Monday, March 21, 2011


Imagine if you were skilled at building a very specific device called a widget. You went to school for 10 years and apprenticed for another 3 years to be one of the few people in the world with the requisite skills to keep them coming off the production line. As long as the economy is doing reasonably well, people put a high value in widget production. Not that anyone really owns a widget or needs a widget to get by in their day-to-day lives, but folks believe that it's a feather in America's cap that it can lay claim to producing the best widgets. However, when the economy hits the skids, folks begin to see widget production as something that we might cut back on. Heck, you can't eat national pride.

It turns out for the few folks skilled in widget production, they earn a fairly nice living. They can afford a nice house and a nice car, they can provide for the necessities of their family, and have sufficient money to afford some nice things and to give back something to their church and their community. Like many households, these folks live a lifestyle that spends the majority of each month's paycheck and apart from contributions to their retirement account, they only have enough money in the bank to support themselves for a few months once the tap on widget production is closed.

Like anyone who has been building widgets for a long time, they really don't have the skills or the passion to do anything else. After all, folks do not pursue a career building widgets willy-nilly or by chance. They enter into this field because they felt a strong pull. This calling was so strong that it drowned everything else out. Now here they are and they have given their lives to something that the public won't support and they have no idea what else to do. Meanwhile, the postman keeps delivering those bills that they had never worried about before ...