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May 11, 2009

My Turn: Recession can't keep Empire State down


This week's "My turn" column is by tax accountant George McClain.

I love New York. I was born in New York, raised in New York, and am now running my business in New York. New York is the Empire State, always has been, always will be.

I'm optimistic that our state is going to come through this little recession with flying colors. Don't forget: this Empire State built the Empire State Building during the Great Depression of the 1930s. It was an accomplishment known around the world and admired by all.

Although the state Legislature has been blamed for being the most dysfunctional of all the states, I do have to say that I, personally, like my individual representatives.

Which brings me to thoughts of how we are going to recover, and when are we going to recover from this recession. Keep in touch on a regular basis with your representatives in the Assembly and the Senate. Call, write or e-mail, and offer constructive criticism.

For example, if you find time on your hands, get off the couch and volunteer for a worthwhile organization. This is a form of networking that may lead to full-time employment. If you are on lay-off status, your job search should be 40 hours a week, just as if you are working, because a job search is work in itself.

On your resume, you can put that you are volunteering for several organizations while on your search. I am certain that this will impress a potential employer. It is quite possible that the person interviewing you is fond of the organization with which you are volunteering.

The state Department of Labor is offering training and retraining funds and academic instruction. Here is where we New Yorkers think outside of the box: If your old job is gone, let's retrain you for a whole new career. Contact your local job service for details.

Some of us have the entrepreneurial spirit that has always been predominant in this Empire State. If you have found a need, if you have discovered a market, don't hesitate to fill that need and sell in that market. Is this risky? Yes, it is, but that's what makes us capitalists.

We need to look to each other for the real stimulus. Do business with your clients, keep an open mind, and take care of your employees.

As an employer, you have the responsibilities to provide them with a living wage, health insurance, and a safe working environment.

As an employee, you have the responsibilities to arrive on time, work as best you can, share information and ensure your company makes enough of a profit so that your job is secure.

That's right; it's a two-way street: management and labor working together, not opposed.

It's true that our Empire State has lost hundreds of thousands of jobs in the last few years. The important thing is that we have recognized this and attempts are being made to stop the hemorrhage of skilled young people.

There are some who will say that there is no longer a genuine opportunity to succeed in business in New York state. I disagree. Success is measured by the determination of the company's management.

To all those naysayers and those crying doomsday, I say look at our track record. Look what we have done and can do. Certainly we do have problems now, but we're trying to solve them, and in time, we shall. This is what makes us the Empire State, and this is why I love New York.

To write for "My turn," contact Daily Star Publisher Tanya Shalor at tshalor@thedailystar.com or 432-1000, ext. 214.