As the financial markets rock and roll (mainly roll it
seems), I thought it would be good to post a few
thoughts on this here.
There have been numerous discussions of late about this
to indicate just a few...
And why not? The times, they seem uncertain; perhaps
perilous. We're in an American election cycle with some
of the highest stakes I've seen in my lifetime. And
with 24 hour news strumming the "worry wires," who can
blame us for feeling a little apprehensive?
The last time I started to feel this way was just after
the barbarians took down the World Trade Center - 911.
Back then we had an enemy-certain. We knew who to go
after and I felt good knowing that we were giving them
what they had coming.
Very quickly, the economy was rocked. And I knew that
Boeing was going to be one of the companies most
affected by the ripples from the atrocities. After
all, no one was flying airplanes and certainly no one
was buying airplanes. One of the Boeing old-timers told
me that all the airplane inventory was being moved for
long-term storage in the Arizona desert while waiting
for conditions to improve.
I worked as a contractor at Boeing at the time. So I
knew that it was likely that I would also be heavily
affected by the unfolding events. Sure enough, word
came from upper management that all contractors would
be let go within 14 days. My gig was up; and we were
not exactly living high on the hog at the time.
I had a choice (and we always have a choice): I could
let the bad guys win; cower under a table and play the
game "Poor Bal."
I could suck it up, accept that these were uncertain
times and do the best I could to not let negativity be
my, or anyone else's, last word.
I chose the latter. I found myself walking through the
corridors in the 40-87 building in Everett, quietly
whistling Proud to be An American. I couldn't help
myself. It was a kind of "whistling in the dark," but
more than that. It was a melodic reminder that I
wasn't about to let the bad guys win.
As I whistled, I also tried my darndest to make sure
that when I was gone, that the people remaining in my
group weren't left with a lot of gaping holes from
projects I left unfinished. I approached my manager. I
could see the look on his face. I knew what he was
expecting: the question: what can I do to save my job.
But I surprised him. I asked instead: What can I do to
make sure you're not saddled with a lot of extra work
when I'm gone?
We mapped out a list of priorities, and I began working
them. Cheerfully. Not because I was happy that I was
going to be out of a job. But because I was doing
things to help people that I cared about AND I wasn't
letting the bad guys have the final word.
About 10 days later, with just 4 days remaining, Kevin
came to me and said, "I can't let you go. We need to
get management to let you stay."
The long and short of it is that I stayed on - as a
contractor - until I voluntarily left in January of
Fast forward to the present day.
I have skin in the market these days. And I know there
are people who can empathize when I say that I feel
like a cork on the ocean in the middle of a hurricane.
The waves feel big and strong, and they push my emotion-
buttons like crazy.
But I have a choice (and we always have a choice): I
can let the times and the bad guys win; cower under a
table and play the game "Poor Bal."
I can be out here - giving it my best shot. Talking
with optimistic people like a lot of the Warriors (who
are about the most optimistic bunch "in the wild" that
I've had the pleasure of getting to know), and learning
to grow my business.
I can again whistle Proud to be an American... I can be
helpful to any who need it, wherever I am competent to
be of help.
And I can make darned sure that negativity isn't *my*
last word and do what I can to help make sure it's not
anyone else's last word either.
Onward! Hurricanes do end and we do rebuild.