We are giving away 4 copies of Thomas J. Elpel's book, Botany in a Day
Thomas will be answering your questions in the plant forum Monday through Friday!
See this thread for details
Permies likes frugality and the farmer likes Don't Flog a Dead Horse---Labour wasted on dying businesses permies
  Search | Permaculture Wiki | Recent Topics | Flagged Topics | Hot Topics | Zero Replies | World Domination!
Register / Login


permies » forums » living » frugality
Bookmark "Don Watch "Don New topic
Author

Don't Flog a Dead Horse---Labour wasted on dying businesses

Dale Hodgins
pollinator

Joined: Jul 28, 2011
Posts: 4034
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
    
  57
We've all heard the term, "don't flog a dead horse". This old saying relates to labor frugality. When I look at times in my life when my work was wasted they tend to be times when I was pursuing some venture after the good times had passed.

On more than one occasion I have put large amounts of labor into an industry which was winding down. My uncle had a television antenna business which was booming in the 70s and early 80s. But starting around 1985 the cable and satellite business took a huge chunk out of the market. I started working with him when I was in my early 20s and continued on a part-time basis until I was 29 in 1993. At that point I moved to British Columbia and started an entirely different business which was far more successful than the dying business I left behind. I should have left when I was 22. Instead I continued to "flog a dead horse".

Within two years of moving we owned a home and business was booming. But the market for recycled building materials changed about 8 years later and it became harder and harder to sell recycled goods. Since this had been the most profitable thing I had ever done I was reluctant to admit that things had changed. I figure I continued on for at least five years longer than I should have. I would have been much further ahead had I begun developing my property several years ago instead of "beating a dead horse".

Now that my children are largely grown and I don't have huge financial commitments or debt I hope to break myself of this awful habit of maintaining a trajectory which no longer makes sense. Each time I stuck with something too long it was out of necessity to make payments, to keep the kids in money etc.

Whenever there are upheavals in the economy, the state of various businesses changes. New inventions and modes of operation make formerly viable business models obsolete. I now re-examine plans very regularity since at 47 I don't have the luxury of wasting a couple years every time there's a shift in the business climate. I've also diversified my income sources so that I'm not completely reliant on any one thing. As the property develops my diversification will increase.

When something isn't working or it's not working as well as it did before, it's probably time for a change. I have met many others who have continued for far too long pursuing business and relationships where the writing was clearly on the wall. If bankruptcy is inevitable-better to do it now. If divorce is inevitable-it's better to get that over with. Whenever things aren't working, some sort of change is likely to be better than no change at all. And that's my $2 million worth. If I've only got two cents worth I don't usually share that.

So I've admitted to a couple of fairly big blunders which didn't make frugal use of my time and energy. Has anyone else done something similar which they would like to share?


QUOTES FROM MEMBERS --- In my veterinary opinion, pets should be fed the diet they are biologically designed to eat. Su Ba...The "redistribution" aspect is an "Urban Myth" as far as I know. I have only heard it uttered by those who do not have a food forest, and are unlikely to create one. John Polk ...Even as we sit here, wondering what to do, soil fungi are degrading the chemicals that were applied. John Elliott ... O.K., I originally came to Permies to talk about Rocket Mass Heaters RMHs, and now I have less and less time in my life, and more and more Good People to Help ! Al Lumley...I think with the right use of permie principles, most of Wyoming could be turned into a paradise. Miles Flansburg... Then you must do the pig's work. Sepp Holzer
Sandra Ellane


Joined: Nov 08, 2011
Posts: 71
Location: New Mexico high desert Zone 7a, alkaline soils. 9" average annual rainfall.
Hi Dale,

I've had somewhat related revelations. I've been in a few completely different industries over the years for various reasons. During the Reagan era I was an electronics technician for one of the National Labs studying the efffects of radiation on microelectroincs, leaving my extended family behind in the blighted auto-worker region. At that time there was a rediculously large amount of funding for weapons so I had it made for a while. I grew tired of the concept though and wanted to start a family (radiation and pregnancy don't mix).

My next endeavor was in commercial construction. I do admit this was my favorite industry to work in. I love creating and building. I love the concept of everyone coming together to do their part to make something bigger, something that will last. However, at the same time I had a thought: how much building can the area sustain?

The next industry was/is legal. There is certainly a big demand! I moved into the specific niche of legal software because I'm also a computer geek.

