Light at the end of the tunnel

Yesterday two major things were on my mind. First I was very excited to announce our inaugural conference on Intelligent Content. We’ve been talking about having a conference for years, and now it seemed to be the right time, there were so many things happening with content. Content can be much more than static content, it can be dynamic content and we can manage it so much more intelligently than we used to be able to. Now was the time to share that knowledge to a wider audience. Then the markets started to go crazy. And my next thought was, not again! At the same time, someone who had just awarded us a contract got laid off. She’d been a consultant for a number of years before she had taken the full time job so I advised her to go back to consulting.

And that’s the topic of this blog. I have been through so many downturns in the economy it’s like being on a rollercoaster. But the point is that each and every time there has been a downturn, new and exciting opportunities have opened up for me and I think they can for you too.

I began work in an economically slow period. The inflation rate was over 8%, interest rates were a whopping 17% and mortgages even higher! Being young and single, this didn’t bother me too much and I must say my raises were very good.

The next downturn was not so pleasant. My husband and I were three weeks away from moving into our first house and had a 16 month old baby when I got laid off. Two weeks before Christmas too. Not nice. It was pretty scary but I decided that now was the time to start consulting. I gave myself 6 weeks to find a contract and if I didn’t I’d start looking for a full time job. I got my first contract in 3 weeks and I never looked back, I’d found my niche. It was an exhausting, scary but exciting time.

The next one after that was rough, I had two partners and business was very tight. I made it worse by realizing that the partnership wasn’t working the way I had hoped. We couldn’t agree on how to split the company so I walked away and started another business. This is the business you know today. Again, a very exhausting period, rebuilding awareness and building the company I had envisioned years before, but it was my business.

The next one started off the worst, this was 2001. It began violently and unexpectedly. All our business disappeared in a 3 week period, and I mean all. This time I had staff, and the question was what to do. Many people had been with me for years. I decided to hunker down and keep my staff. Together we wrote the book we had been talking about for years, Managing Enterprise Content and unexpectedly got a contract we had bid on four years before! Without that period of focus I’m not sure if the book would ever have become a reality.

Well here we go again. I’m not worried, I’ve seen this before and I think we will have a few more months of not good news but then we will begin to inch back into the light. I’m truly jazzed about the Intelligent Content conference and we are starting to assemble a terrific line-up of speakers. Adversity is what you make it. And to paraphrase Douglas Adams in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy:

Make sure you know where your towel is and Don’t Panic!

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  1. Winter conference opportunity | just write click - December 12, 2008

    […] coworker writers were laid off this week, I was reminded of Ann Rockley’s post titled “Light at the End of the Tunnel.” Here’s a quote that stuck with me: The next one started off the worst, this was 2001. […]

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