January 28th, 2009
Reading an article in Fortune magazine entitled “How to Manage your Business in a Recession” for Strategic Management, it was as if I started to realize that this credit crisis, sub-prime mortgage bust, dramatic recession and all around economic soap opera was a metaphor for my life. But I challenge you not to look at these events as setbacks, but more as prop-ups.
The article articulated that these events are unusual because they have never happened before- at least not to this degree of severity. There is no script, no set of advised, practiced instructions to best handle the situation; we have to learn, we have to be creative, we have to make it up. We are going to make mistakes, but we are going to learn from them.
I’ve always felt like somewhat of a misfit of the business school; there are a few of us, and we tend to seek each other out and stick together. I have never been motivated by the idea of ‘going corporate’ or chasing down Wall Street. My aspirations have always been a little more free spirited, and less structured. I considered the Accounting PPA program, getting an undergraduate degree in Accounting and a Masters in another field in five years, sprinkled with a well paid internship, followed by a generous job offer from one of the ‘Big Four’ accounting firms. It is such a well paved, easy track to “success” and wealth, that many people take it. I opted not to; if I would have, I would have been miserable, and there is no price you could pay me for misery.
So, now what? I don’t know, but it has taken me twenty one years to realize that THAT IS OKAY. Stuff comes up, especially when you least expect it. That is something I’ve learned from ‘Carrots’ (aforementioned young man in my life); he has a couple years on me, and is STILL trying to discover what his lot in life is. Not mention the adventures he’s had along the way, just for being open to experience. And let’s not forget, he is someone that just came up in my life, right when I least expected it.
Missy Higgins, one of my new favorite songbirds who hails from Down Under (naturally), sings a song that really captures my soul and my feelings about this… it’s called “Going North” and opens up with lyrics I feel I could have written myself:
I wanna dance the tango with chance; I wanna ride on the wire, ’cause nothing gets done with dust in your gun, and nobody respects a liar
Here’s to the business cycle; may it rise and fall at its own will, yet let us be clever enough, and cunning enough, and brave enough to not only survive, but learn to thrive.