"Greed is Good"

A catch cry of the 80’s! A time of opulence, bad style and probably even worse music. It was the predecessor of the last recession, a time most famously known in Australia as “the recession we had to have”. We may look back and snicker and scorn, but what will the next generation say about us? I think my hair and suit will stand the test of time, but who knows 🙂

Did “Greed is Good” make a comeback? Like the fashion? If not, what will people in the future see as the straw which broke this economy’s back. Is it the “I want, therefore I get it” attitude of consumerism? or is it leaders asleep at the wheel? Does the global corporate players burden the blame for this, or our leaders, for missing the indicators? Or will we await the movies to tell us what we were/are? Will we find the answer on LinkedIn, Youtube, Facebook or Twitter?

Thinking back 18 months ago… There was a cockiness about the world again, a swagger in business leaders step, share prices were skyrocketing, the next generation was assured. Was to world too confident and self impressed? I saw it in the tech wreck of the early 2000’s. Man IT in pre 2000 was great, BMW’s all round (well not for me unfortunately, I was just getting into it), long boozy lunches, claim them on expenses or not? And that was just the recruiters. IT was THE place to be. If you could spell IT you’d be a millionaire, or so it seemed. Then… BOOM, the old bubble burst as it will, Share options not worth the paper they were written on, IT people out of work, uni students bailing from IT courses, and the IT Recruiter community re-group, get rid of dead wood and wannabe’s and start again.

The last few years have been littered with stories of a “War for Talent”, heaps of attention given to attracting staff to your company, a prevailing feeling of good was in most places, the world seemed short staffed. If you had a bad day, had a disagreement with your boss, got a poor review or someone else you saw as inferior got more money… that was fine… there will be another job, that will pay more, and respect you more… just around the corner, or on the next job board you looked at. tick tick tick.. BOOM, what was that? Ouch.. that was 2009 biting you in the butt.

I wrote in my last blog post about my fear for Gen Y’s…. I wrote

Whilst you cannot discount Gen Y’s, you cannot build an organisation around just that demographic. You will need experience to get through the current climate, you need battle scars, people who have survived downturns in the past, and you need mentors for those entering the workforce. I think now is going to be more important than ever. We are going to have people entering the workforce, already confused as to their part in this world.

Gen Y’s have gone through university with a certain feeling of entitlement, there was a skills shortage remember, the war for talent was well and truly underway. Their career was already mapped out, one company as a stepping stone to the other, 20% increase min each new company, companies falling over themselves to hire them. Now, the world of 2009. Graduate programs getting scrapped, wages getting frozen, job losses everywhere… how did we get this surplus of people? (Recruiters must have been doing one hell of a job!) Their picture of self must have been challenged greatly.

It is not the time for employers to get too excited and get even with the talent market, no matter how tempting it is. We still need to nurture the talent of tomorrow, we still have to keep the stars of today and respect the greats of yesterday. Maybe this new world post 2009 will get rid of these tags, and will work together as survivors of 2009… until the next generation comes along that is.

What we do now is how we will be remembered I think. Take your time, consider everything and act accordingly. The most important word is ACT! Be bold, have conviction, and DELIVER. I know I want to make a difference. I want my kids to look at me as a representative of my generation, and say, “Wow, look at his cool hair, and amazing fashion sense. Boy I glad he did what he did in 2009, 2010, 2011 etc!” (Although realistically 2 of those three won’t happen.) I hope the right one does!

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Posted on February 9, 2009, in greed, leadership, recession, recovery. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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