Ways North Dakotans Can Survive The Coming Great Depression

In my previous blog post article about another Great Depression coming to western North Dakota, I explained the causes of the Great Depression that began in 1929 due to the Stock Market Crash, Bank failures, high unemployment, foreclosures, and a severe drought in the
Great Plains. In my previous article I listed eight current factors that will lead to another Great Depression in western North Dakota.

I do not like North Dakotans very much, mostly because of how they treated out-of-state workers during the oil boom, because they resist listening to advice or reason, and they either can’t or won’t take a look at themselves and make corrections.

For instance, because it costs $40,000 per year to keep someone in prison in North Dakota, and $1,400 per year to put someone on probation, the Courts and Criminal Justice System in North Dakota persists in letting prolific repeat criminals run loose on “probation” because it’s “cheaper”, when in fact each of these criminals running loose infect at least ten more of their family members, friends, acquaintances, and strangers with drugs and drug crime every year that they are not in prison. As a result in places like Dickinson, about 20% of the population is involved in drug crime, and this number keeps growing.

I believe that because of the nature of people in North Dakota, most of them would not care to read my blog post article about the coming Great Depression, even though they really need to know this, it is very important that they understand what is going to happen. Therefore, I expect that even less of them would want to read my suggestions for how to survive this Great Depression. But I am going to write this anyway, I hope that it will help someone.

As I described previously and gave the reasons, there will be very high unemployment in western North Dakota. Probably something like at least 20% unemployment. Obviously there will be a lack of “jobs” and almost no companies will be hiring. Some people will not be eligible to receive unemployment compensation, and some people will exhaust their unemployment compensation. The first thing that I need to try to explain, is what can people do to make money.

The first thing that North Dakotans need to do, is begin thinking about work, employment, jobs, and making money, in a different way. Maybe some already know this, but mostly I see that many people do not, especially because of the way people behave when I try to hire them to work with me or do work for me:

There was a very popular book from the 1990s titled, “The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People”, that was based on the author’s study of many very successful people.  His first “habit” or piece of advice was “Begin with the end in mind”.  What this means is, to understand clearly what your end goal is, and base all of your actions and behavior on this.

So, if there is a Great Depression with very high unemployment and no jobs, what is your end goal?  Some examples might be, “to survive”, “to feed my family”, “to not lose my home”, “to have money”, “to make money”, “to find a way to make money”.

Beginning with an end goal of “to survive” or “to make money”, a person needs to base all of their behavior and actions on this.  A person needs to look at work, a job, employment as a means to their end goal, “to survive” or “to make money”, the job or the work itself is not the end goal.

The reason why I said a few paragraphs previously that North Dakotans need to begin thinking about work, employment, jobs, and making money, in a different way, is because they do not “begin with the end in mind”, they think and act like the job is the end goal, it isn’t, especially when the end goal is “to survive”.

Why do I say this?  Some examples.  Several times, I have tried to get North Dakotans hired to work with me, who were currently unemployed, without any job prospects.  At first, they were grateful to get hired, and looked forward to their paychecks.  Sometimes within a few days, sometimes within a few months, I began to hear from them, “That’s not part of my job”,  “I should get paid to do this”, “I should get paid for my gas to drive to work”, “I don’t like driving this far to work”, “I should be paid more money”, “I shouldn’t have to work on holidays”, and they start to complain and become so uncooperative that they lose this job.  And then, they are out of work again with no income.

In these true examples of me getting North Dakotans hired to work with me, these people have been in a very, very bad financial situation, they get hired, they get back on their feet, they lose their job by their own actions, and then within a few weeks or a few months they are right back in the same desperate financial situation with no job.

If your end goal is “to survive” or “to make money”, you can not look at your job as something that is supposed to provide you with entertainment, enjoyment, a chance to meet people, an opportunity to socialize, a place to make friends, a source of fun, a boost to your self-esteem, build your ego, express your views, or coincide with how you see yourself.

Another fault that I mentioned about North Dakotans up above, was that they either can’t or won’t take a look at themselves and make corrections.  So beginning with the end in mind, “to survive” or “to make money”,  they need to begin looking at themselves FROM THE EMPLOYER’S POINT OF VIEW.

