You see, we are spoiled. We became accustomed to the up and down business cycle during the past 3-4 decades and the game was rigged (we now learn) so that the up's were bigger than the down's – and tended to last longer too. So it's a Pavlovian response months into a big, long down to expect the up. And there's no denying that up is a whole lot more fun than down. That said, to ignore the clear signs that things have fundamentally changed – for the nation and for several major U.S. industries – is ultimately harmful to your career.
Your chances at career success over the next few years absolutely depend to clear eyes and pure thoughts. You have to embrace the notion that the macro economic conditions have changed – dramatically. You have to embrace that certain fundamentals (national debt, corporate debt, personal debt, the healthcare system, and social security – to name a few) have changed or are changing – dramatically. You have to embrace that certain industries (banking, cars, media) have changed – permanently. "This is not a test!" And it's not just a cycle.
No matter your industry, your company can find success. Regardless of your company or industry, you can be successful at your career. But you have to be real. Your company might well be in a fight for viability and regardless, you are definitely in a fight for survival. Don't sit around waiting for "things to get better." Don't wait for those damned "green sprouts." The analogy that "spring always comes" (and at the same time each year) does not hold true in this brave new business world. It's encumbent on all of us managers and executives to face the facts and figure out fast how we and our companies fit in the New Normal.
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