It has been over seven years since we were mired in the Great Recession.
Over seven years since some of us had to work twice as hard for half the pay, worry about whether our job was safe, or be concerned about whether we were going to find a new job after being laid off from the prior one. Things may be starting to feel more comfortable. We may leave the office an hour early or perhaps take an extra day off. We’re not worrying as much about returning a call at the end of the day since it can be done so the next morning.
Perhaps we are too far removed from having it rough. Complacency can be a slippery slope.
Stay hungry my friends. I understand the work/life balance thing as well as the need to spend time with family. These are both really important. Just remember that the economy runs in cycles and it is never too early to prepare for the next rough patch. Income from work is what pays the bills and allows us to save.
Stay a little paranoid. Don’t assume that all of your clients like you. In fact, assume that most don’t and try to figure out things you can do to get back into their good graces. Think of ways that you can efficiently deliver more and better services to them.
Stay reliable and responsive. Remember that your clients are the reason you are at your current success point. Make sure they can always count on you and that you don’t make promises that will be difficult to keep. Respond quickly to their inquiries even if they call and say that their request is not a big deal. If they are calling you, their request is a big deal.
Stay accountable. If something goes wrong on a task you are a part of, it is your problem. Never mind that the task’s failure was directly due to the actions of another party. The only way we can learn is by taking ownership of negative outcomes and figuring out which of our processes we can improve to create a better outcome the next time. There is always something we can do better. One of my favorite sayings is “you never lose, you either win or you learn.” Besides, nobody ever likes to hear you placing the blame on someone else.
Stay engaged. Nobody is ever at the peak of their profession. There are always new things to learn and there are always new technologies to explore. I don’t think that the saying “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” applies to most of our jobs. We must always embrace change and evaluate new and more efficient ways to do things. The truth is, if we don’t embrace change, change will swallow us whole.
Stay brave and don’t run from controversy. Don’t automatically curse your luck when a difficult issue comes across your desk that you weren’t expecting. Look at it as an opportunity to find a creative solution. Know that solving complicated problems for others breeds loyalty and can put you on a better career path.
There will come a point when the economy turns rough again.
However, those that stay hungry during the good times may not only survive the difficult ones, but thrive as a result of their efforts.