March 19, 2009

Recession forces Change

The current economic climate is forcing people to take a long hard look at their lives. Unemployment, foreclosures and losses of savings and pensions mean that many people have to change their behavior and lifestyles to acclimatize to this new world order.

A recent story on CNN profiled Ernie Casillas, a former investment banker who has had to face the harsh reality of unemployment. Since losing his high paying job, his upscale lifestyle vanished overnight, forcing him to post a ‘job wanted’ ad on Craigslist. CNN reports:

Casillas said he teared up when he first began typing the message -- that his life had come unraveled so hard and so fast. But ultimately, he said, he decided, "I'm just going to put it out there. I'm not going to be embarrassed. I'm just going to tell the whole world: I'm unemployed, and I need a job today. And the response was great."’

This situation is becoming more and more commonplace where people who were once high rollers now have to seek out a simpler lifestyle to get by. Many of these people are also looking to give back and produce something good out of their situation. Law firms are offering new options for lawyers they are looking to lay off – many are offering them opportunities in the public law sector while paying them a lower salary. According to a report on CNN:

‘"There is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity coming out of a difficult situation," said Esther Lardent, president of the Pro Bono Institute in Washington D.C., who began discussions this month with at least 15 corporate firms nationwide about placing unemployed attorneys in public interest firms. The project will get under way in a few months, she said.’

While the economic climate is challenging many, it seems there can be good to come out of it, whether it is through self reflection or giving back to the community. It may end up paying some to seek a silver lining.

This post was written by Katherine Osgood, Director of International Programs at United Planet. Katherine has her own blog focusing on women’s rights issues and is a volunteer blogger with Literacy ‘n’ Poverty Project.

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