By Rob Severson on November 13, 2011
A few weeks ago I wrote an article titled “IS BEING A VICTIM ADDICTING?
I ran it by some addiction recovery experts on Linkedin and got some interesting responses, most seemed to agree with my point that victimhood can be addicting.
Here is a link to that post: http://robseverson.com/?p=567
I continue to be alarmed by all the people out there who perceive themselves as victims. Sure, some of us are, maybe all of us, but how we choose to respond is our own decision.
Back to my victimhood theory, I think more could help themselves if they weren’t so concerned about what they can’t do, and finding something they could do. Protesting the fact that some are rich and others are not, or unemployed seems to be a waste of time. That has always been the case. The Occupy Wall Street protests seem more like temper tantrums (acting out?) than protests, and while that may help to vent, it won’t solve their problem. Like other addicts, it often seems easier to act out than to do something about our circumstances. I do understand their frustration, not their choice of how to deal with it.
This is the most competitive job market I have seen in the macro level, but in the micro level (my world) I had difficulties getting jobs when I started out too. Being a victim or throwing a tantrum wasn’t going to help me one bit, so I finally took a job I didn’t think I would like as it put bread on the table. Then, by focusing on serving my employer and solving problems for them I eventually was promoted to president of a subsidiary for a national corporation, that from starting at the “real bottom”
Sure, mine is one story, but with some positive thinking I made it work. Attitude is a big part of it!
Some may argue that there are not enough jobs so go around, and they are right. But if we take care of our own business, and compete for what we can get, we may find success where we didn’t think we would find it. Then we may be in a position to help others do the same by networking and sharing our story.
Or, we can throw tantrums and blame everyone who comes in out paths.
Posted in General | Tagged attitude, business finance, careers, financial prosperity, jobs, life priorities, make a living, prosperity, relationships, success, work |
By Rob Severson on October 31, 2011
Most people my vintage believe that social security is not an entitlement, but a return on money we have invested over our working life. I know I want to believe that!
However thinking about it I believe Congress believes it is an entitlement, just like welfare, unemployment compensation, and a host of others. As such, it is in eligible for
cuts just like these programs are in their opinion.
I used to think I had an “account” with social security, IE the money I put in would be matched by my employer (or myself when self employed) and be available for me to draw on when I retired. How naive! It is really comingled with everything else!
The big evidence though is the cutting of the payroll tax that has occurred this year and others. I thought payroll tax was supposed to be deposited in “my account” for future social security checks. Obviously congress (both parties) don’t think that way as both are proponents of this “tax” relief that I thought was an investment.
Some sort of social security similar to the privatization suggestions could remedy this, but are dificult to control and manage, especially for those who don’t understand money or savings and need a nanny.
I think we seniors are open game
Posted in General | Tagged entitlement, finance, prosperity, social injustice, social security, success, survival, taxpayers |
By Rob Severson on October 28, 2011
I have been reading about the mortgage deals Obama is proposing for folks whose home values are less than their mortgage balances. As I understand it, he wants to get lower rate financing for these folks that are current on their mortgages and would like a lower payment on their loans. I don’t understand how this will solve their problem of being underwater on their mortgage unless folks take the freed up cash and make principal payments on their loans to bring down the shortfall. That is the only way the shortfall problem will go away other than home values once again increasing.
If we really want to get rid of the shortfalls, why don’t we offer refinancing at lower rates, but keep the payment the same. The result will be that principal will go down faster and soon the shortfall may be eliminated via repayment and opefully appreciation. Then the home owners’ would be free to sell or move, whatever they want.
A lower payment may make people feel better about their homes investment, but it won’t solve their problem.
I don’t understand why we are so concerned about underwater mortgages anyway, other than making it difficult to move or trade homes. Most of our major expenditures that we finance go down in value much quicker than our debt on them; car, appliances, electronic toys etc all take a hit the day we buy them. I think we have been confused with the house
bubble even as folks made and lost fortunes in the internet bubble. Maybe we should have bailed out all those internet investors too.
