A reader writes:

I was glad to hear that nice young person was doing all right in spite of the recession. It just goes to show you what a person can do with education, hard work, and a family rich enough to have cousins in Singapore, weddings in Paris, Mitzvahs in SF, graduations in NYC, and connections to land jobs with a pro sports organization in the Pacific NW. Come on. I mean, he isn't a jerk about it or anything, but filing that guy's life under 'recession' is verbal gymnastics on a par with 'enhanced interrogation'.

Another adds:

Did you notice the irony of your emailer who works for a green car sharing company now planning to take several frivolous long distance airline flights just because they're cheap? I'm not some eco-warrior advocating that we all use our bikes to cross the country, but it made me wonder how committed he is to his cause...


Reading the chipper stories from your readers who are having a "good recession" are progressively driving me insane. I've been out of work for almost four months now.

As a contractor, I didn't qualify for any sort of unemployment; I'd carefully put aside more than enough money for taxes, but on April 15th I pretty much got wiped right out. I was paid really pretty well for a year, but I relocated for this job and had a lot of initial expenses that dug into savings. I don't have the deep network here to handshake my way into a new job, and my usually-stellar CV isn't even getting phone calls (most of my work experience is overseas). And frankly, I have now officially hit panic time.

I notice that lots of your readers writing in are the survivors of staff cuts, or people who managed to take a pay cut instead of a layoff. And a few recent ones chatter about taking loads of trips now that the prices are right, or saying that even if they do get laid off, they've got savings that will last them through. Each and every one of those people should be taking a good, hard look at their financial situation and making a realistic assessment, because I also thought that I was in a good position. I was unlucky enough to be one of the first layoffs at my company, and I am ruing all of the spending I did last autumn, because it's coming back to bite me. Healthcare costs, taxes, rent, phone, electricity, all those little things add up, and all it takes is one unexpected expense and you're toast.

So all of you lucky people who managed to survive the cull, congratulations. From what I hear and am experiencing, we're not out of the woods yet. Don't waste your good luck by being stupid with your money. I'm 30 years old and haven't been out of work for more than a month since I was 18. I never, ever expected to be in the position I am now.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.