Professional Anxiety BY ROY OBERG
ing voiced from both sides of the aisle. The disagreements and arguments concerning global warming and the threat of new COVID variants are not going away either. And my beloved Dallas Stars cannot make it out of the first round of the NHL playoffs. Have I missed anything, anything? When I take a mental assessment of the external fac- tors that both impact and influence my business, one word comes to mind. Relax! Take a deep breath and exercise the control each of us has over our anxieties and emo- tions. To ignore the realities in front of your eyes would certainly be foolish. But that doesn’t mean these realities should overwhelm you or your goals. As a point of reference, I’m sure many of you remember the collapse of the housing and stock market in late 2008. Perhaps you remember that crude oil peaked at around $147 a barrel in August 2008, before dropping to $27 a barrel the following year. Do you remember the unemployment rates? If you are like me, you remember the sleepless nights that winter. Those were some legitimately scary times for me, and I’m sure, for many of you. Do you remember what came after 2008? The year 2009 came and so did 2010. We all tight- ened our belts, worked hard, and recovered. The stock market got a little better and then got a little better again. I remember cutting expenses at my company and along with my staff, working harder than ever on delivering val- ue to the clients that still needed us. Looking back at that
Here we are! The summer of 2022. Let the good times roll! To be accurate, I would say the good times have been rolling. For the last 5+ years or so, the corrugated industry has been rolling along in pretty good shape.
While the COVID pandemic had horrible consequences for much of the economy, our industry was deemed essential. As such, the cor- rugated market soared. Many com- panies in our space experienced re- cord production and profit. It was not an easy market as labor was scarce,
but money was cheap, and the industry flourished. But wait, that has not been the case for most of 2022, has it? Most plants have seen a diminished demand for their packaging. Money has become much more expensive. In- flation has gone from “transitory” in January, to “holy crap” in July. The dreaded “R” word (recession) has settled into our collective minds. The stock market has shed a signif- icant amount of its value. There is an ongoing war being fought in Europe, with the potential to escalate and mi- grate to other participants. Our country is as politically polarized as I have ever seen it, as a lack of trust in our federal government is be-
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18 August 8, 2022
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