An economic recession is difficult on a personal level. I know several people who are looking for work right now, and still more who are worried about whether their job – or even their entire company – will exist next week.
That said, slow economic times provide a chance to make needed corrections. In his pro-stimulus stand up act at last week’s Democrat retreat, President Obama mentioned our economy losing trillions in demand. The stimulus, he said, is a way to artificially create demand.
There are, however, industries which are growing by leaps and bounds. Aging baby boomers are making assisted living and home health care major growth industries. Demand for office administrative services is growing – probably because top-heavy companies are recognizing that two or more cheap, administrative-level workers get more work done than an expensive partner-level executive. Outplacement firms are booming, helping laid-off workers with career changes.
I’ve worked at a company that went through what was called a “right-sizing” – and while some employees saw that term as a euphemism for down-sizing, it seemed appropriate to me. Tough times force belt-tightening and discipline – whether in personal finances or a national economy. It promotes efficiency. And the industries that thrive are usually stronger because they find demand that transcends the difficult times – versus boom industries, like late-1990’s dot-coms or mid 2000s real estate, that are based on people gambling to make a quick buck.
I drive less now than I did a year ago. The $4/gallon gas prices this summer led me to be more economical, and now I fill my gas tank usually about twice a month and no more. Similarly, I spend money a lot more intelligently now than I did four or five years ago with the knowledge that, even if I don’t get laid off, raises and bonuses that I was used to in the past may not be available now – realities also make me work harder and strive to expand my job-related knowledge.
As I work with fellow conservative activists to build new organizations, we realize that we cannot rely on an influx of donations to help fund our efforts so we must be streamlined and put an emphasis on providing a deliverable service to potential donors.
Tough times are leading to the development of good habits for me. Hopefully the same will be true nationally.