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Get another J.O.B.? No!!

Jun. 06, 2024, under bootstrap finance, call to action, disturbing, events, goals, really???, the pain of gain

J.O.B. – an acronym for Just Over Broke.  It’s a position everyone holding a JOB is in, although they may not realize it.  Even households with two wage eaners who have “pretty good” salaries can quickly find themselves scraping the bottom of the barrel if either or both lose their JOB, especially if there are significant medical expenses involved:  Hospital bills can chew through savings at an alarmingly rapid pace.  If you have to go to work to get paid, you’re Just Over Broke.  If your continued presence at your JOB is required to keep food on the table – even if it’s two, or five, years before today’s wages stop putting food on the table – you’re Just Over Broke.

In my youth, I imagined my family would end up in business together as adults, working together to build a common fortune and achieving great things. It was not until years after his death that I learned my father had been sucking his parents finances dry to escape from the poverty I didn’t realize we were living in as children. Looking back on all of that, it’s not surprising he put everything he had into a trust to prevent his own children from doing the same thing to him. In doing so, he prevented us from being able to use what should have been our inheritance to reach our full potential.

My grandfather had a fifty acre farm in the middle of Long Island.  On summer days he’d load the truck with vegetables and drive to New York City to sell the goods in the markets there.  More than once I’ve wished I had gone with him and learned how to sell the wares we had to offer, haggling for the best price while ensuring the truck was empty when we went home. Instead, I got that education many years later when I was selling pizza slices and sausages in Kenmore Square for Pizza Pad, making someone else’s family rich. I’ve read a lot of books about how to succeed in business, etc., such as “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill, all of Robert Kiyosaki’s “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” series, and many others. The common theme in all of them is you have to have some money or support in order to become successful. Bill Gates didn’t start out as a poor college kid with an idea and build Microsoft, he was a trust fund baby whose mother sat on the board of another company with the chairman of IBM. Peter Beck’s family gave him the support and encouragement he needed to acquire the skills and determination needed to build Rocket Lab, but without Mark Rocket’s $300,000 investment, the company would have never taken off. Steve Jobs may have started Apple in his parent’s garage with an investment from his uncle, but that also included encouragement and support of his parents as well. I, on the other hand, have never gotten any financial support for my endeavors, and have actively been discouraged by both family and “friends” from trying to build a business of my own every time I tried. Still I persist, knowing that the only way I will be able to truly succeed is through building my own business, filling the needs of my customers.

One time my father asked why I never came looking for help until I’d gotten into a crisis. I think I said because he would never listen until it was a crisis, but I may have just thought it. Another time, I heard him complain to my mother one evening saying “how come none of our children have become successful?” I should have gotten up and said it’s because he never invested into our success, but I didn’t say anything. I regret making those mistakes of silence, I think we all would have benefited from the ensuing discussions.

I set out with the intent of trying to save the world from a host of horrors that I saw coming down the pipeline. I found myself trying to do everything alone, by myself, all the time, even though that’s literally impossible: There’s so much more work than one person could possibly do by themselves. This has been compounded by always having to return to an empty house at the end of the day, which led to finding places to stay out later, putting off returning until I was ready to fall over from exhaustion. I don’t have anybody to celebrate with, I don’t have anybody to bounce ideas off of, I don’t have anybody to point out when I’m getting off track, or even help get any of the simple things done, let alone the big ones. Nobody I know understands that:  Everybody has their children or companions, or wives, or some group of people around them, giving support, suggestions, encouragement, and advice. I have none of that, yet I am expected to carry on and do everything, by myself, and make it all work. That’s just not possible.  At the very least, I need a partner in my life with whom I can work to build the better future I’ve envisioned.

I really thought on the morning of February 14 that I was going to have a date for my Valentine’s birthday (for the first time in a dozen years) with someone I would have liked to build a relationship. The date got blocked by another woman who had a mad crush on me, and I ended up taking me and myself out for dinner again. That was the last straw: I stopped doing anything productive for almost a month and a half because I’d gotten too tired of trying to do everything without getting anything more than momentary satisfaction in return. The last paycheck I got paid March’s rent and most of the bills due when it arrived. My cash flow has been negative since, and I started pawning stuff to buy groceries and all. Coincidentally, my car needed its engine thermostat and clutch replaced. Even with the parts on hand to fix it, I didn’t have motivation to do the work – I had decided I wasn’t going to do anything until I at least had someone to celebrate finishing something before I started again. That continued endlessly to the point where I was wondering if that would be how I spent my last days – in a frustrated fruitless search for something missing for most of my life.

