Location, location, location; is what the real estate people say affects a home's value. Context, context;can make a decision difficult. I have a large family, and my income is the only one we have. Usually I work for myself, I run a one man sign shop. Very recently, three weeks passed without a significant job; and things weren't great prior to that.
Then I got a call from a contractor that I've done a number of jobs for in the last couple of years. The work has been part of commercial cosmetic renovation for Knoxville businesses. They call me for hand lettering. I knew that the work was funded largely by local government; the store owner pays a percentage of the total bill, something like 10 or 20 percent, the government picks up the rest. I'm not really wild about government being involved in this sort of thing at all, considering how much I've been influenced by Libertarian thought; but at least the local and state bodies in Tennessee do a better job of living within their means than the Federal government.
As time has passed, I have slowly learned that the money is Federal grant money. To say that those guys spend money they don't have would be an understatement. I was reluctant to participate, but I've learned a few things along life's passage. One is to be sure of the facts, another is to consider things from a different perspective. I thought that maybe it's not my job to find out where the money comes from, it's just a contractor calling for my services. Another thought is that at least it's not a handout, I'm actually working for it, in fact, I made a point of giving them a very good return on what was spent. Also, one could consider the aspect of submitting to government and authority.
Still, what if ten years from now I had to look a 25 year old in the eye and explain why I made a living at the expense of him living in a very wrecked economy. “Well, er, blah, blah, blah...” That's what all the above reasoning will sound like, the fact is that I was just another partaker in the whole scheme-scam. So I turned the latest job down, on the grounds that it was irresponsible and maybe even robbery.
It was a trying decision. The way things have been, I actually wonder if we could live without one or more of our utilities. Phone? No, if work does come in, that's most likely how it will. Internet? No, I've got good contacts from my web page, and I need to be able to send emails. Electricity? No, laundry would pile up really high, and food preservation would be difficult to learn and do. There are times when our $65 phone bill is repeatedly $100 because we have to continually pay the reconnect fee.
I'm not trying to be depressing, or elicit sympathy, just trying to let you know the context of this decision.
So often a decision is between difficult A, and difficult B. Then, after you make it, others around you think you decided wrong.. There you are, alone, and wondering. The phone doesn't ring 10 minutes later with a great paying job; as though God was saying, well done, you passed the test.
A couple of introspective days pass, but I've had some ideas about using the history of this area to promote tourism and create jobs for those with less work than me. I was meeting a neighbor, asking about history, and a generalized conversation ensued. They asked what I would charge to paint their house. I gave them a price, and got a more than a week's worth of work. As it turns out, I might just like painting houses as much or more than signs, at least in terms of the business complexity. A few other sign jobs have come in, we're OK.
Remember the future generations.