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Chapter 2. The Seismic Shift

Anxiety has always had its place in the work world. When everything is clicking you start each day in high spirits. You want to matter, learn, and grow in ways intellectual and financial and you want to enjoy yourself. Long-term goals are in place and some days you even see yourself in the driver’s seat, running the whole show, with product or service, people, and profit all at the right pace and place. Irritants, such as unscheduled people, meetings, expectations, and quota changes, will regularly interrupt your path, but you’ll move through it, because you can and you are pretty happy in your job and career overall.

Anxiety has upped the ante in this new day. Geopolitical turmoil, a sluggish economy, and technology are great drivers of change, but who would have believed that the very integrity of American business could be at stake because core values and standard earnings measurements had somehow been forgotten? We woke each day in the second half of 2002 wondering whose shoes would drop next in view of the recent turbulence: Enron, Global Crossing, Arthur Andersen, World-Com, Xerox, Tyco, and ImClone have led the way in activities no leader could be proud of. We watched as prominent business executives were hauled off under indictment for lying, stealing, and cheating. We watched as stocks lost 50 percent of their value in days because of possible associations with unethical conduct. Wal-Mart faced a class action lawsuit by low-wage workers who had been intimidated into working hours off the clock, and Wal-Mart is not alone in this activity. We are living and working in a day when government must intercede to ensure honesty. Beginning on August 14, 2002, CEOs have been asked to sign an affidavit swearing to the veracity of their profit and earning numbers.


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