Hey, Look On The Bright Side!

Anyone had enough bad news lately about the economy? Layoffs, the stock market diving, bailouts, government debt, the housing crisis — all of it can add up to some pretty somber feelings. And the fact that it’s been going on for awhile now can drag anyone down. We’re not going totally Pollyanna on you, but we do share the sentiments of the Wall Street Journal that maybe we should stop complaining and be a bit thankful. Turns out that doing so could put you in the middle of a growing trend:

There may be a positive byproduct of our troubled times: a decrease in the urge to complain. People who still have jobs are finding reasons to be appreciative. (It feels unseemly to complain about not getting a raise when your neighbor is unemployed.) Homeowners are unhappy that home values have fallen, but it’s a relief to avoid foreclosure. And yes, our portfolios have plummeted, but most of us can say that at least we didn’t invest with Bernie Madoff.

Ok, so maybe you’re having trouble seeing any sort of silver lining in the current economy. Perhaps these two thoughts will spur a bit of gratitude:

* Maybe whatever bad news you’re dealing with is actually a blessing in disguise. You wouldn’t be the first person to start an ultimately successful career, business, investment, etc. in times of despair.
* You don’t have a job that stinks — at least as much as these jobs do. After all, can your crappy job really be much worse than being an animal semen collector, an odor judge, or a lift-pump remover? We think not.

So consider this our attempt at looking on the bright side of things. That’s what we’re going to do. At least until the next economic report comes out…

From Attitude to Gratitude: This Is No Time for Complaints [Wall Street Journal]

FREE MONEY FINANCE (Photo: TeaWhyEllieAre)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Radi0logy says:

    Sir, we found your teeth in wal-mart

  2. innout3x3 says:

    @Radi0logy: you beat me to that plug =)

    I am thankful for my job.

  3. Starfury says:

    Just watch some Dirty Jobs reruns and you’ll see plenty of jobs that stink….but the people that do those jobs seem to generally be happy with their work.

    • MrBlastotron says:

      @Starfury: +1 Mike Rowe reference. *hands over one internets*

    • gStein_*|bringing starpipe back|* says:

      @Starfury: but how much do those people make? (i don’t watch the show, but one way to convince people to do shitty jobs is to pay them well)
      @MrBlastotron: Mike Rowe… is that the guy who started a software company?

      • m4ximusprim3 says:

        @Gstein: Usually, about what office jobs pay, if not less.

        But, they’re doing a hard day’s work, accomplishing something tangible. We should all be so lucky.

  4. hi says:

    I’m so thankfull that our countrys stealing money from the poor and giving it all to the rich! I love the fact that they are purposely fueling the failing economy so that they can create their one world government and create their one world bank that controls their new currency.

    • emona says:

      @hi: Then boy are you in for a biiig disappointment…

    • U-235 says:

      @hi: …
      You’re joking right?

    • B says:

      @hi: I’m thankful for crazy people posting their economy-related conspiracy theories on the internet, cause they’re so entertaining.

      • thesadtomato says:

        @B: I don’t mean to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but keeping everyone else poor, fearful, and worried about the future is a pretty good strategy for the 10% of people who own 90% of the wealth in America.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          @thesadtomato: But it’s a pretty legitimate concern, so there isn’t really too much of a conspiracy. People really are getting laid off, it’s happening. People really did lose their homes.

      • Stream Of Consciousness says:

        @B: Well, it is feasible.

      • Trai_Dep says:

        @B: I guess with the price of gas being what it is, Black Helicopters no longer make the Top Three of what the tinfoil hat brigade is worried about…

      • Landru says:

        @B: Hey, it was those “economy-related conspiracy theories” that made me take my retirement fund out of the stock market a year ago January. I lost very little. Keep ’em coming!

    • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

      @hi: On the bright side, I voted for Kodos.

  5. emona says:

    I’ve never been much of a whiner, but now there’s an extra layer of guilt every time I open my well-fed, happily employed mouth to complain.

    Being optimistic does help in most situations. My mother always said that nothing ever got done by griping about it, or maybe it was something about flies and vinegar.