Posted in General | Tagged financial prosperity, loans, make a living, money priorities, personal finance, survival, Wells Fargo mortgages |
By Rob Severson on October 27, 2011
About 25 years ago I was interviewing a young woman for a position in auditing for out finance company. We usually hired about 3-5 auditors a year depending upon turnover. This job was our entry level position and we looked for accounting degrees, experience if they had it, and the ability to communicate among other things. This woman’s résumé had two majors listed on it; first was Accounting and a prior one was Park and Recreation League Management. Curious I asked why the two degrees and what the park and rec major was about. I will always remember her answer!
She said park and rec majors got jobs with park systems in cities to manage the programs and parks, but there were very few jobs in the field so she had to go back and get an accounting degree. I asked what people do with park and rec majors and she said as I recall: 70% of them go into teaching in this field! She said she would walk by the park and rec classrooms while back in college studying accounting, and wanted to yell at the students in the classes: “get out, there are no jobs in this field”! She did make me laugh, but also made me wonder how many more majors are out there like that?
In the last few year with college costs high, college debt high, and college grads complaining about no jobs, how many of these people who can’t find work have bizarre majors like that?
And how much did they invest to get them?
When it came time for my kids to go to school I was concerned about what they would study. I was fortunate that they got practical majors in college and got jobs in their fields
of study. Most of my friends have college grad kids who also got jobs fairly soon after graduating, even in this market. They studied in fields that have opportunities for jobs and income, not a bad idea.
Posted in General | Tagged business finance, careers, financial prosperity, prosperity, success, survival, work |
By Rob Severson on October 14, 2011
Remember “Field of Dreams”? Kevin Costner heard a voice telling him to build a ball park in his field to attract ball players. He believed the voice and eventually the old ballplayers came out of the cornfield to play ball!
Great story but life doesn’t seem to work that way for most of us. Even Apple had to market its products before they achieved that status. Now all they need to do is build it!
Most of us need to do more to succeed, or just make a living. One problem I see is education. Education seems to have that “build it” mentality, get your degree and you will do well. Unfortunately that is definitely not true now, and may not have been true for years. Many colleges do a great job of teaching the young how to market themselves, network and find a job. The build it mentality may hold some back as they are taught that they are a cut above the rest and don’t need to accept an entry level job, nor do they understand how to do well in it and work their way up. I haven’t done any statistical research, but do know a bunch of “kids” who did just that; started at the bottom, served their employer well, and are getting raises and promotions. Are they lucky, blessed by parents who taught them to do this, or have they just figured it out? The flip side is; can they be taught to make a living?
I am going to add another page to my blog site, am calling it “SUCCESS STORIES”, wherein I will share stories of people who have found a way to make a living and how they did it. I am not looking for the rich and famous; they are too out of reach for us average people. I am interested in how people get started and what they have achieved so far.
I do think we need to revamp our education system and make it more practical so there is a payback. But that is another matter, we can’t wait for that.
If anyone has a success story to share please email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will consider it for a story on my web page. My goal is to provide ideas that may help
someone get started. If anyone has stories about middles aged folk they would be good too. I believe “average people” have very interesting stories!
I also think there are more opportunities than we read about and here on the news. Getting that first job is a challenge (very much o a challenge for me!), but is very difficult to find
these days. But, some are doing it and I’d like to share their stories of how they did it. I will not include names unless I get permission from the person.
If it helps one person, it may be worth it!
Posted in General | Tagged attitude, business finance, careers, financial prosperity, jobs, make a living, prosperity, relationships, success, survival, work |
By Rob Severson on October 11, 2011
Now, this is may be an unpopular idea but I am going to test the theory by posting my thoughts here. My purpose is to get people thinking, not create a debate, or offend anyone.
