September 06, 2009

Recession Refusniks

When I heard others boldly announce that they 'refuse to participate in the recession', my first instinct was to admire their bravado and positive thinking. Those who know me would describe me as a natural optimist so it's not at all surprising that a call to step away from the abyss towards a sunny future would appeal to me.

But the more I thought about it, and met with others who were clearly suffering a catastrophic downturn in business, or the loss of a job, and the crisis of confidence that typically comes with either of those, the more I felt that there was something a little smug about almost denying a state of affairs that had brought them to their knees. They may not wish to participate in a recession but the recent turn of events has left them little choice.

Now, I know there's an important attitude at work in the stance of the refusniks, and I'm all for finding silver linings in the storm clouds overhead, but my boldly announcing that I'm off to where the grass is greener probably does little to help my colleagues who are up to their oxters in the mud.

I do agree that we shouldn't wallow in it (as too many of our media commentators are inclined to do) but I do think we need to look recession in the face and stare it down, rather than appear not to engage with it. Whether we like it or not, recession and its crippling effects are the lot of many of those we care about, so we owe it to them to confront the beast and send it packing.

(And, whilst we're at it, can we please stop coyly referring to the monstrous creature in the room as the R-word. Cancer-sufferers tell us that they can't abide furtive references to the C-word, so I can't imagine those enduring recession are any different).

By all means, let's not listen to the nay-sayers (some colleagues report that turning the radio off for any current affairs-type discussions can be a good place to start) but let's not blissfully pretend that nothing's happening either.

That's why I'm delighted to be participating in a recession-busting event, Confidence In Action, this Thursday 10th at Dublin's Burlington Hotel. I'll be standing shoulder to shoulder alongside the battle-hardened warriors of a downturn or two, such as Louis Copeland, Bobby Kerr and Jack Black, to square up to this particular monstrosity. And we'll be armed with more than a slingshot of optimism (although it's extraordinary how potent a pebble that can be).

The organisers put it best: 'An eclectic panel of top economists, established and aspiring entrepreneurs and adventurers will be sharing a stage in Dublin for the first in a series of nationwide ‘Routes to Recovery’ seminars. Confidence in Action features a host of companies, agencies and guest speakers providing answers to the big questions facing us all. It will also help with practical solutions to current issues like reducing overheads, tax efficiency, pension security & maximisation, new markets, job opportunities, accessing capital, re-skilling, start ups, re-financing to name but a few'.

Other events in the series are planned for later in the autumn and will see us travel to Cork and Limerick to rattle a few cages.

So don't just participate in the recession, let's line up beside those who are suffering its brutal effects to tackle it head on and send it packing.

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