Cabin Fever

My mom lives in New Jersey. Around February or March of every year she gets cabin fever. Too many cold and miserable days spent indoors, and she starts climbing the walls.

It’s August in San Antonio, and we are in cabin fever mode. With over 50 days exceeding 100 degrees, I’ve just stopped any outdoor activity until the weather breaks. I’m climbing the walls, but it’s too darn hot to do anything outside without air conditioning.

My clients are suffering from a business version of cabin fever. They are tired of hearing customers put off purchasing decisions, employees asking when they will start getting raises again, and the other nagging pains that go with a recession.

This is the longest economic contraction for any business owner under 45 years old or so. It seems like it’s going to last forever. Attitudes stink, and everyone is grouchy.

Discover Financial Services just ran a survey about the outlook for the next year, and 57% of business owners said things would be worse. Intuit (the QuickBooks people) did the same, and over 50% of their customers said that things would be this bad for at least another 2 years. The National Federation of Independent businesses NFIB, says that fewer than 5% of their members think it is time to expand. We all have cabin fever.

Things are bad, but they won’t be this way forever. The economy is like the weather. We can complain about it, but we can’t do anything but deal with it.

Sooner or later we’ll get that first warm day of Spring, that first cool breeze of Autumn, or that first week where we can’t get orders out fast enough. Then we’ll quickly forget cabin fever…until the next time.

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