<h2>Don’t Count America Out, Sweetie</h2>
Last week, I was working on-site at a client’s office to develop a coaching and mentoring program to deliver to her employees.
While we were sitting together discussing the course outline, she asked me out of the blue: “Why are you so down on America?”
Talk about your ‘out of left field’ question. I was blown away.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
So she tells me: “Your last few blogs have been so critical of America. Do you think our best days our behind us?”
As a consultant I’ve learned to be a straight shooter while mastering the art of evasiveness simultaneously. In her case bluntness was expected.
“I find it hard to dispute the facts,” I replied. “For starters, 15-20% of Americans are unemployed, one in four Americans can be categorized as contract/independent workers without the benefits of full-time employment, entire industries are imploding and transforming, and our skyrocketing debt may bankrupt future generations,” I answered.
So, yes I am bearish on America right now.
She smiled this ear to ear grin and she said to me: “Sweetie, these are all serious issues but nothing we haven’t seen before. We’ll manage, like we always do. You’re forgetting,” she said. We are Americans. This is what we DO.”
And that was that.
The trouble is, I keep thinking about the state of America, our short and long-term prospects especially for our children, not to mention my job seeker and small business clients.
But we HAVE seen this before. It’s what “creative destruction” as defined by Joseph Schumpeter in his book: ‘Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy’ is all about. A special thanks to Ray O’Connor for introducing me to this awesome read.
You see America shifting gears now with a surge in new business pursuits around alternative, fuel sources, green technologies, cloud computing, etc. While Best Buy, Blockbuster, Circuit City declare bankruptcy, Netflix, Google, Facebook, Apple continue to shine.
Yes, American students continue to drop down the ranks in global math and science skills rankings. On the flip side, more and more college students are banding together to form business ventures while they are in school.
They’ve seen what has happened to their parents and grandparents. They understand that future employment post graduation is no longer a certainty.
In times of great upheaval and crisis, new opportunities continue to present themselves. So perhaps it is not so foolish to discover a renewed faith in America. Times have been tough these past few years, but perhaps the best is still yet to come, with the right leadership politically, academically, and in business and industry.
Need another perspective? Check out what David Brooks had to say in his op-ed article: “Relax, We’ll Be Fine” that appeared in the New York Times on April 5, 2010.
Let’s not count America out. We are a nation of DOERs.