  6. serracloud says:

    I don’t know about you, but this recession is treating me pretty good. The house I’m in is in the process for foreclosure so I’ve been living for close to a year rent/mortgage free. I’ve cut back on wasteful spending, stashed a ton of money in my savings, and started walking to the bus stop to get places, losing 5 pounds in the process. My job still sucks, but it’s good to have one (especially nowadays) and it’s something that we should not take for granted during the boom times.

    • Stream Of Consciousness says:

      @serracloud: Way to see the silver lining. :)

    • Cat_In_A_Hat says:

      @serracloud: Since when did foreclosing on a house become a good thing? you do know how this whole mess began, right? I’m sure your bank is happy about providing you with free rent for a year.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        @Cat_In_A_Hat: Apparently sierracloud meant that the house he/she is renting is a great thing because there isn’t any rent involved now (how do you stop paying rent just because the house is in foreclosure?)…but it’s totally bad that someone lost their home to begin with, I agree.

      • serracloud says:

        @Cat_In_A_Hat: The whole point was to look at the bright side of a bad thing, and that’s what I’m doing. Furthermore, I couldn’t give a flying hoot about the how the banks feel, they shouldn’t have been so irresponsible in their lending practices in the first place.

  7. penuspenuspenus says:

    Feel good Wednesday. I needed this today. :)

  8. Gann says:

    *Investing in a down economy gives you more for your dollar. This also applies to buying a house.

  9. PunditGuy says:

    It doesn’t surprise me for one second that the Wall Street Journal would tell workers to essentially shut up and be happy. They’ve been doing that for years. How incredibly awesome for them — if we complain about the fallout from the mess, the people who created the mess can point to it and tell us how much worse things could be for us. Sounds vaguely like extortion. “Nice little setup you have here during this recession. It would be a shame if something bad were to happen to it.”

  10. Trai_Dep says:

    It could be worse. We could be living in caves, trading with oyster shells and wearing animal skin loinclothes (baby seal if you’re from Alaska).
    Although, The GOP is trying, damn it. They’re TRYING!

  11. GuinevereRucker says:

    We are a materialistic society who has forgotten things that really matter in our quest for more stuff, more money, and more power. I welcome a recession if only to force people to think differently.

    I don’t wish trouble on anyone, but sometimes it’s in the times of hardship and disaster that we come together and focus on what’s really important. In times of war heroes are born; in times of persecution martyrs are raised up; in times of disaster there are great acts of generosity.

    Being thankful for what we do have is a great first step in this direction, and I expect that there will be other benefits along the way!

  12. MyPetFly says:

    I can’t say I’m happy, in fact, just the opposite. However, I do have food, shelter, transportation, medical care and opportunities, which is a lot more than the vast majority of people in the world can say.

    That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t but the balls off of Bernie Madoff and his type.

  13. quizmasterchris says:

    Anything the Wall Street Journal has to say to the average American is not only safe to ignore, but dangerous to heed.

    We’re the only industrialized country in the world where your family can go bankrupt from a trip to the hospital, we’re the only one with ZERO mandated paid vacation, we have 2 million people in prison, 2+ wars, a massive debt, growing unemployment, terrible union organization rights, the wealth distribution of Brazil, the infant and maternal mortality rates of a Third World country, and these asshats want us to be THANKFUL?!

    Wall St should be thankful that firing squads haven’t been formed yet.

    • oneandone says:

      @quizmasterchris: I am torn between wanting to dive under my desk to hide or jump up and cheer. I think I agree with you. That kind of perspective is frightening, but bracing and probably neccessary.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @quizmasterchris: Well you could be like some other countries in which you can’t go bankrupt from a hospital visit because there is no decent or accessible health care, and you have no money to begin with.

