The Audacity of Hope

(Photo courtesy of Bastian Groove, Flickr)

“Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country”
– John F. Kennedy

Over the last two weekends, the discount store parking lots have been packed like its Christmas.  Harried clerks rush to manage long lines at the checkout register as shoppers vie for bargains.

5 new job openings have crossed my desk in the last 4 days.

We have signed four new accounts in three weeks.  Some are venture capital firms preparing to raise funds and make new investments.

After a significant dip in December, my company’s new business pipeline is as healthy as ever.

And yet……..

Two of my family members have lost their jobs.  The eldest of these (my mother) has decided to take a few months off instead of bang her head against the wall trying to find a job in the NYC economy.

So what’s happening?

Those of us who were children in the 70’s and have spent a career in technology have been here before.

We remember long lines at the gas pump as children. We remember the total technology collapse in 2001.  Guess what?  We survived and eventually thrived.  We learned to work smarter, faster, and better.  We don’t measure our personal value or worth by big bonuses, 401K accounts or pension funds.  We’re still out there, quietly toiling away in a way that adds value to our economy every day.

Certainly the manufacturing and banking sectors are taking it “on the chin.”  I’m sorry, but I think we might all agree that a correction is long overdue.  However, I reject the notion that there’s shame in success.

What the heck happened to “the audacity of hope?”  Why is it embarrassing to be working hard and doing well?  Is it so appalling that there’s no such thing as free rent or free rides.  Are we not strong enough to reinvent ourselves?  Have we become a nation of people who think we are owed a living because of where we live?  Should we protect ourselves from other nations that have pulled themselves up by the bootstraps?  I credit my fellow Americans with being able to do so much more than seek entitlements and protectionist policies.

We can and should be the greatest generation, but we must turn the tide of pessimism and not be afraid of optimism.

We are slowly emerging to forge a new economy and a new way of thinking.  Old yardsticks like the Dow Industrial Average might never again be reflective of success.  We need new yardsticks and new thinking.  Above all, we must go boldly into this night and not be afraid.  Success is nothing to be ashamed of – your success might be the very thing this economy needs to get back on its feet.

What can you do today to offer optimism and help reshape our economy?

— Posted by Alison Moore


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