How do you cope with the uncertainty?

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past year, you’ve no doubt been watching the train wreck that is our global economy.  I’m an avid news junkie, and have a particular passion for business news.  So when the news about the failing economy started rolling in, I sort of felt like, “Yeah, and what else is new?”  I’d heard it before and things always turned out fine.

But the past few months have been unlike anything I’ve ever seen in my lifetime.  All of a sudden I’m glued to the TV watching the Dow Jones drop like a lead balloon.  I read every news article I can find about the bailout, the subprime mortgage mess and more to try and decipher it all and try to make sense of it.  And I’m studying both of our presidential candidates with religious zeal to try and figure out how either of them are going to get us out of this mess. (Enough with the blame game already – everyone’s at fault here, so how are we ALL going to fix it?!).

What’s happening has left me shaken, and yet I can’t figure out if it’s me reading all of the news coverage that’s making matters worse.  Are we headed for the next Great Depression?  My husband and I talk about what to do with what little hard-earned money we have saved up. Luckily, we’re young, and everyone keeps telling us to ‘stay the course, it will bounce back.’  But it’s a hard pill to swallow when you watch that money you worked so hard to set aside go up in smoke. 

But I really feel for people who are close to retirement age.  Those people who’ve worked and saved their whole lives, just like they were told to do, only now to watch their 401(K) vanish into thin air. What happens to them?  Will they ever see that money again?  Will they have to work 20 more years past their expected retirement age? 

These are frustrating times, and I find it hard sometimes to stay focused.  Does anyone really care about the new product release or event announcement I’m promoting, when they’re scared to death about whether or not they’re going to be able to keep their house? 

As PR practitioners, how do we cope with the uncertain times in which we live?  Do you go about your business as usual and just wait for the storm to pass?  Or is what’s happening right now a game changing scenario? And how does PR adjust to continue to provide value to clients and organizations, knowing there are much larger issues to consider?

Has the current news and economic climate changed the way you view PR strategy?


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