ONE BAD DAY AWAY: HOW LIVING PAYCHECK TO PAYCHECK IS BIGGER THAN JUST MONEY

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“Pay check Friday, gone by Saturday, back broke by Monday.”


For me growing up in a household with a working poor mother, it was tough watching her struggle. One sick day, one missed pay period, and we could have been one of those families in a homeless shelter. What do you do when you’re living a life that feels like all hope is gone? When you look forward to the end of the day before the beginning even starts. That is the feeling of so many people in America. But living paycheck to paycheck is more than just a financial strain. It’s an emotional strain that causes more issues than not having money. People who are living poor generally have lower self-esteem, lower confidence, poor health, and their mental instability is typically higher. So what happens that places a person in these types of conditions?

Well, for me, I have a mother and father that both grew up poor and both their parents grew up poor. And that’s when you realize that poverty in America is more than just not having a job and not being able to get a job. It’s not the idea that people are lazy or don’t care about their futures. Poverty in America is generational; with every passing generation, you notice times get rougher and rougher. At least when my mother and father were young, there was a sense of community. In today’s society there is no community in the poor communities. You don’t even have the support of your family in life. So you almost have to cross your fingers and hope for the best. And if you fall, it’s not too hard of a fall that you can’t recover.

Another reason people live in poverty in America, is that there are so many people not in the know. And the know, is all the pieces coming together with all your knowledge to make your life make sense. And if you are not skilled enough to make your life make sense, then you cannot rise above where you are in life. Even with a good education, which helps, you still have to be able to put yourself in the know. Because a college degree is the icing on a cake, not any of the ingredients to make that cake. The ingredients come from you, and most people don’t know how to bake their success cake. They look at success like a fast food restaurant, “Just show me how to work the fries, and then I’m off to the races making big bucks.” It’s not that easy; it takes the elements that are skills, smarts, hard work, and some luck.

And in the end, when observing some of the prior elements of success, so many just don’t have in them. And if they do have these elements, they are totally unaware as to how to get the elements working for themselves. So they will live their entire lives not achieving anything remotely close to even an idea of success.


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QUID PRO QUO: HOW BARTERING CAN AID IN GOOD BUSINESS AND COMMUNITY RELATIONSHIPS

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“I will gladly pay you tomorrow for your services today.”


The quid pro quo system goes back as far as we can remember as people. Another name for this is the barter system. And if applied the right way, quid pro quo can be a very productive measure of conducting business. But it involves a lot of cooperation and people must for the most part be on the same page. Because a great system of trading goods and services can easily get quite messy. This method of business can be very beneficial to a poor community where the community does not have many resources. You might have a loaf of bread and your neighbor might have a gallon of milk. You guys could trade slices of bread for this person to make a sandwich, for a certain amount of milk so this person can bake. Now, could that work in today’s society like in the past?

And my answer to that is absolutely it could. But like I said before, you need cooperation and like minded people. If you have these similar character traits then you’re going to have a pretty productive environment. Because now, money is not the only precious commodity in our communities. If you are trading goods and services for other goods and services, then the good and service is valuable. And for the most part, people are trading for things outside of housing expenses and not household. What do I mean by housing and not household. The housing expenses are priorities such as rent, mortgage, utilities; whereas the household expenses are bath soap, toothpaste, lotions, deodorants to food and beverages. This is how everyone in the community will be able to live and work together. Not only that, but if I can only pay rent, but I can provide a service to you in exchange for food, I don’t have to worry about monetary expense.

Meaning, let’s say after I pay my rent and utilities, I have a hard time feeding my children. But I can provide a service to a neighbor in exchange for food. You give me what a babysitter would get paid in food. So let’s say a babysitter charges $15 per hour, I will babysit your child for four hours. In exchange, you give me close to $60 worth of food. Because the babysitter may not have food, but could babysit for the person who has food, but need a babysitter. You will do each other such a service by operating in this fashion. Another action that will take place is a close nit community that is based around people helping each other. But inevitably, in our today’s society this does not work.

