The big news this week is that the economy isn’t bouncing back like we hoped. It looks like we’re settling into a long slow process for recovery. I think people are finally beginning to see that things are changing. Again. And maybe this time in a bigger way.
This recession feels like it’s going to be around for a few years. Think about it. The last time the economy tanked in a big way it took over ten years to bounce back. They called that one the Great Depression. And now people are calling this the Great Recession. So let’s figure since it’s only a recession it will only take half as long to get out of.
But when you spend a bunch of years in a different set of circumstances, things change. People’s behaviors and expectations adapt to changing circumstances. This is a good thing. Because right now you may be thinking, “Why me? Why did this have to happen on my watch?” The only answer I have is: just because.
We have a choice to roll with what our era brings us, or to resist it. And you know the old saying: “resistance is futile.” None of us can control forces as big as the economy, but we can adapt. So rather than wishing for jobs or a life just like it was in the 20th Century, it’s a much better deal to recreate ourselves. I know that sounds like work, but let’s look at why it’s worth the effort.
Take the status of the typewriter today. We all laugh at it as a dinosaur, when in fact it only bit the dust about thirty years ago. I banged my way through college and grad school on an Olympus and IBM Selectric, knowing I was at the forefront of typewriter technology. So imagine sitting at the pinnacle of the typewriter business in 1980. Then along comes the PC. And you’re business is dead. That simple.
Things change, and recessions grind on. Rather than look at this as a depressing phenomenon, it’s time to accept it. There are days when I don’t like it any more than you do. Like going to a conference in a new industry, and thinking, holy cow, I’ve done this before, do I really have to start all over again? Be a beginner again? And the answer is yes. Mostly because, even though I can complain with the best of them, I like new challenges, and this century is proving to us that being good at reinventing ourselves is a handy skill.
This recession is here to stay for a while. So start digging for your best skills, and finding new ways to apply them. This includes the skill of adapting our attitudes and expectations for how we look at life, career, and how to be happy. We’re all figuring this out together, so let’s start a discussion about ways we are succeeding, as well as sharing ways we’re screwing it up. That teaches us even more. Unfortunately!