    • HooFoot says:

      @quizmasterchris: This post reminds me of my old coworkers. We worked in a boring, but safe office environment. The pay was average, the health insurance was great, and the job itself was pretty “recession-proof”. Yet my coworkers still found reason to complain every day and make it seem like the worst job in the world. It used to royally piss me off at how ungrateful and unappreciative they were for what they have. I’m not suggesting that they never complain, but I wish they would understand before they ran their mouths that there are hundreds of millions of people in the world who would gladly trade places for a chance to have a steady paycheck and a safe work environment.

      Your post reminds me of the same “OMG PITY US BECAUSE WE’RE SUCH VICTIMS” mentality. Yes, there are problems in this country that we shouldn’t ignore or marginalize, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take a moment to recognize and appreciate the good things we have. I am grateful that we have the opportunity to vote out the idiots who caused these problems. I am grateful that we can speak out against the government without fear of violence. I am grateful that being a woman does not prevent me from seeking employment in this country. I am grateful that I have access to a stable electrical grid, stores stocked regularly with affordable food, a working toilet and sewage system, and clean, running water. You should be grateful for these things as well.

  14. Saboth says:

    Yeah, the problem is, you’ve got employers taking advantage of the situation. For instance, where I work, they laid off people, cut their 401k contributions in half, and took other “cost cutting measures” despite the fact they raked in record profits last year and this year we are busier than ever. Making life much more stressful for the rest of us here, as we are getting less benefits, but more work (as we have to pick up the slack for the fired people).

    • MyPetFly says:


      Our hours and pay have been cut by 20%, but the owner is rolling in dough, so I instituted my own productivity cut.

    • orlo says:

      @Saboth: High unemployment=cheap labor. There’s probably someone without a job that’s more qualified than you and willing to do it for less.

  15. lancepeeples says:

    Was the WSJ writer the former senator Phil Gramm who said, not that long ago (July 2008,) that we were just a nation of whiners suffering from a mental recession?

    “You’ve heard of mental depression; this is a mental recession,” he said, noting that growth has held up at about 1 percent despite all the publicity over losing jobs to India, China, illegal immigration, housing and credit problems and record oil prices. “We may have a recession; we haven’t had one yet.”

    “We have sort of become a nation of whiners,” he said. “You just hear this constant whining, complaining about a loss of competitiveness, America in decline” despite a major export boom that is the primary reason that growth continues in the economy, he said.

    “We’ve never been more dominant; we’ve never had more natural advantages than we have today,” he said. “We have benefited greatly” from the globalization of the economy in the last 30 years.”

  16. Jevia says:

    I am thankful my husband and I both have our jobs which appear to be fairly secure. It feels odd to me that I have to be thankful that I got laid off from my last job a little over a year ago, and thus found a better new job before the economy really began to tank.

    I am thankful that my husband and I listened to our inner gut and didn’t buy too much house when we bought two years ago and thus have no problems making our mortgage payments (as long as we keep working).

    I am thankful that this country has democrats in control and feverently hope that they can reverse the policies of the last eight years that got us into this mess, fix things before they break even more, and are able to institute some new policies that bring us up to the level of other industrialized countries with regards to the rights of families, workers and those with lower incomes.

  17. oneandone says:

    I’m thankful that it’s become easier to distinguish between needs & wants, and that status-bearing luxuries are now being recognized as just conspicuous consumption. I’m happy that more and more people seem to agree that a person’s wealth doesn’t determine their worth.

  18. kwsventures says:

    Watch the movie Slum Dog Millionaire. See how others in the world live. Then quit complaining about how horrible everything is in the USA. If you can find a better country to live in, then go. Nobody is stopping you from leaving. We haven’t built a wall to keep you in. Oh, you talk a good game, but have no guts to change your “miserable” existence. Why would you stay in such a horrible country? Are you crazy?

    • orlo says:

      @kwsventures: It’s pretty difficult to emigrate. Most countries are stricter about it than the USA (which isn’t exactly welcoming), and you won’t have much luck unless you can claim citizenship through recent ancestors or somehow line up a job with a corporation willing to do the paperwork, which would require you to be uniquely qualified. Hopefully things will get worse, and Americans will finally be able to seek refugee status.

