Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Keeping it Negative

I am a pessimist by nature. In the darkest days of the Great Recession of '08-'09, I took consolation in the fact I had predicted (as I always predict) that hard times were coming. However, by the end of 2009 against my nature, I was somewhat optimistic.
I actually thought we would see an economic turnaround. I even made the mistake of saying so and then, as if to remind me of my rightful place under the dark cloud of negative thinking, January and February turned out to be like most Januarys and Februarys...cold and economically unspectacular. By mid-March, I was convinced that 2010 would be flat at best. We were still at least a year away from a rebound. Time to hunker down and gut it out.
Then something began to happen. Business improved. Demand for our customers' services increased...a lot. Suddenly, there is a shortage of capacity. There are opportunities to get rate increases. Our customers are actually starting to hire people. They are even willing to use search firms again. The clouds have parted, the sun is shining, happy days are here again....
But I'm not falling for it. I know that it's just temporary. Something will happen. Oil will go to $200 a barrel. Inflation will go crazy. Another "bubble" will burst. Whatever it turns out to be, Murphy's Law will prevail, things will go wrong and all will suffer. Now having lowered my expectations and returned to my natural state of pessimism, I can enjoy the economic recovery knowing that it too shall pass.

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