By Bill Chatfield, CFD, MSBO Board President, Director of Operations, Walled Lake Consolidated Schools
Some of you may know of a local watering hole that has a sign like this enticing you to return for the ever-elusive free beer. While my favorite establishment may be temporarily closed… again, I’m reminded of this sign above the bar that always gives me hope that one day I’ll actually be handed a free beer. I’m still waiting.
It sometimes feels we’re living in a perpetual free beer tomorrow environment with the promise of a return to normal just around the corner. Despite months of improvement, virus cases are increasing. Returns to school have been paused. The promise of a vaccine whets the appetite but remains unavailable. The list goes on. The reality is that whatever your definition of normal was prior to the onset of the coronavirus, it’s unlikely a return to that environment will occur. One might as well hang a sign that reads, “return to normal tomorrow.” A new normal is inevitable and it should be embraced, not feared. While we are certainly experiencing challenging times, history is replete with generations experiencing equal challenges and adapting to new normals.
I came across an interesting perspective in a Perritt Capital Management newsletter recently. Imagine you were born in 1900. On your 18th birthday, World War I ends with 22 million dead and the Spanish Flu epidemic kills 50 million worldwide over two years.
When you turn 29, the Great Depression begins causing a GDP drop of 27% and resulting in 25% unemployment (with no COVID stimulus package). The country nearly collapses along with the world economy.
When you turn 41, the USA enters World War II which claimed 75 million victims worldwide. Smallpox was an ongoing epidemic until your mid 40’s that eventually claimed 300 million lives. Polio effects or kills many of your family and friends well into your 50’s.
At 50, the Korean War starts. 5 million perish. On your 55th birthday, the Vietnam War begins where 4 million people die before the war ends 20 years later. When you turn 62, the Cuban Missile Crisis occurs, a tipping point in the Cold War, nearly resulting in unimaginable nuclear conflict. Life as we knew it, nearly ended.
How did those born in 1900 endure all that? They just did and one could contend that following every major crisis, advancements improved the lives of all Americans and mankind. The phrase “if you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backwards” is as relevant today as ever. We have an obligation to take the lessons we will have learned and use them to improve our work places, lives of our employees, and the opportunities for our students.
We too will move past this crisis and get better. And when we have the opportunity to once again connect in person, I promise to buy you a beer – tomorrow.
Other Articles in this Newsletter
- Develop Your Leadership Skills
- Is it Your Time to Serve?
- Looking for a School Business Administration Degree?
- MSBO Awards and Scholarships
- MSBO Investing in Its Members! – Brian Marcel, MSBO Board of Directors
- MSBO Update – November 2020
- Professional Development at Your Fingertips
- Welcome New Members