FROM THE EMPLOYER’S POINT OF VIEW, he mostly just wants to continue making money, this is his end goal.  If an employee is going to show up to work on time, not miss work, do what they are supposed to do, not cause conflict with the customer, not cause trouble with co-workers, this is what the EMPLOYER WANTS.  The EMPLOYER does not care if you are entertained at work, if this work is what you see yourself doing, if this work gives you a chance to express your opinions, if this work gives you the chance to make friends, if this work is a long drive for you, if you have to spend a lot of money on gas.  If you don’t want this job, the EMPLOYER doesn’t want you, you are getting in the way of his end goal to make money.

It is very, very important for North Dakotans to begin with the end in mind, “to survive” or “to make money”, to base their actions and their behavior on this end goal, to look at themselves through the eyes of an employer, and his end goal to make money.  The job itself is not the end goal, nor is being entertained, nor is doing what you want, nor is doing what you like, or voicing your opinion or beliefs at work, and none of these things is the end goal of the EMPLOYER.

In the coming Great Depression in western North Dakota, with unemployment at around 20% and very few job openings, North Dakotans will have to take whatever job they can get.  It won’t matter if they don’t like this job or anything about this job, they will have to take whatever job that they can get, if their end goal is to survive.

Many jobs will have reduced hours, or not be full-time.  These jobs will not have health benefits or 401K.  Everyone who wants to survive, needs to understand that they may have to seek multiple part-time jobs, temporary jobs, day-labor jobs, and plan on doing self-employed side-jobs.

I am not going to go through a list of existing employers in western North Dakota, and try to explain which ones will close, which ones will have reduced work hours, which ones will have layoffs, you should expect that they all will.  It would probably be a good idea to begin learning about and understanding the who, what, and where of all businesses and employers in this area on your own.

The two temporary staffing companies in Dickinson that I am aware of, both located downtown, are the “Command Center” and “UCP Personnel Services”.  In my opinion, the Command Center hires more physical-labor construction type people, and UCP Personnel Services hires more skilled or semi-skilled temporary workers for companies that are both construction and non-construction related.

In the past I have worked through UCP Personnel Services to perform traffic flagging on road construction projects, where I was paid about $17 per hour for 12-hour work days, and I was later offered full-time employment by the road construction company for being reliable.  Friends of mine have worked for Command Center where they also did traffic flagging, shoveling snow for homeowners, and moving furniture for homeowners.

My friends who have worked for temporary labor companies and people who I have worked with at temporary labor companies have been welders, electricians, truck drivers, carpenters, college students, and people with masters degrees.  They are not all so called “rent-a-drunk” people, but some of these workers do have problems.

Another thing that happens at temporary labor companies, is certain employers or citizens come to the labor company seeking work that the labor company can not place workers in, due to it being outside what is allowed by their workers compensation insurance, where the labor company says to the workers, go do this on your own if you want, it’s between you and them.

What I am going to cover last, is probably the most important information, what readers probably wanted to hear in the first place, how to make money on your own.

For the past 15 years, since I was about 36 years old, I have done self-employed work, sometimes as my only source of income, and sometimes as side-work in addition to my full-time job working for someone else.  Looking back on this, I enjoyed both my self-employed work and my full-time job the most, when I did both of these things at the same time.

When I had both a full-time job and self-employed side-work, I had a sense of security, if one job didn’t work out, I had the other to fall back on.  Clients seemed to have more respect, confidence, and belief in my pricing, because I was working full-time at a regular job like a normal person, and just doing side-jobs to make a little extra money.

When the Great Depression hits western North Dakota, if you want to survive, you will want to hang on to your regular job as hard as you can, because it will be so difficult to find a replacement job.  If your regular job begins to have reduced hours, you may have to seek an additional part-time job.  Eventually you may have multiple part-time jobs.  Or, you may have to begin doing self-employed side-jobs.

