The New Normal: How I Found My Pony

"You've been shoveling manure all day," said the farmer to the little boy as he walked past the barn. "How come?"

"Because if I just keep shoveling," the boy replied, "I'm sure to find a pony in here somewhere."

And that pretty much sums up the last 12 months: Lots of shoveling in search of a pony.

Hammered, Bludgeoned, Whipsawed.
Like so many other recruiters, I took my hits as the economy dimmed. Fewer jobs, slower decisions, tighter budgets.

But now, in the glimmer of recovery, I can see with clarity a new and different landscape. And I like what I see:

Renewed optimism. We stared a Depression in the face, and it blinked. With the worst behind us, we can move forward with confidence, secure in the knowledge that adversity can be overcome.

A realignment of metrics. No longer are we grieving the loss of glory days gone by. Instead, we're using the last 12 months as the yardstick with which to set our future production goals.

Humility has replaced hubris. Everyone's a genius when the rising tide lifts all boats. It's when the tide recedes that you find out how smart you really are. Recessions teach us that you're only as good as your worst year--and hopefully, it's a lesson we'll remember whenever the good times roll.

Untapped opportunities. We survived; others didn't. With fewer competitors in the field, we can begin to grow market share, strengthen our brand and stake out new territories.

A Feeding Frenzy for Talent. Despite a statistically high unemployment rate, the need for recruiting services will only increase as baby boomers retire and our educational system struggles to keep pace with job market demands. You can't always believe everything you hear in the business media; but the demographics don't lie.

Greatest Gift of All
The slow economy has been tough in a lot of ways, but it's also paid multiple dividends. Forced into a sense of urgency, we've become more resourceful, more determined and more willing to address our weaknesses.

But perhaps the most powerful benefit of the recession from my perspective has been the realization that I've got business partners who stuck with me--or reached out to find me. And for those relationships that have grown and strengthened, I'm eternally grateful. In fact, the abundance in friendship acquired during turbulent times has far exceeded the scarcity in income--and perfectly symbolizes the pony I found after a year of serous shoveling.

By Bill Radin
 BlackDog Recruiting Software Inc.
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