By: Stacey Wood
I have been a manufacturing recruiter for some time now. Thus, on a daily basis I speak to several angry candidates who have lost their jobs due to outsourcing or companies moving to other countries. Many of these folks are bitter and jaded. Moreover, they feel powerless. Thus, I felt compelled to ask them and ultimately myself what are YOU doing about it?
Commit to doing more
First, I have committed myself to reflecting on how I spend my income. For example, I make every effort to frequent local establishments for all the goods and services I use in my daily life. Is it always possible? No. However, I make it a priority to research when and where I can and do so accordingly. It is important to take the time to truly consider how you are spending your funds and accept responsibility for those choices.
Use every opportunity to encourage local growth
Next, I committed to doing all of my holiday shopping with local businesses. In all honesty, I am the rare woman that does not enjoy shopping. However, it was actually an exciting challenge to force myself to think “outside the box” for all the folks on my holiday shopping list. For example, for music lovers I only purchased works from local musicians who had their works produced in the area. For “foodies” I solely bought gift certificates from locally owned restaurants. Further, I made every effort to find out which of these owners bought the ingredients from local growers, etc…. In addition, for the tough people on my list, I bought ornaments and gifts from artists that reside in the area and made baskets with a variety of goods grown or made in Central New York. In fact, I have a friend who loves birdhouses and was able to purchase one made by an old friend who is trying to increase her income after a divorce. In addition, she partnered with her father on the project who was a former fabricator that uses the income to help in his retirement years. The impact of this effort was huge! I actually enjoyed my holiday shopping this year. In addition, I was able to connect with some new friends as well. It truly felt rewarding to look the recipient of my hard earned cash in the eye, appreciate their works and services, and know that they too were doing their best to do the same.
Share your results with others
Finally, these efforts have yielded even greater results. For example, most of my friends and family bought me locally crafted goods in return. This was unexpected and greatly appreciated. Further, they found themselves buying for others on their lists as well from the same establishments, thereby adding even more revenue to the local economy. They too felt rewarded and have now decided to do more. Every little bit helps.
Are these efforts going to change the world? No. Are they going to bring back high paying jobs in the auto industry? No. However, recognizing the power you have as a consumer just might help us move in that direction. These small efforts may help an out of work production worker use his welding skills to augment his income, or a former cabinet maker pay for his increasingly high electric bill. Perhaps it will help a single mom put gas in her car to get to her day job or even keep a neighborhood business thriving that may employ you, your parents, or your children in the future.
Mahatma Ghandi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Stop complaining! Take responsibility and put your money where your mouth is.