Chris Wiegman Chris Wiegman

Is Winter Coming, Again?

I don’t feel very old but, looking back, it’s undeniable how much of my adult life has been shaped by recession.

When I first went to college I wanted nothing more than to be a pilot. I succeeded and, on September 11, 2001, I began my first day as a professional pilot as a flight instructor for my alma mater, Southern Illinois University. The recession that followed that day left me at the school for two years past my graduation as there were no flying jobs to be had. For peanuts, and extra student loan debt, I got through it by continuing to flight instruct in hopes of better days.

Fast forward to 2007 and once again the writing was on the wall for another recession. I had the choice of a bigger airline job or going back to school so, once again, I rode out the next few years at Southern Illinois University and rode out another recession that would have seen the pilot job I could have taken evaporate like the careers of so many of my other pilot friends.

While I was lucky in having a place to go in 2007 I also realized it was time to move on to a more stable career and, instead of flight instructing again (which I did for a little while, but that’s a different story) I took the opportunity to pivot into tech with a fresh graduate degree in Computer Science. This would be my ticket to actually move ahead in life instead of just getting by from paycheck to paycheck between recessions.

For ten years I’ve had it pretty good. Today I make great money working for a company I enjoy in a career that makes me feel like I’m actually accomplishing something, all feats I never could achieve in aviation.

Now there are new clouds on the horizon though. The stock market is dropping, inflation is rising and the prospect of an upcoming recession seems all but assured. This leaves me asking how this will affect my career this time?

While I work for a 10 year old company but we’re already seeing layoffs in tech. How long until I’m one of them? Yes, I’m a pessimistic person by nature but that caution has rarely proven me wrong and I don’t have good vibes about the coming months and years.

What will my career look like in the coming months or years? Will I even have one to look at?

At 43 years old I’m old enough to realize that, even with a good job, I’ll probably never be able to afford to retire as a US resident. Even if my job survives this my retirement accounts are already falling fast and there will be no safety net by the time I should be old enough to retire.

Now I wonder if I’ll even make it that far. Will the coming recession allow me to keep my career, my house, anything we’ve worked for or will all that evaporate?

I don’t know the answers to this anymore than anyone else. What I do know is history has not been kind to my dreams or my career during recessions and I’m getting a really bad feeling about this one.

The temperature is dropping, the clouds are rolling in and I really do feel like Winter is coming, again.