Monday, January 19, 2009

The Economic Crash

This whole economic downfall has always seemed to be at arms length. Clearly, I am working in the world of academia and Universities are possibly the only institutions to benefit from an economic downfall. Even in Germany, with tuition, enrollment is up and all openings in our department are currently filled. However, yesterday I learned that Circuit City is going out of business. This one really schocked me both because of their history and reputation but also because of how it is presented on their website. There is a letter explaining the situation and attempting to answer FAQs. In the aforementioned letter, it outlines that Circuit City employs 34,000 people in the US and all will eventually lose their jobs with 60 days pay but some will stay on during the liquidation process which began January 17th and is estimated to end in March, a period of about 60 days give or take. In less than 3 months, the company will no longer exist in the US (they will continue to operate in Canada where they have 3,200 employees and several hundred stores according to the website) and 34,000 people will be added to the unemployment roster. This is a huge hit on the economy and the unemployment pool. I can't imagine unemployment will have the funds to continue paying everyone looking for benefits in such a time. Which leaves me with many questions; What is the next step? Where is the bottom? What can I do to protect myself? In a time like this, even a savings account is not immune to the anticipated deflation of currency. Speaking of currency, the once powerful British Pound is currently valued at 1.10 EUR, I've never seen these two curriencies so close since the introduction of the euro (I'm not saying it hasen't happened before but not since I started paying attention circa 2002). The world's economy is seriously depressing me today.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Over Caffeinated and Under Focused

I know I shouldn't be over caffeinated and currently drinking a cappuccino but, you must understand the circumstances. First of all it is COLD, and I'm not exaggerating, the temperature has been below zero (Celsius) for over a week solid as evidenced by the snow that fell last Monday morning (welcome back from Christmas vacation) and still covers the ground 9 days later with no sign of melting. So warm drinks are eagerly welcomed by my body. Secondly, my boss has been home sick since late last week and I'm impatiently awaiting her feedback to a paper I wrote (my first) for submission to an international conference. The submission deadline is TODAY. I also have loads of PowerPoint slides to make before I can visit my family (recall that I spent Christmas in Germany) the last week in January as they need to be completed by Feb. 2nd and I arrive in Germany the morning of. Needless to say my finger nails have no chance of survival under such circumstances so I've turned to caffeine (not healthy) and sport (better) to relieve some of my tension and stress. Either way, I can't concentrate on my slides until this paper is officially submitted correctly so I impatiently await the feedback and try to plan out my slides with as little distraction as possible. Clearly it's not working as I'm blogging is not part of the slide making process.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Walking on Eggshells

I learned a bit about German sensitivity yesterday. Tasked with creating "sexy" titles for each week's topic in our upcoming Marketing course, I thought it would be interesting to change International Marketing theory to "The Theory Behind World Domination." This was one of 14 titles and the only complaint I could foresee was that it was too cheesy. Well, when I showed my co-collaborator, it was the first title he wanted to discuss. Apparently you can't use phrases like world domination so freely when dealing with a German audience. Something about the history of German leadership wanting to take over the world...oops!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt

It took me, three Christmas seasons in Germany but I finallz made it to the Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg. This is THE Christmas market known around the world, the one where you meet the most tourists and the fewest Germans. Don't quote me on that ratio but we did hear English, French, Italian and Japanese while there. After hearing so much about Nuremburg from my parents, friends' parents, former residents and friends, I had high expectations for this evening but not too high as I didn't want to ruin the evening. I'm sure you are dying to hear what I thought Overall, I would reccommend it but not if you can only choose one Christmas market to go to in Germany. I consider myself an experienced Christmarket go-er and Nuremburg was very different than all the otheres. It was the biggiest I've visited, although Lubeck is a close second. We were there on a cold, rainy, Sunday which, I think kept crowds low but it was still bretty busy. Christmas markets usually have interesting "specialty" food stands and we intended to eat dinner there. However, in Nuremburg you could pretty much get Nuremburger wursts (3 small sausages in a roll). Not that these are bad, I'm just not a wurst kind of girl and was looking for a little variety. We found one stand selling corn on the cob which made me think they may have something interesting but they only sold 1/2 meter wursts and frikdelle (what would result if a hamburger could breed with a meatball). I chose the latter and gave up my desire for an exotic dinner. In addition to a less than desirable food selection, there was a limeted selection of booths, Not including the international sister city booths where Atlanta was represented by Coke T-shirts, peanut butter, Betty Crocker and hard apple cider unfortunately not the authentic American version) staffed by a very friendly Georgian woman. For German booths, the selection was a bit repetitive. Basically there were the aforementioned sausages, lebkuchen (like gingerbread and considered a local specialty even though you can get it throughout the country), prune men, christmas ornaments and the standard candy booths. Overall, I'm so lad we went and it was not disapointed with the exception of starbucks for closing just when we were excited to get out of the rain and enjoy a Christmas latte.