Ok, Yahoo is laying off people in big numbers, and every day we hear about the health of the world economy. I think it is clear to everyone, this is more than a sneeze, it is recession hitting us hard and fast all over the world. Of course this will become reality even for people working in healthy businesses, in comparision to Yahoo, where there are a business strategy, product focus and numbers going in the right direction. How do you adapt to the fact that things are actually going the wrong way, and things out of your hands may eventually decide wether or not you have a work to go to next month. People who were part of the dotcom-crisis know that even healthy companies got hit harder than they deserved. In this post I will try to discuss how you can handle recession and prepare for the worst and make all you can in order to avoid it.
Pragmatic, Pragmatic, Pragmatic
OK, now is the time to start being pragmatic when it comes to everything. Roles, tasks, platforms, frameworks, libraries or any other thing that could enable cat-fights in any web department. Ask yourself the question: “Am I a pragmatic person when at work?”. If the answer is Yes, could you be even more pragmatic in even more areas, in order to avoid unecessary (from a business point-of-view) discussions and fights. If your answer is No, start being more pragmatic, put feelings and opinions away and focus on facts, reality and truth. I know a lot of people who say they are pragmatic (everybody wants to be pragmatic) and at the same time say that we must spend 12 man-year on building an almighty architecture that will survive WW III, when business needs here and now could be solved with existing tools or with lesser efforts added to the project. In short: Start being pragmatic in your daily work, and stop saying you are pragmatic.
Focus on Possibilities
Recession opens up for good things. When times are bad, investors and competitors decrease their efforts and that is a possibility. When others are braking, you should increase your efforts in order to gain market shares or enter a market that are ultra-competitive during good times. As long as you are still employed or running your own business getting clients, make sure you invest whatever you can invest making sure that you are increasing your market shares and revenues. This sound easier than it is in real life. But in order to convince you: Apple, Microsoft and businesses such as Online Poker where born during other time of crisis. I am confident we will see new business-leaders born or growing big during the coming years. I am writing a post on what companies I think will go out of recession as winners, will publish it before Christmas. Remember: In bad times, brave people can build the platform for being the next winner.
It Aint Personal
If for some reason someone (your company or lack of clients) puts you in the corner where your job is at risk, or even worse you get sacked or have to shut down business, Do not take it personally, because during times like these even talented people are fired. Often middle-management has to fulfill a number of layoffs and meet some strange budget-requirement making their decisions somewhat numeric instead of human-resource-optimized. Often roles needed for running daily businesses are the ones that are prioritized to keep. If you do not do this right now, you are probably more likely to get sacked than the guy making sure that the SVN-server is up and running. But it aint personal (most of the time at least).
Business Argument not Techie Arguments
I do not like techie arguments when we have good times, and I am pretty sure no business owner likes them at all during bad times. Developers have to be better, in good and bad times, trying to put numbers on their arguments. This is important for two reasons: First, it is easier to convince the business owners with business arguments and second, if developers try to find business arguments instead of tech arguments, they will be better developers as they do understand business better and tech solutions are business driven and not vice verca.
We will face recession. Your company will adapt to this. Maybe they speed up, maybe they slow down. The important thing to know is that no one is safe but recession is not all bad, it also opens up for new businesses and possibility to enter competitive markets. One good thing to bear in mind during recession, as well as better times, is to try to be more pragmatic and business oriented not only in mind but also in action.