I’ve worked under university grants that were discontinued for lack of funding, for
Internet start-ups that failed when the hi-tech bubble burst and for an
industry that needed to purge itself of well-paid middle management when the
real estate bubble burst.
You could say I’ve been “busted” a few times.
As a result, I feel for the men and women who sat quietly and listened to their
bosses talk about cutting “unnecessary services” during last month’s municipal
budget workshops. I’ve seen their faces. They’re scared.
This summer, as I’ve attended the budget workshops for our coastal communities, I’ve heard the following in almost every town:
• The majority of elected officials do not want to raise taxes, and
• There’s a growing feeling that public employees have become an elite, protected class compared to workers in the private sector.
When I took my latest buyout, I was one of 300 who left the company. Two years
later, some are seriously struggling with health issues, mortgage payments and
day-to-day expenses. But others are embarking on envious adventures as they
start their own businesses, go back to school, or take off to travel the world.
We all know that very few of us will ever return to a workplace with nice offices,
dependable paychecks, expense accounts, benefits, savings plans and paid
The world has changed.
Job security — long gone from the private sector — is now looking shaky for public employees.
For all of us, these are hard times requiring hard decisions.
If you have the expertise to offer advice and solutions, please consider
participating in the budget process in your town. Not only could it impact your
local taxes and which community services remain, you may even be able to offer
a solution that saves someone’s job.