For many, retirement plans have been put on hold. Anyone invested in the stock market has witnessed their net worth decrease by 40% or more, company retirement plans are experiencing burn rates at an alarming pace and for many, just paying the mortgage is a monthly challenge. For sure, it’s hard to keep a positive attitude. Things will turn around but just try telling that to someone with a family of five who has just been laid off.
I was moaning about the market conditions to my dad the other day. He has a business background (prior to retiring, he managed a local manufacturing plant employing just over 200 people. It was an established business that consumed his entire working career. In fact, it was the first job he applied for after returning from the war) so I like to bounce business problems and scenarios off him, hoping for feedback.
After rambling on about the current state of trucking affairs (it was indeed a long rant) he stopped me abruptly.
“Robert John (I knew he meant business when he used my second name) this is not the depression that I lived through (I was waiting for the “I used to walk four miles to school, every day, uphill, both ways, in raging snowstorms”) so don’t let me hear you whine. They were bad times and we were on our own. There were no government bailout packages being handed out.”
Fair enough, he had been through the worst of the worst. He was one of four brothers. In order for his family to make ends meet, all of them had to find part-time jobs and donated their earnings to the common good of the family. From what I understand, it was the norm back then. Family finances came first.
I wonder how many kids these days would be willing (without a granddaddy of a fight) to forfeit their part-time wages to help pay for their family’s food and rent? I’m curious.
We will work our way out of this mess and the economy will recover. Whatever you are doing to minimize the effect this downturn is having on your business, do so with this in mind. No doubt, one day we’ll be the ones talking about the four-mile walks to school, every day, uphill, both ways, during raging snowstorms. And around she goes… •
-Rob Wilkins is the publisher of Truck News and he can be reached at 416-510-5123.
Truck News is Canada's leading trucking newspaper - news and information for trucking companies, owner/operators, truck drivers and logistics professionals working in the Canadian trucking industry. All posts by Truck News