The driver for my thoughts comes from watching the Occupy Wall Street protests. I will not claim that they are all wrong with their assertions, but I will say that I see a lot of unhappy people and that bothers me. Maybe they can be effective, I don’t know but I am not sure that what they seem to be asking for is going to solve their problems.
I do see some characteristics in this movement that I also see in AA meetings and that is why I ask if victimhood is an addiction like alcohol, drugs, overeaters and other addictions.
- Some seem to enjoy the escape being a victim brings
- They seem to think they can control other peoples’ behavior.
- They selectively blame others for their problems, some may be justified but there is plenty of blame to go around if you look for it
- They don’t take responsibility for their problems
- They don’t seem to rely on a higher power to help themselves
- They are so bitter about other people that it is affecting their lives
- They are focused on what they should get rather than what they have to give others
- They are protesting greed but not seeing their own which we all have
- They lack serenity, much of it brought on by their own behaviors
- They appear unwilling to ask for help instead of handouts (enablers)
- Based on their premise, we should all be victims, but we aren’t
- What they seem to want would be insatiable, hence perpetual victimhood
- Punishing someone else will not help us
This is not to criticize these folks, they have every right to protest if they want, that is their right. However, I would like to see them “make it” as best they can and find some joy and positive thinking in their lives. I often wonder, how do some make it and others don’t? I feel sorry for these frustrated people.
My parents raised me to work hard and make a living, not envy others who have it better, and help those who have less. I am not rich but am thankful for what I have
and try to help others as much as I can.
Posted in General | Tagged attitude, careers, financial prosperity, life priorities, make a living, occupy wall street, prosperity, social injustice, success, survival, tea party, victim mentality |
By Rob Severson on October 7, 2011
Work your way up!
Yesterday a friend of mine asked his 23 year old college
graduate son about the occupy Wall Street raucous. His son said, “why don’t they just get
jobs and work their way up?”
Last night on a news clip on Wall Street an older guy
suggested that to a young protestor who replied: “I’m not going to work
for $7 per hour!” Based on what I
saw of his attitude I’m not sure he would get many offers for $7 an hour
either! And he would have a hard time
getting raises too!
We are constantly aware of people who have worked their way
up or built a business from nothing, to, in some cases, the largest business in
America. I know of a kid who grew up on a farm, went
to a non-prestigious state college, got a starting job at a bank and is now CEO
of it; one of the largest banks in the world!
I personally saw him work his way up, sometimes taking assignments that
others may have passed on. There are
many stories about people like this, very positive role models for our young
folks. Why do they protest the
successful and ask for an easy living?
Why don’t we learn to compete?
I was a thrower on the track team in high school. Track had little interest in my small school,
but I was very competitive and usually would place first against other schools
in my events, although my team didn’t do wall at all. In college it was the opposite, I was the low
performer on the team, but I didn’t hold back the team or the other individuals
as they had a long string of championships.
Each teammate cheered the others on and I ended up coaching the top shot-putter
with what I had learned studying it in high school. I learned that individual sports teams need
everyone to be competitive in order for the team to win, and that each needs to
help and encourage the others to succeed.
If there are too few that want to compete they hold the team back as
well as lose their place on the team.
The bottom line is these folks found what they were good at, and worked
their way up to success.
I think capitalism is similar to my sports experience. There will be stars, average and poor competitors
in any system. The better performers
must help the others to achieve excellence, by example, encouragement and by
competing with them. Running a race
against a faster runner often makes the slower runner raster! Tiger Woods made other PGA players better by
competing with him. In team sports some
are successful because of a super star who makes a ton more than the others,
but he attracts fans, leads the team, puts up the statistics and some would
say, “makes the team successful”.
Compare this to the things we are hearing from the Wall
Street gang. Some of what they want is
to create a system whereby everyone is guaranteed earnings and other
entitlements. That may sound great, but
what does it do to the team? Will the
superstars continue to perform if they are on a team of losers that they are
supporting? Will the team continue to
lead the world if we encourage average performance? Will entrepreneurs be as aggressive building
companies if thy are required to be support average producing employees? Will the low performers have any self esteem
being on a winning team that they don’t contribute to? (that was my case in college until I started
coaching a guy and making him better; now I was a part of it as I found my
The problem I have with much of the union philosophy is that
they want to treat everyone the same.
