I’m scared – what can I do?
I’m seriously scared. I’ve watched the Crash Course and at first I was very very angry at Chris for not only publishing this all but also earning from it through paid subscriptions. But I did my homework, checked here and there, and most of the image painted in the Crash Course is true. Now I’m really scared.
Now the only positive idea here seems to be to move to the countryside and start growing your own food and harvesting your own energy. I don’t feel I’m able to do this.
I live in a city.I don’t own a piece of arable land. I’m an IT project manager, previously I was a programmer. I don’t know anything about agriculture – in fact no one in my family was a farmer for the last 5 generations or so (earlier records don’t exist). I not only don’t like the idea of giving up all I know and I’m good at for something that I can associate only with poverty – I just don’t see how would I even go about it. All my knowledge, experience and intellect are worth anything only as long as there is IT. "Out there" they are all worthless and I’m not very good at physical labor – never was. On the other hand I can’t refute high possibility that those who won’t be high enough in society or independent might simply perish.
So, what can I do? How can I protect my family? I ask this question over and over again, just like suggested in the course, but I don’t have any real ideas what I could do. In fact I feel it might be already too late – I wish I was more interested in all of this three-four years later, but I was too busy working and getting my life together after a failed marriage etc. Now that I finally did it the world seems to be just failing apart. Sometimes I wish I remained ignorant – at least I would be able to sleep well at night.
Any real ideas from people who were in similar position?
(sorry for being this personal, but really I have no one to ask)
There is one solution to this; it will never happen: Take back the wealth and put it back into circulation.
Even that would not stop what’s about to happen in America.
This whole problem is result of the concentration of wealth in the hands of the few; that kind of money is less than useless, it’s dangerous–as has been proven.
Sorry for your state of anxiety. At least you are addressing the issues. That is good. There are many here to help you more knowledgeable and eloqouent than I. However, I would say these things.
Don’t diminish the importance of providing for your own sustenance by associating it with poverty. It is a source of pride for me to be independent of some of the "systems" we take for granted.
Try not to be overwhelmed (I am, as well, some days). Learn and then prioritize your plan of action. If you feel it necessary, take dramatic action – moving, career change, etc. If you were smart enough to learn your IT skills, you can learn skills necessary to take whatever action you deem necessary. Any level of preparedness you attain will alleviate some of your anxiety.
Seek out like minded people in your area. I know that may be difficult. Trust me, we are all accustomed to the typical responses you will receive when sharing your concerns.
You say you are not very good at physical labor. Is that by choice or physical limitation? What level of physical labor?
For me, it is never "too late".
Part of the problems we face as a nation is those of people who are extremely specialized in their field. That type of specialization, obviously, has it’s good and bad points. But, even in a world of trade and barter we would still be specialized–and that’s a good thing as long as their is demand for it. For example if there was a cobbler and for some reason the need for shoes disappeared then the cobbler would need to find something else to earn. Luckily, the "end of shoes" scenario doesn’t generally happen overnight. There are usually indications pointing to the demise of someone’s job.
Your job right now is to calculate the probability of, exactly, what might happen and to find out what your options are.
For example you might look at your finances, esp. if you feel your employment will be severed, and draw up possible scenarios. If this happens, and I’ve been doing this, then I will do this… Draw out several different things that could happen. Start from the least to the most severe (like losing your home–in the worst case scenario).
During this time you might want read up a little more. Reading this website and books takes up a lot of time. This will aslo require that you sacrifice other hobbies (maybe watching tv or etc.) to understand "how" to do something. Learning how to garden isn’t something you know, intrinsically. Learning how to garden, or do almost anything, requires research and learning. Sometimes it’s easier to learn from others, rather than a book, how to do ‘x’. I’ve met up with friends to find tons of information on gardening, composting, and etc. BUT, I still have my part-time day job and I learn a little bit more every day.
Just start on what you’d really like to know about or what interests you. You may want to find out more info about history (reading) or learn about current (financial)events (NY-Times, WallStreetJournal, Mish’s, FinancialTimes, etc.) You can get so many recommendations from people on Chris’ site. You’re not going to find out everyone in one day. In your free time, first draw up possible scenarios that might happen (with your job). Then if you’re interested in what you can do, to better the future, is up.
