Scoble started off some talk about recession today which led to a counter post by Robin Good that I felt presented some good ideas.
I agree and disagree with certain parts of each post but rather than bore everyone with one of those "point by point posts" I thought I'd pass on three things that I was told to remember about recessions.
(the person who gave me this advice didn't want their name used but had no objection to passing on the wisdom)
- Remember that a normal recession only directly effects a small part of the population. No Recession in the last 3 decades has produced an unemployment rate in the U.S. of more than 9% and the very worse unemployment rate ever (during the Great Depression) was only 24%. So even then 3 out of every 4 people were gainfully employed. Also remember that economists believe there's as much as 4% of the population who are not working on purpose (stay at home parents, students, etc...) which makes the numbers even lower.
- Remember that hard workers are always in demand. Unless a company goes out of business they are probably going to hang on to really hard workers because they are hard to find and all recessions eventually end. There are exceptions but as a general rule a person who puts in 125% is not going to find themselves unemployed for long (and if they do its probably for the better because they were working for a painfully short sighted company in the first place)
- Remember that the best at anything always has a job and the 10th best almost certainly has one as well. If you work hard at being good at what you do you'll probably find yourself saved from any mass layoffs. Even when tech companies cut a project they'll do everything they can to salvage the most skilled people on that project because (as above) great skill is hard to find.
So bottom line: Work hard and study so that you are good at what you do and you should be fine. Business goes on even during a recession and even consultants should find themselves protected if they follow the above advice.
Also remember that, while none of us wants a recession, the truth is that they are generally good things for gainfully employed people because the price of everything goes down. Since the great majority of people (no lower than 92% in the U.S.) remain gainfully employed during a recession the recession can actually be a positive experience. In fact, the way we get out of a recession is that prices go down to the point where people put away their fear and start buying again.
In economic matters it really is true that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.