And in the end, the reason why quid pro quo has a tough time being implemented is because you’re going to have someone not repaying the favor. You’ll have someone not giving the equal value of product and service. You’ll have people who always want more than someone else. So the human conditioning is what keeps the barter system from working. And what’s said is that the poor communities in America could use this means of trading. If implemented well, no one starves or is forced to sleep in the street because they don’t have a roof over their heads.


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MAKING GOOD MONEY: HOW COME PEOPLE DON’T HAVE A MORE DECLARATIVE CAREER EXPLANATION

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“We all want it, but what is good money?”


Ever hear people who are either unemployed or looking for work while on a job say they want to make good money. What exactly is a good job or good money? We all have a different perspective on what that means, but no one can define it in an entirety. So when I hear people say they need a “job” making “good” money I pause. For me, I am currently pursuing my goals of becoming a successful writer (screenplays, playwrights, novels, and blogger), filmmaker, photographer, and podcaster. I would like to make at least $60,000 per year as a start to work for myself. I have given myself 10 years to break into my career as a writer/filmmaker. I am currently at year five almost six. And there you have it, a nice basic understanding for what my goals are in a career. But I always hear these very vague ideas of what it is that people want from life.

I said in an earlier post that adults who need jobs are like crying babies. You can’t communicate with a baby when it’s crying because the baby can’t talk. Only problem with adults is that we can talk. And unlike the baby where you have to give the baby milk, rock the baby, and do all these activities to guess the problem, it’s not the case with adults. A fully grown adult should know more than a baby their problem that is bothering them. And that is the problem with the I need a good paying job inquiry. What job? Paying what? What time period to get to that point? What is your level of expertise? Is this something you really enjoy doing? Do you have the stomach to build in your career choice? So many people don’t know the answers to any of these questions because they lack self-awareness. And that is the main problem.

Because when trying to look for employment, you have to first acknowledge the skills you possess. You can’t just say I need a job and expect people to know your skills. I know what I am good at in this world. It’s not my job to know your strengths and weaknesses. It’s not my job to give you a certain level of skills. Your job is to show me what it is you can do. That is what I mean by self awareness. By a certain age, you should have some level of degree to which you know your skills. That’s why the whole find a job, get a job is very vague. If I realized that my skill is writing, then I am going to pursue my writing career. If there are other skills I have, I’ll pursue those as well. You should pursue whatever you find that is a skill of yours that you not only love, but in the long term can make an income performing.

In the end, not having a firm understanding of who you are is going to be the defining outcome. If you don’t know what you are good at then who does. It’s your brain, you know what your mind wraps around. And if your mind does not wrap around the concept of anything, you’re not going to be hired even if someone was offering jobs. You should know to some degree what career title you want, income associated, and years to rise to another position. And it all comes together in knowing how to put yourself in the know of whatever it is you want to do in life.


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THE VALUE OF THE DOLLAR OR SOMETHING LIKE IT: WHAT IS OUR MONEY BACKED BY REALLY?

Rolled 20 U.s Dollar Bill

“What if confidence is lost?”


 The United States currency has been a long subject of debate. And that debate is, what is our money really worth? Because in reality it’s just paper. And the real confidence is in our economy. Because if our economy begins to decline, then what are these sheets of paper? Well then, could it happen? Could we see America fall into a second Great Depression twice in America’s history? With the industrial age looking more and more like something of the past, what is going to replace it? It’s going to be this new technological space. Yet we have an uneducated populace who are not only unaware, but not willing to learn this new way. And with that comes uncertainty within the market. And now what you have is uncertainty in our dollars as well. So what do you do about the potential value of the American dollar falling or even collapsing?

The fear of this could send the nation into a tail spin. We are already behind the Euro and the British Pound. And with China now the largest economy in the world, who knows, their currency could be next to surpass us. Then, once all these different currencies start to pass us, can we truly say we are still this great nation? How are we such a great place when places that are seen by us as not as great surpassing us? That image dies and so does the status of America. Now, am I saying brace yourself for a catastrophe, no. But we should be mindful of the sensitivity of the market. Let’s say though for a minute that our system does collapse. What could this mean for the countries who we owe money to in debt? Would this mean that we would have to start cyphering off assets we do have left.