I partly do not like explaining this, because there are so many drug-addict criminals and naer-do-wells in Dickinson, that this information is going to cause problems.  Probably very soon after I write this, the Police, Sheriffs, City Commissioners, and County Commissioners will have to come up with and enforce what are known as “Green River Laws”.

“A Green River Ordinance is a common United States city ordinance prohibiting door-to-door solicitation. Under such an ordinance, it is illegal for any business to sell their items door-to-door without express prior permission from the household.  Green River was the first city to enact this law in 1931.”

I want to begin by saying that if you are a drug-addict criminal, this is not going to work for you in western North Dakota.  Within about 20-30 minutes of you trying this, the Police are going to be called on you, the same as if you were trying to break into a house, that is what you are going to be accused of if you show up at someone’s house that you do not know.

For the people that are interested in doing self-employed side-jobs, the following is an explanation, guidelines, rules, and suggestions.

There are many types of work that you can do for other people, that they will gladly pay for, that they wanted done.  In a way, it’s just a matter of reminding them, be willing to do it for them, for the right price.

You can think of anything, but I am going to give a few examples that are easy for me to explain.  These types of jobs have many similarities: painting, window cleaning, mowing, snow removal, gutter cleaning, leaf raking, tree trimming, junk haul away.

The telephone book and the internet has all kinds of listings and advertisements for painters, window cleaners, lawn care, and tree trimming.  But people are lazy, they procrastinate, and they don’t like to spend money, so they put things off.

People do not like telemarketers, sales calls, spam emails, solicitors, or strangers showing up at their house.  But there is a way around this, which people do not mind.  And this is, leaving a short, clear, estimate/offer in their door for a specific job, like this:

My name is Wiggly Anderson.  I do side-work outside of my regular job at the Family Dollar.  I saw that you have a front yard full of leaves.  I can rake up and bag the leaves in your front yard for $125, I think that it would take me about 4-6 hours.  Please give me a call if you want me to do this at 701-111-2222.  Thank you.  References available.

The reason why people do not get mad at this type of estimate/offer being left in their door, and finding it when they get home, is because it is an offer to do something for them which they already knew had to be done.  They didn’t know if and when they would have the time to rake their leaves, but now they know about how long it would take, and about how much it would cost.  They aren’t mad that you were offering to do this for $125, even if they think they could get someone to do it for $80, it’s just an offer, it’s not a trick or a scam.

In this first example, this was an offer to do something simple, that didn’t require much skill, equipment, expertise, risk anything being damaged, or anyone being injured.  Also, this was a task that is not difficult to be accomplished or completed.  Please note that Wiggly Anderson was careful to define the extent of leaf raking and bagging to the “front yard” for $125, and Wiggly didn’t say anything about hauling it to the dump, which he probably should mention beforehand just to be clear.

Another example:

My name is Wiggly Anderson.  I do side-work outside of my regular job at the Family Dollar.  I saw that you might have leaves stuck in your roof gutters.  I can bring a ladder, and scoop out your roof gutters into a bucket as I work my way around the sides of your house.

I think that it would take me about 5-7 hours to scoop out your gutters.  I can do this work for $150.  Please give me a call if you want me to do this at 701-111-2222.  Thank you.  References available.

Again, if a homeowner came home and found this estimate/offer in their door, they most likely would not be angry, as they probably already knew that they had leaves in their roof gutters.  Wiggly Anderson is offering to do a specific job, for a set price, which the homeowner can accept, ignore, or save for later.  It doesn’t appear to be a trick or a scam.

In this roof gutter example, there is a risk that Wiggly Anderson could fall off a ladder and get hurt, and the homeowner does not want to be sued for Wiggly getting injured, so they might ask if Wiggly Anderson has insurance.  On the internet, you can look up and copy liability/injury waivers that are documents people sign to not hold others liable for their injuries. 

Last example, Window Cleaning:

My name is Wiggly Anderson.  I do window cleaning outside of my regular job at the Family Dollar. 

I saw that you have many large custom windows that had tree pollen blown onto them.

I can wash all of your windows on the outside using your garden hose and spray nozzle with the screens on, then remove all the screens, then clean the exterior of all the windows with Windex and a squeegee, then put back all the screens for a total of $350.