That may work if they are on an assembly line and all are doing the same
thing; they should get equal pay. That
may be a good deal for those who don’t want to compete and let it be. If they want to choose this as opposed to
competing and working your way up that is fine with me. I will respect your choice, but ask that you
respect mine and many others who choose to work our way up. Working one’s way up is what built the
greatest country on earth;America!
By the way, my personal mission is to help those who want to
work their way up!
Posted in General | Tagged attitude, careers, entitlement, financial prosperity, job dissatisfaction, jobs, life priorities, make a living, prosperity, redistribution of wealth, relationships, success |
By Rob Severson on October 5, 2011
In today’s world, we have the
entitlement mentality, which is based on the belief in redistribution of
wealth, or “pooling of wealth” for the common good. This is not a new concept.
The early apostles did the same when they started spreading the word about
Jesus. They sold their assets, and pooled their money, which was for communal
living. The money ran out because some did not want to work any more, and that
is where their economic problems began. The apostle Paul later wrote that they
needed to enforce the rule: “If you
don’t work, you don’t eat.” This is
accounted in the Book of Acts and Thessalonians. (I will not quote the verses
here, with the intention that you can go and find them yourselves and learn
more.) Paul himself worked as a tentmaker to provide for his living while he
spread the Gospel. How far are we from that kind of society when we talk about
redistribution of income, vast entitlement programs and people wanting more
support from their friends and neighbors via pooling of resources? Will we lose the motivation to provide for
ourselves and just do what we want to do?
The answer I believe is obvious: Some will, and some won’t. Does this
concept conflict with what I said about being others-centered? Absolutely
not. If we are truly others-centered, we
do not want to live off others and take from them continually. I know fully
well that you both had early goals to get off Judy’s and my payroll. You wanted
to be independent, and you cared enough about us that you did not want to
deplete the resources we had. I’m very proud of what you have accomplished.
There are people on welfare, food
stamps, or unemployment who make earnest efforts to become self-sufficient and
thrive on their own. They do not want to live off their friends and neighbors,
and they want a better life than the subsistence income that many entitlement
programs provide. They do not want to be “owned” by anyone. They may be
short-term “victims” but they are working to overcome this contentious status.
There will always be those that believe food stamps or other “government
benefits” are there for the taking, and they are entitled to them because they
have many kids or are pursuing their dream to change the world. This is a
selfish existence, ignoring whatever one needs to do to provide for their
That is not to say that we do not
have a responsibility to help the poor. There always will be people that cannot
work, and they deserve our help, but we should be very careful with programs
that only encourage those who choose not to figure out a path to independent
survival. We are depriving them of obtaining the self-esteem that comes with
self-sufficiency. I do not believe it is only the very poor that are in this situation.
It seems that many people simply lack critical financial survival skills. Many
live precariously for a few years until they decide to strive for a future,
make a living, and provide for themselves. I’m referring to those who are
without health insurance, have “maxed out” credit cards, and a low paying job
even if they do have a college education. Supposedly, in college, people are
shown tools needed for success, but many have difficulty assembling these tools
for their own survival once out on their own. I believe that motivation is the
key to survival, and not education alone. I also believe that if you are
motivated that you will get the education you need to survive. Education is not
an end; it is a means to an end. You can also learn by reading, which is free.
Formal education is overrated and reading is underrated.
Posted in General | Tagged attitude, careers, christian books, entitlement, financial prosperity, happiness, life priorities, make a living, personal finance, poor people, prosperity, success, survival |
By Rob Severson on October 4, 2011
Following is an excerpt from my book “Connecting Peace, Purpose & Prosperity”. I dedicated it to my family and told stories of how I learned various things that they would relate to. The subject is becoming more and more timely all the time.