These various assets could mean natural resources, or better yet, land. Imagine the chaos if people found out that we no longer were in control of our land anymore. Like I said, this is still a stretch, but it has happened before. And in the end, that is the true fear. Chaos has happened once before. And for some reason, we as people tend to always forget history and repeat the same mistakes. Hopefully, we are able to maintain our confidence in our dollars and our economy can grow. Otherwise, we’ll fall victim to our own lack of hubris and ignorance.


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HURRICANE READY: WHAT MUST WE DO TO BE PREPARED IN THE FUTURE

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“So many capabilities, yet so little ability to stop anything.”


Throughout history, the United States has gotten hit with massive hurricanes that have left devastating damage in it’s wake. A lot has been done over time to prepare citizens for storms as Hurricanes make their way across the Atlantic Ocean. Usually, we look to the strength of the storms in the Caribbean as a measure of how strong it’s becoming before it reaches the United States Image result for hurricane caribbeanmainland of Florida. And throughout time, we have also developed forecast models that anticipate the impacts of the storms. But what we have not figured out, is how to drastically decrease the devastation. Meaning, how do we defeat mother nature at her game. Yes, we build walls using sandbags and even levees, which, judging from Hurricane Katrina don’t always work. But what about a new technological levee system that is beyond what we have currently at the moment.

And what do I mean by a levee system that is stronger than what we have at the moment? I mean a levee system that not so much serves as a wall that separates us from the water on the other side. But a system that makes water difficult to hit the mainland. And I know what people might be thinking, you can’t stop the storm Image result for future leveeswater from entering. I’m not referring to the heavy rain water and winds. I mean the water coming from the Atlantic as well as the Gulf of Mexico. How about a levee system that forces water to fill up in the water before entering the mainland flooding our American cities. Meaning, imagine a system that is built under water, so that when a city could potentially experience mass flooding, the system drops the sea floor underwater forcing water to fill there before entering the land. So, think of like a beach and water flowing on the beach/on shore.

As water from the Gulf, for example, prepares to hit Houston, an underwater mechanism drops the current water floor down further. So, another example of what I mean, if you are still confused is like a house with a porch and sidewalk. If water rises against the house, it will eventually flood the home. But if you have a mechanism built around your house that drops surrounding the house, the water will fill this moat around your property before entering your home. Now, the cost of something of this magnitude will Related imagereach in the high billions of dollars. A move that our government may not be too thrilled to act on. But when you look over time at the devastation, it is actually more costly than what we already do to prepare. It’s almost like these storms over time are getting stronger and stronger.

In the end, what will happen when a hurricane eventually exceed the category 5 that we have long deemed the biggest? Will we have to design a new ranking system, which will then force us to create better means of protecting our lives and our property? Because if we don’t, with the strength of some of these storms getting stronger, the impacts will be greater than doing nothing at all. You look at today, and the damage inflicted by Hurricane Harvey, as well as Hurricane Irma right behind Harvey, and Jose behind Irma. And with forecast models, they’re helpful, and deter a lot, but more has to be done to prepare in the future.


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DACA: HOW THIS IS MORE ISOLATED THAN SPREAD OUT

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“What will be the outcome?”


For those of you unfamiliar with what has been going on in the recent news surrounding Donald Trump’s decision to end DACA, it concerns immigration. Former President Barack Obama signed this into action to protect minors for a temporary basis looking to seek work permits/right to stay in America. Image result for daca obamaDonald Trump now wants the bill killed via Congress. A move that has sparked once again, protest across the country. And if you don’t know what DACA stands for, it stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival. Now, with the decision to kill the act, we could potentially see nearly 1 million people deported in America. But is this an America issue, or more of a states issue. Because if you live in certain states, this is a bigger concern than if you live in other places. And nowhere is it bigger than in the state of California.

