Bad economy isn?t without benefits

By Emily Rodriguez-Vargas

Dow points are falling. Investors are scrambling. Banks are going down. You all know about it. Newspapers, magazines, radio stations, television newscasts and blogs seem to be talking about this every day, every hour, every minute.

The constant complaining about our poor economy has finally put me over the edge. Although the numbers can’t be ignored, and it is a difficult time for many individuals and families in our area and throughout the country, sometimes too much is too much. It’s advisable to be informed about the situation, but not to let it pull you down and steal your hope for the future.

The media, if you haven’t noticed yet, have the tendency to bring out the worst fear-provoking stories and make it seem as if we’re next in becoming unemployed and broke. Most college students have hit rock-bottom more than once before, and have still made it through somehow.

In the history of the United States, there have been many various financial crises, and past generations survived them despite having fewer resources at their disposal.
Although this may be one of the more intense economic downturns, we are so much better equipped to deal with our situation. Even in the downturn, many, if not most of us, have luxuries that make life comfortable8212;cell phones, Internet access, laptops, cars and more.

But being at the U provides access to our greatest assets: knowledge and the ability to earn a degree.

If it means cutting back because of the impact this has on us, so be it. At least we have food somewhere in our cupboards and a place to live. Even with this crisis, there are great opportunities.

In this bad economy, we get to improve our skills to become more marketable and competitive in the job market after graduation. The pressure to be more productive and polish our skills while still in college can help us to stand out when applying for jobs later.

People are no longer spending like there’s no tomorrow. Rather, we ask, “Do I really need this?” and we live on a more conservative budget. A survey by Dan Jones & Associates showed that 51 percent of Utahns are cutting down their spending budgets this year, specifically for Christmas spending. Thinking about all of the things you do have, instead of the expensive have-nots, is a good thing. Adjusting to the new situation, businesses are getting more creative in their sales and are customizing to meet the needs of low-budget shoppers. According to, the cost of filling up your car in the Salt Lake City area has been cut in half compared to last summer.

Necessity creates innovation. In a March 16 press release, Roy Rosin, vice president of innovation at Intuit, said, “Small businesses instinctively use innovation to create new products and services, efficiently manage their business or find and acquire customers. These innovations are the keys to their future.”

Many turn to entrepreneurship and self-employment in times like these, eliminating the fear of a layoff. According to the 2007 Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity in the United States, 0.3 percent of adults started their own business on average per month. For new businesses, that’s around 495,000 each month.

On “Larry King Live” on April 15, Donald Trump said, “They’re great times, as an entrepreneur. I don’t think I’ve ever seen better times as an entrepreneur. But the world is a mess, and the country is a mess.This is a time for entrepreneurial people.”

Complaining about “this bad economy” is only wasting your time. Before you fall into a pit of self-pity about the lack of a thriving economy when you enter the job market, try taking a more optimistic perspective about the situation and look at the big picture. It might take a little more energy, but the people who use this time to their advantage are the ones who are going to be ahead of the game in the long run.

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Emily Rodriguez-Vargas