Recession Lexicon

99er n./ a person who has gone through all 99 weeks of unemployment benefits.

This is one of the sadder definitions in our recession glossary. According to a story in the New York Times several days ago, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that by June, 1.4 million people had been out of work for at least 99 weeks–the maximum time you can collect unemployment, even with all the extensions that Congress has tacked on to give people more of a safety net in tough times.

Let’s put that a different way: A population almost the size of Philadelphia has been out of work for nearly two years

n./ a memoir or novel about losing a job, a house or your life savings to the recession

Well, you know it’s been a long downturn when the book publishing industry has time to put out recession-themed fiction before the economy recovers. We read the recent New York Times story about forthcoming books…

n./ Female-run business. Also, fempreneur.

Much has been made of the fact that women fared somewhat better in the recession than men (resulting in a mancession), particularly when it came to layoffs. But new data shows that the coming decade will also see a steady increase in the number of businesses started by women….

Recession Lexicon: Dumpies

by Sara Clemence on September 23, 2009 in Culture

Recession Dictionary Entry 150n./ Downwardly mobile professionals. Closely related to nouveau poor.

The recession has created a class on the flip side of yuppie, comprised of people who are canceling gym memberships, moving from big cities back to home towns, and shopping with coupons at Bed, Bath & Beyond instead of Bergdorf’s. (If they’re shopping at all.)…

Recession Dictionary Entry 150

/n. From the Department of Strange but True: Aware of how people have been hit by the downturn, former pickpockets who are giving back by slipping cash into the pockets of unsuspecting pedestrians.

“It feels good to give something back for a change–and Britons certainly need it in the current economic climate,” Chris Fitch, a former pickpocket who is running the operation, told Reuters a couple of weeks ago…

Recession Dictionary Entry 150/v. This word popped up on the Recessionwire-inspired contest that vocabularist Ben Schott held at the New York Times website last weekend. The “official” definition, offered by a reader who goes by Hotfrostins: Extreme networking driven by the fear of potential job loss…

schotts vocab 200There have been some very smart and funny responses to the competition word maven Ben Schott has been holding this weekend at his New York Times blog. Inspired by Recessionwire’s Recession Lexicon, he asked readers to submit new, downturn-related words and phrases. Some of the early standouts are below. Thanks to Ben and his many fans!

grayoff: firing older workers to hire younger, cheaper labor in their place

cabeer: when one turns to alcohol to deal with a job loss they are starting a new cabeer…

Recession Dictionary Entry 150n./ Staycations are so 2008. This year, the trendy way to travel is vicariously, through other people’s adventures. Whether you’re unemployed and running out of savings or are working so hard to keep your job that you can’t take time off, it’s an easy way to save on airfare!

We heard this one from our friend…

Recession Dictionary Entry 150/n. What happens when the government issues coupons on cars but doesn’t use the same printing machine as it seems to for currency.

Spotted here, and in a comment on Facebook, in discussion of the cash that ran out on the government subsidy “Cash for Clunkers” program that gave consumers a $3,500 or $4,500 voucher per car for so-called gas guzzlers that could be traded in for fuel-efficient vehicles. The program was so successful at encouraging auto sales that Congress had to approve an additional $2 billion for it, on top of the initial $1 billion. But dealerships have to wade through extensive (17 pages) paperwork and face delays in getting paid by the auto giants—and some consumers lose out on vouchers that have run out. What’s more, so much for the environmental benefit since the clunkers are creating a pileup in the junkyard. No wonder some dealerships are opting out.

Ex. Dealerships are up to their ears in paperwork for the Cash for Clunkers program, and some owners will not be able to cash in after all, resulting in a general clunkerf*ck…

Recession Dictionary Entry 150/n. A person with more than one profession, such as a banker-slash-entrepreneur, or an accountant-slash-yoga instructor.

This term (perhaps first coined by Marci Alboher in her book One Person/Multiple Careers — notice the slash) reflects a major shift in thinking about work: People no longer expect to have just one career. In the recession in particular, we see “slash career” as a product of a transition or reinvention (e.g. you plan to ditch the banker or accountant altogether); maybe you’re a professional polymath who is juggling different interests talents. Or maybe the downturn has forced you to cobble together multiple sources of income, as Tina Brown described with “gig economy.” The recession has accelerated the trend.

We use slasher to describe people like some of our Lemonade Makers, including James Young, who became a real estate broker-slash-digital-entrepreneur when his business slowed dramatically last year. And it’s quickly catching on.

Nota bene: Not to be confused with actress-slash-model.

Example: What do you do for a living? I’m a slasher in dance and medicine…