I don’t think IT will go away, completely during or after the recession/depression. In fact, one of Obama’s main concern is improving IT in the medical field (you might want to follow some of his ideas on his website). Necessary (as in improvement for society at large) IT is in high demand but a lot of technology is just a waste of time/resources that will not do anything to improve that chaotic mess we’re in. There is so much technology needed and unfortunately much of it will be hung up in Washington; but like I said Obama might make some progress in eliminating waste and making things more efficient.
MarkM: thanks for your answer!
To answer first some of the questions: I’m not disabled or anything, I’m just not very resistant to stuff like cold (get sick pretty easy) and not very strong physically – that’s the way I’m built.
Seeking likely minded people… hm… you see, it is not that easy. First, most believe things will ease out somehow. Plus there is lots of hope in the air that maybe we’ll be somehow magically spared and just US will be hit hard by the crisis (which I think is pure BS, if a strong, huge country will be hit hard, then 32rd by population, developing economy is likely to be hit even harder if a bit later). But most importantly – I own a business (a software company), I can’t be seen panicking or packing or doing anything like it, because well… people that work for me would freak out.
In my position, as I’ve mentioned, I see little I could do. To move I’d have to sell my business that is still doing quite well. Let’s suppose I find someone with enough faith that everything will turn out ok to buy it. What would I do? Move? Now – where to move? What do there? Does it even make any sense? What if somehow it will work out without war and famine and the world will just roll ahead?
I feel like we’re doomed if we stay – but our lives will be shattered if we move. I think that boils it down pretty well – there are no good exits from where we find ourselves now. Not for us at least, middle-class people, with relatively little savings but (luckily!) no debt. Very rich will probably manage to weather this storm all right. So will thugs and others who will be able to get by force what they will need.
BTW – what did you do? You say you’re now quite independent and it is a source of pride for you. Share – what did you achieve?
Maybe you should share the crash course with your employees.
Not only would that generate interest, but it’d educate them to the challenges being face, and could improve morale.
Humans are social animals, afterall.
Buy a Pistol, Rifle and several hundred rounds for each.
Then take a class. If you can’t defend yourself, no other skills will matter. At all. Others might disagree with me, but I’ve seen the dredges of society, and they’ll think nothing of leaving you bleeding in a gutter and making off with your food supplies.
Don’t move if you don’t have to. Put that on the back burner. Think about what you can do immediately. Think about what you will do immediately if we were to have an "Argentina" style collapse.
Start small, and grow. Get planter boxes in your windows.
I know a guy who has less than a quarter acre, and he pulls so much food off it that it’s absolutely astounding.
Get the experience now, collect rainwater and graywater in 55gal drums, and use them to irrigate whatever land you have.
Get seeds planted now! The learning curve is steep.
Take your extra money and put it towards extra food, water and medical supplies.
Go every other day to the gym. Swim, and do body weight resistance exercises.
Pushups, sit-ups, pullups and running. If you can’t – don’t give up. Set goals for yourself, and continually improve. "Not physically strong" is a transitory state between weak and progress.
Make progress, not excuses!
When the cards fall, anxiety and panic won’t do you any good. Be calm, you’ve got the upper hand.
Must people still believe Brit Hume that things are fine and will get better.
Be mentally prepared. Think about dying and calamity until it doesn’t scare you anymore. Become comfortable with your own mortality, and use it to strengthen your resolve.
And finally – never waste a second. Read, stay fit, and continually improve.
What country are you in? Size of city?
You can find like minded people close to you. You don’t have to scare those at work to find out if they are on the same page. I look at "emergency preparedness" as encompassing many eventualities, not just a possible economic disaster.
Like you, I am a business owner. My employees have a little knowledge about my concern for the future. They just think I am little "crazy". They do use the line, "We’ll just come to your house." To which I reply, "You’d better keep your head down." Because of my employer status I am staying in place, a suburb of the D/FW Texas area. I feel a need to keep my employees employed and I don’t want to leave my business of 26 years…yet. True, if things were to really get bad it might be too late to leave.
