Hard times were the word for 2009

It is useful when times are hard to recall that times have been harder, and in the lifetime of people still living.

This was a hard year.

It was a year where "working for" became a danger signal. Anyone whose salary came from someone else was looking over their shoulder all year long, waiting on the lay-off notice.

And it came for millions. The year became known as the Great Recession.

Positive growth numbers returned by the third quarter, but unemployment remains stuck at 10%, and underemployment is even higher.

Hard times.

Erica Zeidenberg at Palamida recognized this in February, and offered the suggestions for what became the 2nd most-popular post on the blog all year, Open source for hard times. (I owe you, Erica.)

Erica offered a list of some good software that you can download free and get real use from. I was well acquainted with many of these programs, but some, like OpenGoo, were frankly new to me.

She didn't just line up the usual suspects, in other words. I appreciated that.

I illustrated the piece with a classic photo of the Great Depression, by John E. Allen Inc., of men trudging past a sign put up by a local chamber of commerce reading "Jobless men keep going. We can't take care of our own."

It is useful when times are hard to recall that times have been harder, and in the lifetime of people still living. My mom lived through the Great Depression. She's 86 now, and coming in next week for a visit. We'll talk about it.

If you know of any Great Depression veterans, talk to them this Christmas. They would love hearing from you. They won't be with us forever.

But when they're gone we'll have your stories and memories of them.

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