Recessions are depressing and the depression has finally gotten to me
I know some old soul or some astute young turk will come along and tell me don’t worry, Willy, it’s not the end of the world. Recessions do not last forever, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Hell, we’ve all been through these before.
Of course we have and each time, the way we do business, the way we make a living, and the resulting way we are forced, coerced or resign to living our lives, changes.
To our governments, the power brokers, or those that dabble in the lives of workers as investments, recessions are considered to be part of the normal business cycle, a sort of cleansing, you could say, an opportunity for the economy to retool, implement new technologies, restructure or realign the work force.
Unfortunately being a worker that has gone through three of these opportunities and whose role far too often was to perform those restructures and implement those new technologies, it starts to take a toll on you.
The ramifications of the current recession on the last remnants of the manufacturing unions is devastating. I’ve lived my life on the service side of the supply chain, sales, marketing, operations, continually changing what I used to call careers but in truth just adjusting to the latest reality by switching jobs.
As much as I could never accept working in one place for thirty or so years on the sole premise of attaining a planned retirement, I cannot imagine the disillusionment the retired autoworkers who could now loose their retirement incomes, must be feeling. Imagine standing in one spot, doing the same tedious thing for thirty years constantly looking forward to the day you could retire and now that you are finally there, it gets taken away from you. It would be like your whole life was a waste.
The now government assisted destruction of the auto unions will be followed the breakup of the remaining bastions of Canadian unionism, the railroad unions have almost been eliminated through planned attrition, now with the autoworkers about to fall, it will only take another decade before the powerful teachers and public service unions disappear.
However my empathy for the unionists is just that, an empathetic thought, not so much that the union movement has failed, Willy was never a unionist, but more for the personal shock and feeling of failure now being felt by individuals who have lived their lives in naivety.
Willy after all has always been a salesman, living by his own wits and guile, where you not only accepted failure, you were taught to embrace it. You ever heard of the overcoat close. If you make a call and you totally blow it, misreading the buyers intent, bringing up the wrong references and associations, almost and in some cases including getting thrown out of the office, here’s what you do.
Walk to the elevator, stand in the hall, possibly have a quick smoke, then turn around and walk back in. Get back in front of the client with your overcoat on and bag in hand and say. Excuse me Mr or Miss X, I know that I have totally blown the opportunity for our two companies to work together, but I do have a great deal of respect for you and your experience and was hoping that I could ask to help me by explaining what I did wrong at this meeting. After all this is how I am trying to make my living. You might not walk out of the office that day with an order (well you would if you were good) but you will certainly get the opportunity to try for one again.
You don’t get as dramatic a result with an email and that is about as exciting as it gets these days for Willy. It seems that the more technology we apply to the sales process the further we move from actually doing sales. Sales has become order fulfillment. Resources are now spent driving traffic to a web site. Success is measured by traffic counts and the most creative sales strategies being applied consist of controlling and directing the second click. As for Willy he has been moved to the after sales support, dealing day in, day out with both the buyers and his own remorse.
Willy thought he was different, than those workers who gave up their dreams to stand in one spot for thirty years. Willy was a mover and shaker who followed his dreams and always reached for the brass wing, but now in the end he has been replaced by bits and bytes, also questioning the choices he made.
This last year with 585 posts, 18,400 page views and the opportunity to have his rants, recommended by bloggers whom he truly respected, has unfortunately been nothing more than a brief reprieve. Similar to his name sake, the time has come for Willy to end it.
In the end Just Another Willy Loman.