Scrambling in a pool of sharks

It almost got to be tiring for a while. This was several months ago, of course. Over and over, it was the same refrain: “When the economy comes back ….”

Well folks, I’m no economist, but I do operate a small business. Which, these days, seems to qualify me to theorize about where things are headed. Point is, I don’t think the economy is coming back. At least not the economy we once knew.

It was good to see the Dow pop back up the past few days, but how long will it last? I’m afraid to guess. What should we do with our investments? Our retirement accounts. I’m afraid to venture much of a guess about that too.

One thing I will say with confidence is that things have changed for good. We aren’t going back. And the economy isn’t either. I want to be clear that I’m not saying we can’t become a more prosperous and healthy nation again. We can. I suspect we will.

Thing is, it’s going to be different. Vastly different. The high unemployment rate suggests to me that big business is not hiring right now. It also suggests to me that more and more people are going it alone. Increasingly, this feels like a place where it’s everybody for his or her self. It’s an entrepreneurial world, right?

The next several months will tell us a lot, I believe. By the time the holidays are over and we roll into 2012, I’m going to be making some big decisions. If not sooner.
Everyone on their own? That’s a cruel idea. But damn, it’s tough out there. Guess we’d better get used to it.

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