Recession? Bring it on.

Darren Neimke posted up some interesting links in his Weekend Read. One of the ones that stood out for me was this one about who gets laid off during a recession. I’ve been through two recessions in my lifetime. The first was when I was a child so I don’t think that it really entered my consciousness although I am sure that my parents had their stresses.

The second was an industry-local recession that happened around the year 2000, most people refer to this as the dot-bomb, dot-bust or dot-crash referring of course to the number of online enterprises that went to the wall. During that period, for the first time in my professional life I was given notice that I would be unemployed – I was working on a product that was not going to be commercially viable and I wasn’t otherwise providing value to the business.

Within the few days I was out in the field spending time with other consultants and I eventually landed an engagement doing some integration work between Tivoli, ZENworks on top of WebSphere. A short while later my notice was recinded and my stress levels went back to normal. I think it was at this time I started to realise that ultimately – those people that provide value to a business never get laid off which is what I think the article linked to above, and the ones it links to are saying.

So why the title of this post? Well, the existentialist in me thinks that a recession is good medicine. If we look at all of humanity as one big biological entity, a recession is a biological function that has evolved into existence to regulate something. In this case the pressure in the economy is like of like our natural body heat, and a recession is like sweating which cools it down. If you are hot, you want to sweat otherwise you are going to end up in a very bad way.

Of course on a personal level, its bad to see people getting laid off, but ultimately it serves as a reminder (like it did for me) that you need to provide value. If you don’t then the natural biological tendency is to jetison that waste from the body of humanity.

Seems harsh – but that is the way the world works. If heaven forbid I get laid off in some future recession then you can bet that I won’t be sitting idly waiting for the world to pick me up off the floor. I’m going to fight for survival.

Recession? Bring it on.


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