Signs of Life?

December 13, 2022

One small plant sticking out of sand.

If you never step foot outside and watch cable news 24x7, you might believe that the global economy is plunging headlong into a recession. Yet, I’m in NYC right now, and it's impossible to get a reservation most nights of the week. Despite the press reports that people haven’t returned to sporting and arts events, ticket demand for Taylor Swift’s latest tour broke the internet, and I could barely get tickets to a three-hour-long period piece play about, among other painful topics, the holocaust. Why the disconnect? Aside from cable news needing to tell a compelling story to keep you glued to their coverage, the truth I’m finding by walking the streets of NYC is that, after two years of being locked up, people want to live no matter the risk and no matter the cost. 

Still, I know that my experience isn’t everyone’s. So let’s take a closer look at where economic headwinds are sending us. On the one hand, American — and even global — consumerism appears to be full steam ahead, even in the face of powerful inflation. On the other hand, key economic indicators are causing business leaders to be cautious with investments of equipment and hiring. We have felt it here at Salmela, too.. After the greatest growth cycle of our almost 17 years, we are down significantly in the second half of 2022. There are several contributing factors for this, key among them that we were successful in helping our clients catch up with hiring. Almost all of our clients were way behind in filling key roles for the last 18-24 months and now, everyone feels like they are in a good place. That’s great news. It just doesn’t necessarily mean booming business for us. Another factor, though, is that our clients may be looking at those same key economic indicators and deciding to reign in budgets back to pre-pandemic levels. That’s not so good news. For anyone.

With so much economic uncertainty spiraling around our industry, it’s important to remember that, no matter the financial forecast, innovation will happen. It’s baked into our DNA and our system. We live in a time of superheated innovation. And growth lies where innovation and need collide. It’s where we’ve always found traction, no matter where economic headwinds are trying to push us. And now it’s where we find signs of life.

It’s a good lesson to learn again. Reinvention is the core function of any thriving organization (or thriving person for that matter). Stasis is comfortable, but it’s also quicksand. Pushing forward can feel like a scramble, but it can also be a great adventure; the spice of life. My biology teacher said something 30 years ago that I’ve never been able to shake. A simple phrase that informs… well, just about everything. He said: “life wants to live.” He was right then, and he’s right now. All living organisms — especially humans — constantly adapt and evolve to live and thrive. As much as the scramble can be exhausting, it’s always been there. It’s just been tempered by Netflix, chaise lounges, mani/pedis, and tapas. 

So is there a recession? Probably. But even during the darkest times, life wants to live, and that’s the thing that always gives me hope.

So chin up, everyone. We’ve got some living to do.


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