Why I'm Responsible for the Current Recession


September 17, 2001  (Bismarck, North Dakota)

I'm normally a pretty avid news junkie, but I've been mostly out of touch with current events ever since I left on this trip in June.  As I've recently discovered, though, it sounds like the U.S. economy is starting to sputter and some are saying that we're going into a recession if we're not already there.


As Britney Spears once said, "Oops, I did it again."  This is all my fault and I take full responsibility, because it seems that every time I quit my job, the nation's economy goes into a tailspin.  The last time I quit my job was in April of 1990 when I lived in Eugene, Oregon and worked as a peon planner for the Lane Council of Governments (L-COG) making the princely sum of $6.96 an hour.  I figured that since the national economy was stronger than it had been in decades, it would be easy to find a better-paying and more interesting job in Portland than in Eugene, so I left.


Unfortunately though, a few months after I quit my dreary job at L-COG, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, which sent gas prices skyrocketing and drove the U.S. economy into the grave.  That happened on August 2, 1990, which was the day after I signed a long-term lease on an apartment in Portland, having recently moved there as an unemployed former-peon-planner from Eugene who was looking for a job, and hopefully one that paid more than $6.96 an hour.  Great timing, huh?  Actually, many economists said that the economy had started to sputter the previous spring, right about the time I quit my job in Eugene.


In any event, it took me eight months of living in a very cold apartment in Portland to find a job.  Finally, in March of 1991 and after going through several interviews for depressing jobs and a few interviews for interesting jobs (including Parsons Brinckerhoff), and as my bank account was very close to becoming totally depleted, I got a call back from PB saying they wanted to hire me.  Immediately after I hung up the phone, I walked over to my apartment's thermostat and turned it up all the way, then shed the three sweaters I'd been wearing true story.  Interestingly, economists later said that our country's recession ended that same month.  So I quit in April of 1990, right before the recession began and got rehired in March of 1991, right before the recession ended.  Spooky, huh?


And now I did it again, having quit (well, sort of quit) my job in Portland with Parsons Brinckerhoff in the spring of 2001 when the nation's economy was very robust.  Once again, though, the economy has started to go into a tailspin.  I'd like to think that the nation's economy just can't get along without me very well, but I'm not that arrogant.  You should hope, though, that I don't quit another job for a while.