I’ve spent considerable time in recent days chatting with watershapers about the way things are going — just touching base with old friends, mostly. These conversations generally start with curiosity about the magazine and what I’m doing, but in the natural course of these discussions, many of you have been more interested in talking about your own lives and how things are going in your businesses.
As someone who has reported on watershaping for years, I’m much more comfortable listening than I am talking — and here, in capsule form, is what I’ve been hearing: There’s lots of activity but little action.
I’ve heard about contracts that have been suspended because the stock market ate the budget. I’ve heard about phones that had kept ringing through thick and thin but have now gone silent. I’ve heard about projects that had been in the works for long periods of time — projects that had come back into play after months or years on the back burner — being put off again because of financial reversals, financing hurdles or simple hesitation brought on by what’s been happening with the economy.
This isn’t what anyone needs. After nearly three years of hardship, it seemed earlier in 2011 that things were finally bouncing back — but now seem to be slipping away again.
It’s easy to get discouraged once you’re in the pressure cooker and you have no clear sense of when relief will come. I know that personally, and I will spend the rest of my life wondering what I might have done differently that would have let me carry on with publishing WaterShapes as a magazine. But like many of you, I’m reevaluating everything I do and am finding ways to keep moving forward.
Knowing that we’re all in the same boat to varying degrees is the worst form of cold comfort, but I take encouragement where I find it: We are involved in businesses that bring good things to the lives of our clients, and I can only think that our dedication to craft, to fine design and to the many benefits watershapes bring to those who own them give us reasonable assurance that eventually our perseverance will pay off and that good outcomes aren’t out of reach forever.
Am I being naïve, a foolish adherent to wishful thinking? Or is there really a brighter tomorrow in store for those who stick with it and stay focused on delivering excellence and making clients happy? I’d like to hear what you think — no holds barred. Please leave your comments below.