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Opportunity in a Depressed Economy

March 27, 2009

With the economy in the gutter, there is a lot to be upset about.  Unfortunately, most of those things are out of our direct control.  So why stress over them.  For every negative this recession brings, there are surely more positives to take away.  I’ve been seeing a lot of articles and blogs sharing the authors’ favorite things about the recession and so I’ve decided to share some of my own.  I believe the only way to survive it without going insane is to stay positive and word harder.  Here’s some opportunities I have found in this depressed economy.

Learning. I’ve been laid off.  I’m working full-time at finding a new dream job, but, I would go insane if it was all I did every day.  I’d also be a lot less productive at it.  The single-biggest take away from this stressful time for me is the learning experience.  Not only have I learned new ways to differentiate and brand myself online which I can apply to my career later, I have learned more than I ever thought I would about digital marketing and Social Media.  I’ve used my free time to watch/attend webinars and read new books.  When I finally do get my break, I will have a whole slew of experiences and knowledge under my belt, I otherwise would not.  You don’t even have to make it about your career.  Find something you always wanted to do but never had the time for and learn it.

Volunteering. Arguably the best piece of news I have heard in months is that volunteer agencies and non-profits are turning people away because they don’t have enough work for them to do – FOR FREE!  That’s incredible.  If you haven’t already, get involved in something.  It’s rewarding and you might even be able to use your talents in your role.  Taproot is a great way to use your business skills for the good of another organization. (www.taprootfoundation.org)

Check out this great article from the NY Times too: From Ranks of Jobless, a Flood of Volunteers

Attitude Adjustment. As I already said, there is no way to get through this thing with a positive attitude.  No way.  It definitely has it’s ups and downs and I can’t say that I’m positive every minute of every day, but, I am more positive and ready to attack the world each day now than I was a few months ago when I was getting up for work every day.  I’ve learned that positivity makes me more productive and happy.  I will carry that quality with me for the rest of my life.  The big stresses of work will seem minuscule in comparison and I will be better equipped to take them on!  Get up every morning and do something that makes you happy.  Workout, read, watch the sun rise, drive, or eat a mountain of pancakes – whatever works.  Then go get after it!

Financial Peace. Another experience that I will carry with me for the rest of my life is going from a great income at Ford to living on unemployment.  My wife and I have learned so much already on how to budget and save our money. (Plug – Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace is awesome!)  When it becomes a matter stressful or stress-free living, you really learn how you should be spending, giving and saving.  Never, will I live above my means.  That’s an amazing feeling!  I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Creative Growth. I believe that the best creativity comes when there are walls in your way.  You get out of your comfort zone and have to adapt quickly if you want to survive.  Businesses have to come up with new, cheaper ways to reach and engage customers to buy their products.  Job seekers have to come up with new and better ways to stand out from an even larger crowd of applicants.  I created a web portfolio highlighting my experiences and skills to share with employers. (www.bencoy.com)  I also created a VisualCV with the same concept.  VisualCV.com is a great example of a young, creative company getting a great boost with so many job seekers in the marketing trying to stand out.  They’re reinventing the resume.  If you don’t have one already, I highly suggest it. (www.visualcv.com)

Stronger Relationships. When we’re struggling, we look for support.  We look for advice.  When we’re all struggling, we want to give support and advice as well.  I won’t hesitate to stop everything and help a friend with their resume or send them contact information and put in a good word for them.  In my current struggle, I am grateful to have so many friends and family members doing the same for me.  I’m building better relationships and gaining insight from people who care.  It’s a great feeling.  Even people I don’t know, offer their help.  A great example is JobAngels. (www.jobangels.org)  They are building a community of job seekers that want help in their job search and want to help others at the same time.  What a great idea created because of this opportunist’s economy!

That’s it for now!  Time to go out and get after it!  What opportunities have you found in this economy?  Share them with me!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. April 10, 2009 8:02 pm

    Ben,

    Good post, and all great points. As an independent software developer, my last official gig ended in December. Normally, I would already have the next thing lined up. But things are truly different right now in my industry, where there’s an effort to do more work in-house or postpone projects that are too expensive.

    I made the decision then to take advantage of the available time to work on some things that I’m very passionate about. I’ll have to wade back into the work-for-hire arena soon, but in the meanwhile I launched my personal blog, am close to launching the first beta of Subreala.com, and have had time to pitch in on a lot of other projects.

    Thanks for taking the time to post some positive and constructive advice!

    Walt

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