I would bet that many parents, grandparents or others have stories to share with their family and the world about how they survive and live lives that are happy, joyuous and free. I posted this in hopes that other would pass on to their families some of what they have learned about life. Or, if you don’t have the time or inclination, check out mine as it is based on some fundamentals most of us would agree on.
PREFACE TO BOOK
I wrote this book for my family. I want to pass on to them the fundamentals of survival—for both good times and bad. My adult children seem to be doing well, but anyone is prone to surprises down the road, just as I have been. My grandchildren are very young and don’t need to make important life decisions yet, but, eventually they will need to.
The need to share my ideas with my family grew out of my observation that many people, as they go through life, lack basic survival skills. When trouble hits—like our current national
financial crisis as I write this—people get angry, adopt a victim mentality and look only toward government to help them out. Many of our problems can be solved by us, as individuals, if various approaches to problems are met head on. How to find and keep a job. Handle difficult relationships. Be open to learning new skills. Change course before the storm hits. Loosen the baggage that hinders progress. Learn to put control in the right hands. Make wise financial decisions with an eye toward the future. My own experiences have shown me that there are certain fundamentals that need to be practiced in order to survive. That is what this book is about. I believe that by constantly practicing those fundamentals we build the foundation from which we can begin our quest for peace, purpose and prosperity.
The main goal of this book is to provide a guide and inspiration for my family, but the ideas here are also for anyone struggling with making sound decisions whether related to career,
finance, or meaningful life choices. What I’m saying isn’t new; many of the principles are based on The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, and the Bible. There are also plenty of real-life accounts that reveal my attempts to make do and make better, and ultimately, how I learned to find that path to peace. I could not have found this place without the fundamentals of survival as I have come to know them.
Posted in General | Tagged attitude, careers, christian books, contacts, financial prosperity, job dissatisfaction, jobs, life priorities, make a living, prosperity, relationships, stress, success, work |
By Rob Severson on September 27, 2011
I am somewhat of a political junky and marvel at how hard the political opponents are on each other.
I often wonder how they can ever talk to each other after the nasty they things they say about each other.
I know of two stories about this that are very interesting to me. First, Orrin Hatch and Ted Kennedy. I picked up this bit from Politico.
“Disagreements over policy, however, were never personal with Ted. I recall a debate over increasing the minimum wage. Ted had launched into one of his patented histrionic speeches, the kind where he flailed his arms and got red in the face, spewing all sorts of red meat liberal rhetoric. When he finished, he stepped over to the minority side of the Senate chamber, put his arm around my shoulder, and said with a laugh and a grin, “How was that, Orrin?” That is both amazing and reassuring to me.
I also heard a story of Hubert Humphrey talking with Nixon in his last days. Here is an excerpt from and article in the about his last days. Waverly Herald on Humphrey.
“In fact, right before he died he asked Woitalla if there was anyone she could think of that he may have offended. “He wanted to make amends before he died,” Woitalla said.
Right before his death, on Christmas Day, Woitalla recalled, Humphrey put a call in to his former foe in the 1968 presidential election, Richard Nixon, only to learn of the depressed state of the Nixons. He then invited Nixon to his upcoming funeral, which Nixon accepted.” Irene Woitalla was a friend of his.
Each of these stories has a special lesson for all of us. The Hatch/Kennedy story reminds us that some interactions
need not be personal, but that we often need to remind our friends that they are not.
The Humphrey/Nixon story is that of making amends to our enemies. These guys went after each other hard, and Humphrey was big enough to call Nixon and make amends. Nixon may never have left his exile in Sam
Clemente if it hadn’t been for this generous act. I’m sure Nixon made amends to Humphrey. Regardless of how one feels about either one, the lesson is to make amends. In these guys cases, it brought peace to both.
Posted in General | Tagged amends, attitude, friends, Hatch, Humphrey, Kennedy, life priorities, Nixon, relationships |