Workplace Rights

Weekly (5/18/09)

Topic of the Week  A Successful Failure - Succeeding in a Failing Economy

Succeeding in Tough Times:
• DO build resistance.
• DO expose blind spots.
• DO promote creativity.
• DON’T be arrogant.

Your Rant: The rules have definitely changed at work. What does it take to be successful in today’s terrible economy?

911 Repair,
Jeez, who would have thought that just nine months ago would seem like the good old days? Work is changing, not necessarily for the better. But you can still adapt and be successful. Which reminds me of Apollo 13. Remember the famous space flight that had everything go wrong, but managed to make it successfully back to earth? Okay, chances are you don’t remember the flight, but you do remember the movie.

Apollo 13 was famously called a “successful” failure. And that’s what you can bring to work, a positive outlook during a very tough economy. I’ll give you three Do’s and one Don’t to succeed in spite of huge obstacles. For more, check out “Boom” by Kevin and Jackie Freiberg (Thomas Nelson, 2007).

DO build resistance. We all need thicker skin today and an ability to bounce back from adversity. One great way to do this is to volunteer at a local food bank or kids program. Working with people who are facing tough times helps keep your struggles in perspective. Help others and gain a new perspective on all the good things going on in your life. You can also pick up new skills and make new contacts.

DO expose blind spots. Blind spots are everywhere. Companies fail to anticipate the impact of a worsening economy, challenges from new competitors and places where your company is particularly vulnerable. That’s why it’s important to be able to take a critical look at the marketplace, your company and yourself. The sooner you are able to do this, the less you’ll be surprised at work. While others stick their heads in the sand you need to keep your eyes wide open.

DO promote creativity. Tough times paradoxically require our maximum creativity just to survive. Yet most of us are so drained by all of the challenges that we face that our creativity is at its lowest possible point. You’ve got to figure out ways to keep your creativity firing on all cylinders. One way to do this is to spend time with the most creative people you know, both inside and outside of work. Conversely you should also try to minimize time with anyone who consistently sucks the life force out of you.

DON’T be arrogant. I keep waiting for Wall Street executives to put an end to their arrogance. But the stories about their bonuses, perks and gilded parachutes just keep making headlines. It’s easy to point a finger at them, but it’s tougher to take a hard look in the mirror at examples of your own arrogance. For example, do you blow off meetings with unemployed former coworkers looking for a job? Don’t, because you’d want them to meet with you if your positions were reversed. Wouldn’t you?

Follow these tips and you’ll have something in common with Tom Hanks, you both made it home safely after a bumpy flight.

About the Author: Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning If you have a question for Bob, contact him via

Thought of the Week

"People need hard times and oppression to develop psychic muscles."

–Emily Dickinson

Blog of the Week

Top Five News Headlines

    List of the Week

    from Right Management

    Tough times at work…How does it affect your job performance

    • 84% = No, I am not distracted at work and can focus on getting the job done
    • 14% = Yes, I am sometimes distracted at work, but am doing the best I can
    • 2% = Yes, I am often distracted at work and find it difficult to do my job well


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