  19. ElizabethD says:

    I would be happy to be happier (ermm) if it were not for the unfortunate impact of this recession, specifically my spouse’s job loss and two-year inability to find another one, and our escalating cost of living (groceries, tuitions, etc.), on our kids’ ability to get college educations and find jobs. Now I’ve learned that my job (and others where I work) is on the line. Cuts are coming this spring and more next fall. Whoopee! I can’t wait to learn this valuable lesson about what really matters…. like going into foreclosure and losing our house, pulling our kid out of college, etc. All this in a state with the 2nd highest unemployment rate.
    I understand what people are saying in the comments here about appreciating what we do have in this country, but when you’ve lived the middle-class life in the U.S. (home ownership, two cars, college for the kids, no other luxuries like travel in 20 years) all your adult life and are approaching retirement age and suddenly you’re looking at the poverty line because of layoffs and home depreciation, it’s a bit tough to swallow.
    So I’ll stay grumpy and gloomy.

  20. Anonymous says:

    What assholes, the Wall Street Journal. Maybe if they did their job right we wouldn’t have to be all thankful for not being homeless.

    “Jesse Eisinger, a former financial columnist for the Journal and now a senior writer for Portfolio, says the paper, like business journalism generally, clung to outdated formulas. Wall Street coverage tilted toward personality-driven stories, not deconstructing balance sheets or figuring out risks. Stocks were the focus, when the problems were brewing in derivatives. ‘We were following the old model,’ he says.”

    “Increasingly, business coverage has addressed its audience as investors rather than citizens, a subtle but powerful shift in perspective that has led to some curious choices. The Journal, for example, at times seemed to strain to find someone other than Wall Street to blame for the mortgage mess: A December 2007 story announced that borrower fraud ‘goes a long way toward explaining why mortgage defaults and foreclosures are rocking financial institutions,’ though no such evidence exists. Another Journal story last March accused ‘about half’ of foreclosed-upon borrowers of trashing their homes. The source for the ‘half’ bit: a PR firm working for real estate clients”

    Wow! So you guys gave up real reporting, blamed regular folk for the financial crisis, and blatantly repeated PR propaganda? And now you want to give us the heartwarming story of “Shut the fuck up, people.” I think now is the time to complain about the Wall Street Journal.

  21. wildhare says:

    Oh my gosh I was just going to blog about how I am lucky I still have a job and also that I enjoy my job!

  22. runswithscissors says:

    I’m not mad/sad about the economic rough times, but I am mad that almost no one that caused this mess is going to face even the slightest repercussion for their actions.

  23. Pepsistopheles says:

    As a great man once said: “At least I have chicken.”

  24. hi says:

    This site won’t let me reply to people who replied to me so I’m making a new one. Anyways for those doubters google “hillary clinton” and “walter cronkite” (i supply the link below). Watch the 9 minute video where Walter talks about his work with bringing about a one world government and at the end of the video Hillary Clinton comes on video and thanks him for his work to bring about a one world government. It’s not a theory the video is 9 minutes please watch the whole thing:

    + Watch video

  25. quizmasterchris says:

    For some reason, I can’t respond to HooFoot’s response to my post.

    OK, where are the countries where you couldn’t work because you’re female? I can think of maybe two (I’ve lived in the Middle East, I know what I’m talking about here). So you live in one of the 240 or so other countries where women get paid to do work, and for this you’re thankful? Again, for something that shouldn’t be restricted to begin with..?

    Americans are FAR TOO THANKFUL. We get FAR LESS than the workers in EVERY OTHER industrialized country get. We work longer hrs for less money, we get less time with family, we get less (or no) vacation time, have have no right to vacation, we have no real right to organize, we’re saddled with debt, our public transport sucks (actually almost everything beginning with “public” here sucks), we pay crap wages to teachers, police and fire personnel, we lock people up at a world-beating rate, so on down the line.

    People need to be less “thankful” for being handed a crock of crap and less focused on afterlife reward in this country and more focused on getting COMPENSATED for doing WORK here in the current-life.

    I would GLADLY trade jobs with any western European worker; my quality of life would SOAR.