Monday, March 9, 2009

How low can we go?

The stock market shrinks again and again. When it went below 6500 I was pretty amazed. How does this affect people? Or specific to my situation: how does this affect engineers who are about to graduate from college with 45k in loans? 

Well, first of all, my second interview of the year resulted in an email that said something to the tune of bad economy + short budget + Washington D.C. = me not getting hired. The best part is that I had the interview a scant two weeks ago and they said at the time that the economy had no effect yet on their government contractor business. Well the Dow's down another 1000 points since then so I guess that we've crossed some sort of magical barrier where the government doesn't hire people. It was expected many of the companies that I have been looking at for months or years have put holds on hiring. Others have laid off people. Although many of the super companies like Boeing, lay off thousands and in the same day keep hiring. I know because I still probably get one new job notification every other day from them. 

The benefits: 
  1. It's a great time to be in school for a few years. As long as you have some signed scholarship or stipend or something you are doing well.  
  2. Gas is cheap. Even I can pay 1.87 a gallon. 
  3. It forces people to think differently. We can't sit back and relax and get by. For example I was getting nowhere in my job search for a few months then I read an article on how to market your resume so that it was different. I went and changed my "Objective" line to "Me in One Sentence" then I wrote a sentence about me. Within two weeks I had a call from a guy who had found my resume in the company database and he called me even though I had not applied to work in NY state or for his division. 
  4. It's a great time to start a company. Those AIG commercials about starting in 1931 go to show that huge things come out of bad times. Ford started the Model T in 1907-1908 which wasn't exactly a great time. Before then I believe he tried to make expensive cars. If you can find the money to get started and last two years things will probably be a lot better so you can sell out and make lots of money. Plus there are all sorts of unemployed workers and equipment from the car companies if you want to manufacture anything. So it is a cheap time to get started.
  5. It's a great time to buy stock. "Buy low, sell high" Well that entails buying when everyone else is selling and selling when everyone else is buying. I think that if the dow goes below 5000 I'm going to start investing money I really shouldn't invest because when it goes up to 15,000 in three years I'll make a killing. Well I guess that tripling 1000 dollars isn't really a killing...
  6. It's a good time to be a bum. Gas is cheap. You don't have to worry about the mortgage market. 
  7. It's a good time to travel. I can't say that plane tickets are cheaper or food and lodging will be cheaper but people that work at tourist attractions are going to be more excited to see you this summer rather than previous years because so many people are not going to vacation this year. You will probably get to have tourist attractions to yourself.

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