Please give me a call if you want me to do this at 701-111-2222.  Thank you.  References available.

In this last example, as in the other two examples, the homeowner is likely not going to be angry that this estimate/offer was left in their door.  They probably already know that their windows are dirty, and would like for their windows to be cleaned.  They will probably use Wiggly Anderson’s estimate as a comparison for what they have been charged before by other window cleaners, or seek out estimates from other window cleaners listed in the phone book.

Please note five very important things in window cleaning: there is the risk that Wiggly could fall off a ladder and become injured;  there is the risk that Wiggly could break a very expensive window; there is the risk that the homeowner will not be satisfied with the clarity of the windows; the homeowner could mistakenly think that Wiggly was supposed to come inside the house and clean all the windows on the inside too; if Wiggly did go inside the house he could be accused of property theft or property damage, such as breaking a $500 vase and end up owing more money than he was supposed to be paid for the entire job.  (This is why I personally would not do window cleaning, especially the risk of property damage and people being unhappy about windows not being spotless.)

In all of these types of side-jobs, painting, window cleaning, mowing, snow removal, gutter cleaning, leaf raking, tree trimming, junk haul away, it is not uncommon for the homeowner or the business owner customer to ask if you are willing to do other types of work.

In all of these side-jobs, it is not unusual for the homeowner or the business owner customer to ask you if you want a piece of equipment, furniture, or other items that they no longer want.  In my side-jobs, I have gotten good deals on two trucks, one Jeep, and two motorcycles that the homeowner did not want.  You get the chance to see vehicles, motorcycles, boats, trailers, and equipment in customers’ backyards that they do not want anymore, that no one else knew they had.

I will conclude with some rules that you should  follow in doing self-employed work and side-work.  If you are an established, licensed, and insured contractor with an official place of business that you operate out of, it is probably justifiable to have a contract for large jobs where a portion of the job cost is paid up-front when the job is started.  Or, for some types of work, it may be justifiable to have the customer pay for the job materials separate from the work that is to be performed.

However, because so many drug-addict criminals and gypsy scam artists persuade customers to pay for material costs or the job cost ahead of time, and then never show up to start the work, I never asked customers to pay me until the job was completed.  The customers did not have very much stress or reason to complain as the work was being performed, because they hadn’t paid for anything yet.

The customer’s home or place of business is not your home or your property.  They allow you on their property solely for you to complete your work, hopefully as quickly as possible.  Do not bring your wife, kid, girlfriend, dog, friend, or questionable workers onto other people’s property.  Do not bring your problems, arguments, loud phone calls, loud mouth, bad habits, or personality onto other people’s property.

Perform your self-employed work or side-work like this is your company.  Do what you said you would do, or even a little more than what was agreed.  Keep your work area clean and clean up all your debris, tools, and equipment at the end of every day, even if you will be back the following day.  Work the hours and the days that you said you were going to work. 

Do not become too familiar, too personal, too comfortable, or too relaxed with your customer.  If you maintain professionalism, do what you said you would or a little extra, abide by your price estimate, be careful and competent, keep your work area clean, in return you will often receive extra pay, requests for additional work, work referrals to customer’s friends, offers of free equipment and items no longer wanted, offers of good deals on backyard vehicles, motorcycles, boats, RVs, trailers, and equipment.

One last thing, in my three estimate/offer examples given above, the first job was $125, the second job was $150, and the third job was $350.  If you think you are going to turn your nose up at this type of work, if you don’t get this thinking out of your head very soon, you are going to end up having your vehicle repossessed and getting evicted from your home because you didn’t figure out reality quick enough.  

My friends and the people I met working at the day-labor places in Dickinson, the welder, the electrician, truck driver, carpenter, and person with a masters degree, at one time they were paid $20-$40 per hour, they used to make that much.  Because they had this idea stuck in their head about how much they were worth or how much they should be paid, they sat around too long waiting and ended up losing their home and their vehicle.  This would not have happened if they would have taken part-time jobs, day-labor, and side-jobs right away.

Part-time jobs, day-labor, and side-jobs keep you afloat and lead to other things.

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