The other day I was at a meeting and I was asked, “So how are things going with work?”
That's a pretty typical way to start a conversation these days when you are in a work-related meeting or just a social gathering of other professionals. Especially these days, everybody wants to know how the other guy is doing. “Is that business doing better than mine?” “Are we both feeling the pain?” “Maybe I should think about doing something different?”
My answer to that question was, “We're working hard to work hard.”
Now more than ever (at least the “ever” that is my adult life), we as a workforce want nothing more than to be BUSY. To us, a busy day is a subconscious reassurance that we will have a job tomorrow. Now that may or may not be true, but it does help move that heavy millstone that can be our positive attitude.
The industry that I call home away from home happens to be development consulting and engineering. It's pretty obvious that this line of work is a bit off the marks that were set in the 2004-2006 era. After all, traditionally this business has been wedded to the housing market, which is admittedly hurting.
But I've always been a bit of a hardhead, and I've always craved challenge. So I'm working hard to work hard. We at Ward Edwards have embraced new ways of doing business. We've “cleaned our own house” so that we can credibly help others clean theirs. We are finding success in areas that we may have previously thought held little opportunity for reward.
To be sure, we are in the business of identifying problems and bringing innovative solutions that really help people. We have locked our arms together, prayed for guidance and success, and we are working hard to work hard.
Remember back in high school, when you played sports and there was that one person who was just a bit stronger or faster or had a better jump shot? If you are a competitor and a driven person you probably spent a good deal of you own time in the gym or on the track or hitting jumpers. You did that because you wanted to hit that next level.
Well, that's what it's taking these days. You might argue that that is what it took a couple years ago, too. I'd agree with that, although at that time you were competing to get more and more of the cheese that seemed to be endless and everywhere. Now you are trying to find the cheese. And perhaps the cheese has changed or moved or isn't even cheese anymore.
There's a challenge there … and fun when you win.
We as Americans have always loved a winner. Who can forget Rocky's outstretched arms? “The Catch” is emblazoned in our minds. That great sound of our jets overhead and our Marines on the parade deck at Marine Recruit Depot Parris Island, are two more reminders.
Keep your chin up. Slug it out. Work hard to work hard. It'll pay off.
Jon Rembold is a project manager at Ward Edwards and president of the Lady's Island Business & Professional Association.