A couple of months ago I found there are a number of entrepreneur and investor groups in this area I’d like to go and talk with – but I need my car to do that. There are a number of odd jobs around I could undertake, but I need my car to do that. I need to go buy groceries and other supplies – but I need my car to do that. Every time I think of something that I want or need to do, my first thought is I need my car to do that. That led to me being totally focused on trying to get my car back into working order, further frustrated by everything going wrong with the attempt – by myself, alone, with nothing but the tools and supplies that I already have, no real supporting documentation, and no one to assist me.  I did eventually avail the help of a couple of friends, but the shift linkage got reassembled incorrectly and I can’t use reverse or the top two gears in the transmission.

I went to college at MIT, listening to NAACP ads saying “give to the American Negro college fund, a mind is a terrible thing to waste.” What happened? I ran out of money. That started the cycle. When I ran out of money, I went and got a JOB at the behest of my family. I soon found I wasn’t making enough money to get where I want and need to go. In other words, I ran out of money. I went and got another JOB. As the cycle repeated, I would sometimes be frantically working on something to make more money, hoping to finish before the cash on hand ran out. The money ran out, I went and got another JOB. The cycle repeated. One definition of insanity, attributed to Albert Einstein, is doing the same thing over and again expecting different results. Look at the pattern: I ran out of money. I went and got (another) JOB with the expectation that I wasn’t going to run out of money again. But I ran out of money and went and got another JOB, again with the expectation that I wouldn’t run out of money. Getting another JOB with the expectation that I won’t run out of money again is the pattern of insanity. What I need to do is be able to carry on with one of my projects to the point where I am making money, rather than earning a wage. Until I can get to where I am hiring people, rather than being hired, I will not be able to stop running out of money.  I have known this for years, but all I hear from everyone around me is “you need to go get another JOB…”

It’s taking the patience of Job to avoid getting another JOB, but I know it’s what I have to do to move my life ahead. My adamant refusal to go to another JOB “because that’s what you’ve got to do to pay your bills” has gotten me into extremely dire straits.  I’m not going back to start the cycle of insanity again, this is going to be my last pass through it.  I just hope I end up on the right side of the ground when it’s over.

…and so when people tell me I have to “get another J.O.B.” I “just say NO!!

The back story about the trust:

I have been led to believe my parent’s farm and any other valuable assets my father had at the time of his death are tied up in a trust that no one in my generation can touch. The upshot of that is I have no inheritance while my brothers get to enjoy the comfort and use of the farm they live on that will be left solely to their children since none of the rest of my siblings (yet) have any of our own. The trust story may or may not be true, but since I have never had the opportunity to read the trust document, I don’t know how accurate the picture is, or how questions such as distribution of profits from the farm would be handled. I’ve also never seen my parents’ wills, which people around me have recently been pointing out should have gone through probate. I’m starting to have serious questions about the legality of everything going on here. There’s also the matter of the savings account my mother left for me that one of my sisters-in-law slipped up and mentioned one time (her husband immediately hushed her about it) that apparently had over $6000 in it at the time. That amount of money being wrongfully diverted squarely puts it into grand theft, and with more than one person involved, it’s conspiracy. I’m starting to wonder how different things will look if I do some investigating, and if I need to hire a lawyer to resolve the issues I’m wondering about.

As it is, the farm is a static asset, and nothing is being done to enhance its worth. Things like clearing ditches and removing overgrowth to restore arable land maintain the current value as a property but do nothing to increase its valuation as an asset. The only things driving its price up are inflation and competition for the limited resource that land represents, and both of those are offset by increasing taxes and rising prices. Because of COVID and subsequent issues, a million dollars today buys between half and a third of what it did three years ago. If similar events happen in the future, it won’t be long before the million dollar value of the farm won’t make it a significant resource: Change always happens, and if you don’t proactively move things forward, they are going to fall back.

As executor of the trust, I asked my brother to take out a loan using the farm as collateral and invest into my future so we can work together as a team to build our family’s wealth instead of fighting over who is going to get what, who is going to survive, and how long this death spiral we are now caught in is going to last. I wasn’t trying to make unreasonable demands or pick a fight, I was respectfully requesting that we join forces and move a common set of goals forward in a timely and effective way. What I got was a flat out denial:  “The farm is paid for, we can’t afford to jeopardize that.”

One of my brothers suggested I “get any important papers you might need like your car title, passport, Etc and some essential supplies in a go bag so if you do get evicted you can at least have that with you.” That shows an abject lack of respect for me and my life: I’m now facing the dangerously high probability that I could lose everything I have ever worked for in the very near future. That would be an extremely “not good” outcome. I asked for assistance to avoid that situation, in the best interest of everyone involved, but apparently I’m the only one who can see it that way.

The idiom “blood is thicker than water” implies a person’s family is more important than their other relationships or needs. There is also a quote that means the opposite: “The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb” – which means relationships you choose are stronger than the ones you inherit. I don’t know which is the “original” and which is the “extension,” but considering I’ve already suffered much more at the hands of my family than from everyone else combined, I’m inclined to agree with the latter.

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