I don’t. And I write for it.
For companies that cover finance, it’s a long march without water. Many companies will be lost, and so will many jobs.
It’s part of a natural cycle. If things were great all the time any idiot could succeed. We don’t want to see idiots succeed.
A market winter is a time of discipline. As was the case in the last two recessions, those who focused on the short term, who focused only on page views and not on branding, won’t make it through. What does get you through is a brand.
A brand knows its target market. A brand manager can picture their ideal customer, and the brand can go to that customer when things get tight, knowing there’s a base from which to build. A publication, or any company, without a brand can’t do that. They die.
It’s painful to watch, more painful to go through. I’ve been through it several times in my life. I went through tough times where I had to re-invent myself, first as a freelancer, then as an “expert” on various beats. I went through 2002-2003 earning no money, and through 2011 in similar straits.
Each time I retreated to what I was good at and built from there. I can meet and beat deadlines. I can deliver solid copy. I can see around corners, analyzing today with an eye toward tomorrow. I have learned patience, with editors and publishers who were, in my own words, “clueless.” And I relied on relationships, one of which has lasted for nearly 47 years.
In my first lecture at Northwestern’s Medill School, the late George Heitz offered some good advice for times like this. Don’t focus on the money, focus on the work. If you want to have a good income, find a partner with a good job. I’ve taken that advice to heart, and it has stood me in good stead from that day to this.
When the market is on its back hunker down. Make new friends. Hold on to those you have. Know that things won’t stay this way. Opportunity is ahead and, now that you have some time, look for it.