Your six-word recession: heart wrenching, funny, revealing

You did it. You captured the pain, wry humor and resilience of surviving the Great Recession. In six words (mostly).

I wasn’t sure what we’d get when we asked MinnEcon readers and Minnesotans in MPR’s Public Insight Network to describe their recession experience in six words. More than 150 200 responded.


You gave us a revealing look at life in Minnesota in this recession. Let’s keep it going. If you haven’t tried it yet, give it a shot and describe your recession in six words.

My colleague Molly Bloom was intrigued by these responses from our Network:

“Holding my breath, survivor’s guilt, re-evaluating,” wrote Shane Baker, a Rochester teacher.

“I’ve fallen and I can’t get back up (yet),” said Todd Lewandoski a former airline pilot from West. St. Paul. “Very profitable airline suddenly closed,” he added. “Airline retirement raised from sixty to sixty five combined with the economy means no jobs for at least two more years.” He’s now pursuing a nursing degree.

Check out the wordle that Steve Mullis, MPR’s associate online editor, built from the responses we got from our Network, from the Web site posts and from responses this morning to MPR’s Today’s Question.

A wordle creates a visual image where the words that are used most are the largest.

Mullis was struck by two words that ended up fairly prominent: “Back home.”

That’s been a recurring theme we’ve heard from the Network during the recession — adult children, damaged financially in the recession, moving home with parents and relatives.

We’ve posted on that before. Today, Kerri Miller and the Midmorning program took a deep look at the issue.

Many of the words in the Wordle  need little explanation. Job. Debt. Broke.

But I have to say I was struck by the size of the word “fortunate.”

OK, now it’s your turn. Sum up your recession in six words. Or you can just post something below.

Here are my six: Surviving on journalism despite average skills.

Below are the responses Mullis found intriguing. Take a look. Are you in there?

“Graduating has never been so terrifying.”

“Old job vanished. Fortuitously, new job.”

“We don’t mind Mac & Cheese.”

“I’d like to be Joe Mauer.”

“keep crappy job at all costs.”

“Me: Poor. You: Same. Us: Exhausted.”

NOTE: Our efforts were inspired by SMITH Magazine’s ongoing Six-Word Memoir project.

  • Sutton Stewart

    I graduated last May, found a job in my desired profession over the summer, and am now in the midst of paying back student loans, establishing credit and savings, and basically starting everything anew in my life. Here, then, are my six words:

    Keep working- will it end soon?

  • Michael

    intellectually long anticipated, emotionally depressingly cathartic.

  • Roswitha C. Hilse

    Economy? Still sucks;

    yet has advantages!!! (also)

  • Elizabeth

    people with jobs are working harder …. (it’s an employer’s market!)

  • Ellen

    Wish I had something to eat. . .

  • Jerry

    health care for all, Make it work!

  • Mike

    Government, insurance, is it really going to better & cheaper?