I have a couple of acres with a well, a large pond and a large area for gardening. It has been a long time since I gardened, but I have started on this years and I still enjoy the endeavor. What else have I done? I have been building a store of food for about 8 months now. My wife thinks I am a little crazy, like my employees do. However, she won’t have to keep her head down when approaching the house. I think I could get by for about 4 months without having to leave the house. I am far from being systems independent. However, I am a lot more prepared than I was a year ago and I have more peace because of it. I am a strong supporter of the Constitution including the Second Amendment. Therefore, I have made provisions in that area as well.
You have no debt? Relish the freedom of that situation. I, too, am debt free and it is a liberating feeling.
You are EXACTLY where I was 2 years ago. I too own my business in the IT field, and was knocked off my feet when I came to the realizations you are now undergoing. Fear is a normal part of the process, and there are a number of discussions on the board here about the 6 stages. The good news is that even though you feel like a deer in the headlights, you now have the ability to think things through and prepare yourself.
I started with making biodiesel from waste vegetable oil to run in my truck 2 years ago. At the time, diesel was nearing $5.00 / gallon and my employees became intrigued with what I was doing, and some even began to participate. I then purchased an 86 acre plot that I initially called the hunting lodge. It has since been renamed the farm, but it is a place we initially used for recreation more than doom and gloom preparations. I still to this day have my primary residence, my company, employees, kids in the same school, etc but I am spending more and more time as I can at the farm, "getting ready". Depending on your financial situation, a plot of land separate from your primary dwelling may be an option for you too. Best of both worlds if you can swing it.
Some of the preparations I have made are related to energy, i.e. solar, wind, biodiesel backup generator, etc. These things are very difficult to implement in the subdivision arrangement, so all of this is at the farm. This year I am growing Canola (for the first time, and I have no idea what I am doing either, but I’ll figure it out!) so I can replace the waste vegetable oil as my feedstock in making biodiesel and become more energy self reliant.
Other preparations have to do with food and shelter. Buying in bulk at Costco and learning how to prepare foods that don’t come in a box or go into the microwave was a big deal for us with 2 boys who live to snack. We are working to obtain and maintain a rolling 18 months worth of food. Shelter is broken down in my mind to the obvious roof over your head, which I assume you have, the ability to bring in and get rid of water, the ability to heat and cool. Making yourself as self reliant in these areas is important, and may not be overly taxing depending on your situation. For example, do you have a wood burning stove, or a good place to put one?
A more simple and direct preparation that you could make today that might set your mind at ease a bit would be to buy some gold. I won’t go on as to all the whys here because it is all over the site and posted by folks far smarter economically than I (we are IT guys after all) but it is a weight off the shoulders to know you will not loose everything you have in the bank if the worst case scenario was to happen tomorrow (it won’t, you still have time!).
As far as the job and employees, I have slowly eased them through what I am doing, and answered questions the way I think Chris would, without blaming or trying to scare folks, just giving truthful answers with a ray of hope at the end. Generally, folks here "get it" and I feel much better having played a part in their ongoing safety. This week, one of my guys sold a Ford Mustang he had completely restored (beautiful car!) and he asked me what to do with the money. He wants to buy a house, but knew something was wrong with that decision in his gut. Instead, he took 1/4 and bought gold, 1/4 and converted it to cash, and the other 1/2 went to get out of debt. Smart kid whose actions would have been different if I had kept my understanding of the crash course to myself.
This site is an awesome resource for you to pick through and see what is best for your situation. All I can say to you is that you are not alone, and I had never farmed, sat on a tractor, split wood, distilled, made my own fuel, composted, etc. etc. etc. either, but I do now and even though I am not the most physical guy either, I tend to see these things as a labor of love because I am providing a safe haven for the most important people in my little world.
I wish you the best over the next few months. Looking back at my first 2 months, they were definitely the most exciting! Take some time to think things through and prepare yourself to the best of your abilities whether you stay home or move, and you will hopefully feel a sense of calm over you as I have.
This is asking a lot – but would you mind doing a thread on making bio-diesel?
Maybe go over some of the processes, equipment and lessons learned?
Yup, I love to talk about that stuff. On the small scale when self reliance is the goal, it makes far more sense than the crash course would have you believe. It compares biodiesel to oil as a replacement for the entire US, and it isn’t overly favorable in that sense. One the small scale, however, it’s just the thing!
I’ll put something together tonight when I have a little more time.