I don’t need to tell ya – times are tough. All over.
Every day, I talk to friends who have been with their current employer for ten years or more, either on the hunt for a new job or fearful that their job is in jeopardy.
Friends with a wealth of experience – smart, loyal, dedicated to their professions.
All fearful of the uncertainty the future holds and what this will mean for them, and for their families.
It’s been said – a recession is when someone you know loses their job; a depression is when YOU lose YOURS.
I think it’s fair to say, that for most of my contemporaries – that is, folks who came onto the job market in the early 1980s – this is by far the toughest job and economic environment we’ve faced in our professional lives.
And no one really knows where the bottom is, or where the next shoe will drop.
I’ve been doing what I do now for about 25 years or so. And doing so as the head of my own company for the past almost thirteen years.
Even in good times, the fear of failure has been a tremendous motivator for me. In one sense, it has been my traveling companion for many years. I say that like it’s a bad thing; it’s not, really. It’s simply the way it is.
I’m just used to the fact that unless I’m out there selling every day, that unless I am constantly marketing, if I don’t show up consistently, if I don’t grow continually, if I don’t execute each and every time… I’m toast.
But for a lot of my friends, friends who have been with maybe one or two employers their entire professional career (don’t laugh – it USED to be normal), this is probably the most stressed that they have ever been. Ever.
I really struggle for words of comfort to share with them. Words with meaning and solace.
And I guess, my only useful advice, is that every day you gotta get up, and DO. Do something constructive. Network with friends. Use slack time to learn a new skill. Go out on a limb and take on a project WAY outside your comfort level. Build something on spec. Mentor someone. Talk to a counselor.
No one is immune to this market. And I honestly gotta tell you, not a day goes by that I’m not worried that things can totally go to Hell.
But it doesn’t rule my business approach, and it doesn’t rule my reason, and it doesn’t rule my judgment.
It simply makes me aware that every day I need to be generating the maximum amount of value in everything that I do, so that I can keep doing what I do, the way I want to do it.
And that is motivation enough.