He first lost it when in 2000 – 2001 when President Bush gave corporations all the tax breaks to go overseas. My brother is a robotics engineer with decades of experience, but he and everyone else found themselves only able to get work at entry level jobs for years. When he visited me and heard people complaining we have too many foreigners at the coffee places, gas stations etc., he said that in his area — outside of Redmond, WA — it’s all thrown out IT people. HP people get your coffee at Starbucks. Microsoft engineers pump your gas and so on.
Last year, he finally got a good job working with his robotics lines again. Places that have been using what he and the others built, need maintenance and training on these lines. A company hired them to provide those services. But in December-January, the company announced that sadly, the economy has gotten so bad, they had to lay off people.
He’s scared to death. Thousands of people are competing for no jobs, he’s older now — but too young to retire — with no income or benefits. His savings have been wiped out by the previous 8 years. Unemployment won’t even see him until the end of March.
On the other hand, our company’s owner has encouraged us not to give into this kind of fear, which made a lot of scared souls feel a lot better . He told us that the economy’s situation isn’t the crisis that we think it is. It’s the media — newspapers, radio, TV — creating that panic when it doesn’t exist because fear gives them what they want. There are problems, of course, but not the gas crisis, unemployment, economic panic that they say. It’s a correction, a half full glass time, when the only places laying off or closing are the ones who shouldn’t be in business anyway — companies trying to horn in on the industries like ours — or places that are poorly managed. If you’re someone who owns a company going under and you’re not poorly managed or horning in, someone like our boss, then you have to look at your employees for the blame — they’ve takend advantage of you, maybe even held you over a barrel to get what they wanted — and see if you can get rid of that problem.
I didn’t tell my brother any of this, that his fears are media created and his company isn’t really affected by the economy, just an industry correcting itself, because I don’t think it would have helped. I wish I knew what I could have said that would have helped.