California has nearly 223,000 people under DACA, which constitutes for 27% – 28% of the DACA recipients. So the protest are massive in California against the DACA end. But not all people are against the move to end DACA. Donald J. Trump still has his strong support that feel that it is not the job of America to care for illegal immigrant’s children. These are also the same people who feel that their jobs are already threatened by illegal immigrants coming into America. Image result for daca trumpNow their children will be allowed to stay and retain work permits in an already tough to find work economy. So my question is, “What will be the decision from Congress?” Will they side with Trump or will they uphold Obama’s previous decision? And once again be another policy that Trump has tried to pass and was unsuccessful. There has been so much going on lately, that I have not had too too much to process this policy in its entirety. But the outrage from the predominantly Hispanic community has been great.

Now before I said California was a major state for DACA. But there are a few other key states that are in the line of fire. Texas is the second highest of DACA recipients, with Illinois, New York, and Florida rounding out the top five states. What sticks out to me besides Florida, which has a lot of Hispanics, as well as New York, and Illinois , is Texas. Texas has been in the news for other reasons outside of DACA; the big story, Hurricane Harvey. Image result for daca cityNow the question remains, “What will Texas do now that this natural disaster has happened?” Families are struggling to regain their footing because of this storm, so what will come of them maybe having to compete for aid from the federal government knowing they are the state with the second highest DACA recipients? This could be another situation that starts to get dicey once the water has receded. Once people have to rebuild their lives in a disaster zone.

But in the end, another major concern is not only the issue of DACA, not just the high numbers centralized to a few states, but the average age of DACA recipients. The average age is about nine years old. A nine year old, that has spent much of their years in America. So now, you’re dealing with children that have no connection to Mexico, a country where the majority are coming from, besides their ethnic and cultural makeup. Young people who could potentially be thrust into a land of high crime and poverty. In a land they know absolutely nothing about because they are now more American than Mexican citizens.


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WHERE DO YOU GO FROM HERE: THE REALIZATION YOU’RE NO LONGER IN SCHOOL

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“I just finished, now what do I do?”


You have worked from elementary school, through middle school, and coming through high school. You worked tirelessly to plan for college, you get accepted, and get into college. You go through college, and might even go through grad school. But now that you have completed school, or at least your formidable education, what now. Today, I am seeing so many students go back to school today. But what about the students who are no longer in school? What are they to do now? You graduated over the weekend, but there is no change to your life. You’re the same person you were before graduating. There is not this new physical form your body takes on now that you have graduated. What is the first move to make? What direction should you take in life? Are you sure you still want to do what you set out to do?

And that is when life sets in; you are on your own. You were told that the key to success in life is attaining a good education. But here you are Monday morning, working your job you once had, without anything special formulating in your life. Because for starters, attaining an education is more than just going to school. There is a lot of self-education in becoming successful in a career. Going to college alone is not enough to pull yourself up in life. You have to be willing to put yourself in the know of whatever it is you’re seeking to attain. I heard hip hop artist 50 Cent make a statement about school. He said, “If everything you needed to know about business were in those textbooks, the professor wouldn’t be teaching you.” “He’d be out generating wealth himself.” Now that’s not to say that the professor hates his job. It’s aiming at understanding taking full advantage of opportunities in front of you.

Basically what I am saying is that no one is going to teach you in society how to win. Why, well there isn’t a course you can teach, nor is there a conversation you can have, that is going to make you successful. It’s about working smart, consistent, planning, preparation, a little luck, and persistence. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, years of arduous and tedious work. It’s almost as if you have to kind of toss out some of the principles you were taught in school in regards to building a career. Because since it comes from your work ethic, there are things you can’t learn in school. There should be life courses in college that expose you to real world scenarios. Scenarios like real competition, failures, success, and building. But to the university, that is your job to build your own life, they just provide you with a basic template for life.

And in the end, that is the job of the collegiate institutions. Giving you the basics of what you have in store for you in life ahead. To you, you might think to yourself, $40,000 – $50,000 per  year does not sound basic. But that in itself is futile compared to the grand scheme of what life really cost. So to all who have graduated this year and are now in the real world, good luck grinding. Because there is no life book or class for the road ahead. Put yourself in the game, and take risk. Put yourself in harms way. (figuratively speaking)


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