I’m a regular computer user. Not overly sophisticated but have mastered my word processor, spreadsheets, database, powerpoint, photo editing, downloading, web surfing and a sundry of other applications. Some would say I’m an expert, but I think they are overstating my capabilities.
So, I’m working on a pretty involved project the other day. Thinking and writing. I’m ‘in the zone’ keyboarding as the thoughts come tumbling to mind. Yes – checking my email occasionally, doing some online research as I go, opening up other apps to check facts and figures, popping in some illustrations and even editing those as I go.
Now as I say, I’m computer savvy and know how my pc operates. I’ve experienced the occasional ‘freeze up’ and have learned that I should stop and save my work as I continue on. I knew that, but just forget sometimes.
It is with this in mind that I think about today’s economic climate. My 401K has been set back about 6 years. I’m worried about having the time to make up for what I’ve lost, even though intellectually, I know that, in time, everything will be ok.
So back to my computer. Here I go clicking away, popping back and forth between windows, deep in thought. I don’t even realize it, but I look up at the screen and see that it is blank. Well, not blank, but just a solid blue color. No cursor, no text, no flashing – nothing. Yup – it just happened again – computer freeze. I recognize it immediately and know then that I waited too long, that I’ve lost half a day’s work.
I have no choice at this point, I have to hit that button. The button that I know will correct the frozen logic in my system and restore my computer to health. The reset button. I curse this button for I know that by pressing it I will have set myself backwards by hours, even days. However I know that I have no choice. If I am to move forward I have to pull the trigger and restart my system. Curse this reset button! Nevertheless, I hold it down and in a few moments the system pops back to life ready to load my applications and start over from where I left off the day before.
I continue to curse my own luck, knowing that I really set myself behind. The deadline to get the work done will surely pass before I have recreated the materials I was working on, and a half day’s work is difficult to make up when I’m already behind where I needed to be. But what else is there to do? The computer works, I know what I need to do, and I go about starting over.
The world economy was moving along snappily. China on the rise, the Euro strong, a home for every American, wages steady. Then things start loading up. Oil. Easy credit. Deficit spending. Never ending entitlements. Toys in every garage. Debt increasing, savings decreasing. Our system was piling up and, how about that? It froze. In the world’s economy however, nobody has to push a reset button. The markets do that on their own.
The reset button for the world economy. Our system froze – and the fix is to reset it. Restart the system back to where it is working again by offloading all the activities that were starting to bottleneck the processing of financial functions. That’s where we are today. The rest button got pushed, and you and I have lost a half-day’s work. Or maybe in my case, a half-decade. While I am cursing my poor luck, I know that we are all in this reset period. We all need to sit back up in the chair and start working away to make up for our lost material. We can do it. We’ve done it before, and most assuredly, will need to do it again sometime down the road.
Just like we’ll be able to recreate the work we lost when the computer froze, we will be able to recover what we lost when the economy reset. For us average Joes, sitting at our computers and trying to take this all in, well sometimes we just need to take a deep breath and start keyboarding again, knowing that we may have lost some time, but we haven’t lost our creative energies or will to get the job done.
You see, nobody ever died from having to hit that reset button. Yes, sometimes there can be a lot of pain in the process and sometimes, even with our best efforts we can’t always recreate the work we lost, sometimes we just run out of time. But in the big picture, the reset button works, just as it always has. And we know, that if the reset button isn’t pressed, then we can’t do anything except sit and stare at a blank blue screen. We can’t start to makeup for what we lost until the reset button is pushed.
So there we are. The reset button on the world economy has been pushed, and soon enough, everything will be working again. Then, and only then, all we can do is just get back to our work.
October 12, 2008
My thanks to Microsoft, without which this analogy would not be possible.
Be the Bear
By Aric Resnicke
October 6, 2008
Be the Bear!
Not as in 'bear market' but the animal. When the skies start to darken and the air gets chilly, when the leaves have dropped from the trees, snow starts to fall and the world just looks bleak. The bear takes a nap!
The bear is sleeping while the winds are howling and the earth is covered in snow. The bear knows it could not survive if it was awake and foraging for food. Even with its great strength, the bear could not break through the ice to get to the waters where the salmon normally feed. No, the bear does what it must to survive - it sleeps. Spring does come, as surely it will, and the bear awakes to find it's hunting grounds restored.
We should be the bear, just sleeping until our spring returns, as it surely will.