Saturday, December 27, 2008

Closing the door on 2008

 2644250534_1e33bd8bc7They say when one door closes another door opens. In this case, closing the door on 2008 means opening the door on 2009 and and I gotta tell you. There’s a lot of people more than willing to close the door on 2008.
I live in Iowa, the Midwest is typically a bit insulated from the short economic downturns the rest of the country goes through. There are some advantages to being in a fly-over state. We’re not as fast to react positively or negatively. The swings are damped out a bit and we stay a little more stable. My 401k is pooping down my neck. My savings accounts aren’t gaining interest much faster than inflation right now and the coffee can in the back yard is getting more and more attractive as a retirement plan.
It’s been a year under the new ownership at work and that’s been going pretty well honestly. I have my days where I feel strongly that I’m about to be trimmed like an expense. I’ve noticed those days tend to correlate directly with how much sleep I’ve had the day before. When I get enough rest I’m not as freaked out. Last night I had enough rest. I doubled the number of stores I manage and the number of people. That makes it harder to spend as much face to face time as I like with my direct reports and that’s going to be the trend so I’m having to learn to adapt the way I do things to more of a long-distance method and less of a face to face method. I miss the face to face a lot. I think something is lost. That being said, it’s a lot of fun to develop the employees to the point where they’re much more independent than they were when I got there. It’s fun to watch employees push their boundaries and take those tentative first steps to being real, fully realized managers, and not just micromanaged employees under the control of a puppet-master.
So, 2009 will either see my area of influence grow or see me cut loose, and depending on the previous night’s sleep I have lots of really good reasons it could go either way. In any event, in spite of the damage done my savings by the abysmally low interest rate having a nest egg makes me less afraid of a bad outcome of the downshifting economy and slump in sales (Not catastrophic like some are seeing, but nobody likes flat or slightly lower sales).
Overall, I look forward to 2009. Things are getting ‘interesting’ in the news and economy, and that’s not necessarily going to be easy going, but it won’t be boring or dull. That’s for sure.
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