God that I can sew - it helps keep those costs down. God is in control, we just need to remember that and depend on Him.

  10. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you. It's scary out there. We went through the layoff thing with DH in the fall. Fortunately, he's employed again. I do advocate starting your network up before the talk of layoffs hit. I really like LinkedIn for keeping in touch with business contacts.

  11. I am with you on that one. I was laid off my permanent job August 2007. I started a temp job in February 2008. The contract ends next week. In the interim I have been working on improving my sewing skills. As you and others have said, we need to have a back up plan. I think for me sewing may be the ticket for me. Yes, it is hard out there and it will get harder. Yes, God needs to be the center of our life more than ever. I can honestly say that my prayer has been that I not let my faith fail because I know God has the resources to sustain us. FYI to all: as I was reading all of your posts, I received a call from someone who will be placing an order for scrubs and also taking a sample to one of her friends. Yes, God is good, and he is good all the time.

  12. I work in healthcare. I am don't worry too much about my job because I have absolute faith that God is great and everything is going to be ok. My 2009 resolution is to spend 30% of what I spent in 2008 on my hobby.
    I pray for all those folks who lost their job and are hurting financially.

  13. You have good insight on this thing. We have to hold on to Jehovah Jirah!

  14. Totally with you on this one.
    My DH (Roger of the recent work-stress-induced heart attacks) has been experiencing lay-offs about one week every 2 months. Big hit to the budget.

    We do not have kids, so keeping the thermostat set at 56 degrees 24/7 (we live near Buffalo, NY), has been challenging, but doable..and saving us a ton of money.

    Yes, some people are cutting back on Custom Made clothes..and as many of you know...sewing custom shirts is a big part of my income.
    Many of my customers/clients were IT guys and Financial sector guys. Orders from this segment of my clients has dropped by 75%. Thank-goodness the Pro Sports guys and Musicians are still ordering......

    My Mantra these days? "Mac and Cheese is not really that bad...Mac and Cheese is not really that bad....."

  15. A few years ago my sister's company was already feeling the pinch and they announced that people had a choice... they could take a much lower type of position in a farther off branch or a layoff... both hopefully temporary, but no guarantees. My sister chose to drive an hour further and do... janitorial work. Yep, your response to your Mom was right on... my sister chose janitor over unemployed.
    She was lucky then, it was temporary. But she's still low on the totem pole and it could happen again any time.

  16. It is daunting situation. The layoffs in my area are high as well and is impacting many areas. I am feeling the pinch as my husband is in the construction business and has been lucky to work four days a week, down from five. Coupled with cold weather and some weeks fall very short. We will survive but we are being very frugal.

  17. Wonderful dialoguing. I pray that God gives us all sustaining power in this time of a challenged economy.

  18. I firmly believe that God will provide. He did for me. Sometimes we just have to re-assess what we want Him to provide (and put our pride aside). I finished grad school In May and almost lost my house because I wasn't making enough money. I went back to being a secretary. And I have done janitorial work - and would do it again if it meant I had a roof over my head and food!

    Hang in there, everybody.

  19. Trust and faith. The Most High has always and will continue to take care of us. And you and I, and just about everyone who visits these blogs have a talent and/or skill we can fall back on. I always tell my son, no matter what happens, as long as I can sew, we will always eat. It may not bring in what we're used to, but you'd be amazed how little you can actually live on. I found out several years ago when the company I worked for went bankrupt. I also was in the process of looking for another place to live. No job, almost no roof over my head, a 17 yr old car and a child. That's where trust and faith comes in. When things look the bleakest. It turned out to be one of the best years of my life.

  20. What a beautifully written post.
    You're absolutely right, we all need to think about alternatives in the worst case. I want to say that I think many of us who've been through the divorce and single-mom route have resources in coping that possibly some others don't.
    Here's hoping you're able to retain your income from your current livelihood.



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