April 24, 2009
Thumbing your nose at the recession and jet-setting anyway
Speaking of vacations, I was surprised by this recent article Salon ran on taking a "last hurrah" vacation. What's a last hurrah vacation, you ask? According to writer Robert Lanham, it's sneaking off on a pricy trip you can't afford before hunkering down for the long penny-pinching recessionary haul.
(Warning to those reading this from work or easily offended by adult language: Lanham drops more than a few f-bombs in his article.)
Despite the imminent layoffs and dwindling savings in Lanham's world, he and the people he interviewed for his article felt compelled to drop thousands of dollars or run up their credit cards one last time, all in the name of needing to get far, far away, preferably to a tropical setting with an abundance of umbrella-garnished cocktails.
As Lanham writes, "There'd be plenty of time for boiling raccoon bones into soup broth, I rationalized, should a full-fledged depression hit, but for now I was going to enjoy my drink and watch the azure waves crest into gold. I was on a beach in the lovely town of Tulum, Mexico. And I was relaxed."
A few thoughts come to mind: Obviously these people are just now catching wind of the financial hardships much of the country has been dealing with for months on end. They don't know anyone who's put any big purchases, home repairs, or health procedures on hold, let alone anyone who's lost their job. They haven't begun growing their own food, selling off their personal belongings on eBay, or applying for minimum-wage jobs. More important, they haven't given an iota of rational thought to what they will do if they suddenly find their income dead and gone.
Call me a killjoy, but whatever happened to taking a road trip or vacationing in your backyard until better financial times? I fail to see the sense in racking up more debt at a time like this, unless you have no choice -- say, if you're chronically ill and can't afford the health care bills.
Readers, what do you think? When you've gotta go (relax), you've gotta go far, far away, no matter what the financial damage? Or is this the very mentality that got us into this economic fix in the first place?
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.
Kristen Fife is a senior recruiter, career mentor, blogger and resume consultant based in the Seattle area.
Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.
Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.
Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.
Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.
Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."
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