THE BLOG
11/05/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Get Ready, Kids; Time For Musical Chairs

This is a short tale of the times that occurs every decade or so.

The economy is wayward and it is happening once again Service people in service businesses are looking for new jobs in a time of economic weakness. Smells a lot like the spirit of 2000. It's a dangerous proposition, too, filled with greed and disaster looming. I remember it well...

A thousand years ago, back in 1999, zillions of young people came to cities like New York and ran around looking for jobs even though they had one waiting for them -- at work. It was so much fun to look and change and jump; to job-hop at will. Everyone had a lot of bravado, even employers. Difference was: employers knew they would keep their jobs! The kids flailing about took an awfully big risk.

Suddenly it was April 2000 -- namely the 16th or the day the musical market collapsed. In the next few months a ton of hoppers were seen over to The Gap or lining the unemployment room. It was an eerie time when people would call back their employer and say oops I did it again -- namely "Can I have it back, please!" It's when a lot of the gumption-oriented said silently: "What the heck did I do now?"

Most never returned to the business they came from (none were able to get their old jobs back for even a split-second of freelance work). And somehow, people survived. Pissed off, nameless, and dumb. Most of them went back to the towns they hailed from and let the door hit them on the ass on the way...

If you leave a position where you're relatively comfortable and learning some, and go to another where you're getting some more money and what one guy told me was "a sense of security," plus maybe a boss who pats you on the back with an "attaboy," you end up on the lowest rungs when it comes to "financially beneficial" (quotes funny) layoffs. No matter how much the new guys wooed you, they were filling up for something they thought was going to happen -- its never definite!

Sorry to be dour, which is not my wont, but we are smack in the last quarter of what Murdoch's Wall Street Journal called "a wild year so far," and let me warn you to be happy with what you have -- just like I am. Because, and now I sound like my Mother for the first time, you might look back and wonder if the grass was really just as green on the side you left.

Ah yes. Green. It's the color of the year! The color of the people who are naive and don't know better. The color of our many moneyed blessings. Count yours.

Oh. I'm CEO of a PR firm and have been at it for 19 years. For more essays like this, only happier in tone, buy 2011: Trendspotting.