What goes around comes around

Dubbya This credit-crisis-fueled recession is testing us far more deeply than merely everyone shaving a few costs while we ride this sucker out. And while it hurts, a little pain should bring about some positives that go far deeper than mere penny-pinching. We need to dig deeper to understand more about what makes us good people: fun to be with, smart to do business with, and decent returners-of-favors. I have always (somewhat naively) operated on the “what goes around comes around” principle, but I truly believe these times will help many of us get what we deserve. I don’t mind doing people favors – I just don’t do them twice if the first one never got returned when I needed it.

But we will come out of this, and we will emerge a bit smarter, a bit leaner, a bit more streetwise, and I firmly hope this will bring the best qualities out of us. We may emerge a few percentage points poorer than when we went into this, but the world we will be living in should be one where we help each other out more, and appreciate what we have.

When I look at the way many corporates and people behaved during the greed years, I sincerely hope these experiences bring a degree of humility to us all. I live and die by my friendships – whether personal or work-related, and I know many of you who have the same principles will get through the next couple of years. However, we all know people who just focus on what they can get out of others and rarely put back – those are the people I fear for in this economy, and I hope learn to act with more humility as a result.

Anyway, I will finish this little diatribe with a couple of points about how to treat our friends and colleagues:

People: remember who your friends are. Stop thinking just about your career and your self-interest, but take some time to get to know people a little better – and not simply those aspects that can further your own goals and ambitions

Work: use this episode to get smarter at what we do. Focus heavily on providing value and put in a little extra time and effort. If you are lucky enough to be in a job, remember the unluckier folks who helped you along the way, and take some time to see if you can help them out. If you are one of the unlucky ones, call in your favors – you will quickly learn who your real friends are…

I write this piece at 37,000 feet above the Atlantic, it's my birthday… and I need a break from this presentation, so forgive me this little opinionated indulgence…just this once :)

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  1. Posted January 25, 2009 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been in sourcing for over 30 years and have been through ups and downs. Ultimately, we reap what we sow. Good perspective and advice. Thanks for posting!

  2. David Reid
    Posted January 26, 2009 at 2:54 am | Permalink


    Thanks for summing up the feelings of so many of us during these times. Happy birthday!

    David Reid

  3. Posted January 26, 2009 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    Happy birthday brother and I’m sorry I never returned that favor! :)

  4. Posted January 26, 2009 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    Mark –

    That’s because I haven’t called it in yet :)

  5. Joyce Smith
    Posted January 27, 2009 at 2:41 am | Permalink

    Phil – I really enjoyed reading this, you really hit on some key issues with people in the workplace today. I believe 2009 will define many people in the way they treat others, and reveal a lot about human nature. But you are right – we will come out of this slump a better place, with better expectations,


  6. Youa Saychou
    Posted February 11, 2009 at 10:05 am | Permalink


    Happy belated Birthday!

    I always thoroughly enjoying reading what you have to share… Your words are like gold dust.

    Whether you have played nicely with others or schemed and plotted to get to the top… What goes around really does come around.

    For people who lack integrity, congruent values, morals and ethical behaviour, respect for others (regardless of titles/positions), and a pure sense of ingenuity vs. plagiarising other people’s work… Karma is not your friend when it comes back around.

    Great perspective and post Phil!

  7. David
    Posted February 11, 2009 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    If you give it away – you will never be without. If you try to hold it you will never have enough.

    Give to give – not to receive

  8. Soumen
    Posted February 12, 2009 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Belated Happy B’day – I always relish your posts , nice prospective on people – something most of us forget to do while being in the race !!

  9. Posted March 8, 2009 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    You are so right, Phil. I am getting pinged by people almost daily asking for help finding a job. I try to help everyone or provide intros and contacts.

    People have helped me like this along the way, I will always remember and appreciate them.

    Rosemary Coates

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