I completely believe in retraining and not staying in one industry. Go where the needs are. You also get the added bonus of a well-rounded experience in life. I think more wisdom can be cultivated by this- it gives one another opportunity to observe patterns (how permaculture is that ).

Detroit is a good example- so many out of work back there and many are holding out for the auto industry to come back. I've heard of efforts to reclaim the vacant city lots for farming. If they could break their paradigm and take a fresh look at what resources they have, who knows what they could come with. (permaculture principle right? no such thing as a problem- you just have an unused resource :grin.

http://citylivingnaturally.com
A sustainable approach to life in the city
Fred Morgan
steward

Joined: Sep 29, 2009
Posts: 972
Location: Northern Zone, Costa Rica - 200 to 300 meters Tropical Humid Rainforest
    
  12
Yeah, I rode a rocket into the ground once... But, I learned after a while to not stay with something too long. I think as well you hit the nail on the head that we do it because of our responsibilities, hoping to realize a big payday. What I eventually did was get away from expecting a big payday. And would you believe it, I ended up doing better than I had ever did before, and enjoying it more.

Knowing when to hold them, fold them, walk away and run.... seems that was a song once upon a time. :


Sustainable Plantations and Agroforestry in Costa Rica
Rich Pasto


Joined: Dec 13, 2011
Posts: 97
ive been a journeyman ironworker for 6 years now. Before that I did commerical landscaping and construction. Before that I spent some time in Iraq. Before that I was a student and would work part time landscaping jobs and whatever.

When the economy was destroyed in 2008, and the mega banks stopped lending money (which meant, and still largely means) that construction was hard to get financed, Ive been basically part time for 3 years. Additionally, my ironworkers union local is a sinking ship. The International structure is doing well, and is expanding. But here, our members are poorly educated, plain stupid and foolish. They vote on measures that have crushed any effort by the local officials to regain and stimulate some jobs for us. Once I got the lay of the land as an apprentice (but Im second generation ironworker, and I do know a lot about how it all works), I never considered working here until retirement as an option.

So I bought a welder and started a side business. My wife has a thankfully steady job, but also has her own little crafting and sewing thing going on. Diversified income is the only thing Ive seen so far that truly resists recession and depression. We intend on selling herbs and veggies this year too.
Dale Hodgins
pollinator

Joined: Jul 28, 2011
Posts: 4034
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
    
  57
Sandra Ellane wrote:Hi Dale,

Detroit is a good example- so many out of work back there and many are holding out for the auto industry to come back. I've heard of efforts to reclaim the vacant city lots for farming. If they could break their paradigm and take a fresh look at what resources they have, who knows what they could come with. (permaculture principle right? no such thing as a problem- you just have an unused resource :grin. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Years ago I watched Micheal Moore's first movie "Roger and Me". While the gist of the movie was that these people were hung out to dry by GM , I found it comically shocking that so many failed to take matters into their own hands and move on. Reminds me of pets who wait to be fed by an owner who has died. There was a lady who had taken to raising rabbits. Funnniest "strait man"ever and she was oblivious.
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
Dale Hodgins wrote: Reminds me of pets who wait to be fed by an owner who has died.


I think certain locales and industries tend to breed a certain attitude. I think the "factory town" tends to breed "factory people" who expect to be maintained by the factory forever. So change is very very difficult for them. They've never had to fend for themselves, so to speak. Same with most people who have had the same job for a long time, they just expect it to last forever....


Idle dreamer

Dale Hodgins
pollinator

Joined: Jul 28, 2011
Posts: 4034
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
    
  57
My ex wife's friend had a boyfriend named Brent. They came for a visit and he was ecstatic because he had " just gotten in at the mill." He considerded it a lifetime job, working at a poisonous paper mill.He would never have to think again.
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
Dale Hodgins wrote:He would never have to think again.


Bingo!

Dale Hodgins
pollinator

Joined: Jul 28, 2011
Posts: 4034
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
    
  57
Are you the artist formerly known as Ludi Tyler?
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
Shhhh!

 
 
subject: Don't Flog a Dead Horse---Labour wasted on dying businesses
 
cast iron skillet 49er

more from paul wheaton's glorious empire of web junk: cast iron skillet diatomaceous earth sepp holzer raised garden beds raising chickens lawn care flea control missoula electric heaters permaculture videos permaculture books