Economic times are tough, we’ve all said it, heard it, listened to the news folks blabber on about it for days. Most of us I imagine are beyond sick of it.

This is not about the state of the economy, but about the way of the people. It’s about the shift in attitudes, buying patterns and consumer preferences. I worked at Fedex Kinkos for about two years making less than a livable wage, and trying to support my wife and son. My wife’s income was little more than her financial aid for school. Needless to say money was scarce and working at a dead end job after having just dropped out of school didn’t do much for my self worth. To combat thinking about the seemingly meaningless of my situation, I did little things to feel better about myself. Little well sometimes little purchases and going to to dinners I couldn’t really afford.

I was lucky enough to be given a “real” job at the University as a web programmer and my income more than doubled. My attitude changed my purchases nearly stopped. I suppose it’s a simple case of having another method of self esteem boosting. But whats interesting is I’m starting to see similar behavior in the people around me due to changing economic times, especially for folks who had no financial problems before and are now finding themselves struggling a little to stay afloat. I’m not talking necessarily about dire times and desperate measures, but I see that same need to fill the void.

The behavior while not necessarily problematic or destructive certainly isn’t the best way to deal with the problems that face us. I still recognize this in myself sometimes when I’m low on money or I can’t seem to make things at the office work the way I want them too. It’s interesting to see how we react when placed in difficult situations, or situations that we can’t control.