While watching the inauguration on TV with some of my agency co-workers Tuesday, I was struck by the realization that this historic event, in addition to representing a sea change in America’s socio-political dynamics, also represented a remarkable example of lost workplace productivity for an economy that is already staggering under the weight of a recession of unprecedented proportion.
Even if you concede that, statistically speaking, in the neighborhood of seven percent of the million or so employment-aged souls massed between the steps of the Capital Building and the Washington Monument no longer have jobs to go to, that still leaves a significant number of inaugural attendees who were presumably workplace MIAs.
Whether you regard that phenomenon as a sign of optimism that things will get better soon, or indicative of a “things can’t get much worse, so I may as well call in sick and take in the spectacle,” attitude isn’t really important. What is important is to realize that a new administration alone isn’t going to make things right. Now that the inaugural flags have been folded, the bunting stowed, and the echoes of the newly elected president’s speech have faded, it’s up to “We the people” to get back to work, grab a metaphorical shovel, and do what we can to help dig our way out of this economic mess.
For me, that means looking for every opportunity to enhance my value to my agency and to our clients. Taking on additional responsibilities. Delivering more than what’s expected. Working harder, smarter—and yes, even longer—if that’s what it takes to keep the revenue spigot flowing. In an economic environment in which it’s becoming a privilege and a blessing to still hold a job, how could anyone feel good about doing anything less?