When two or more people get together and commiserate about how bad things are, they create a community of misery.
Do communities of misery help or hurt? Frankly, I can't see what good they do for anybody — especially the people participating. Yet, we spend more time than ever commiserating over the economy, etc.
I recently read Ram Charan's new book, Leadership In An Era Of Economic Uncertainty. It's a must-read BTW. In the book, he mentions a well known fact about the services industry: When business slows down, you need to cut the staff to keep them engaged with their work. Otherwise, they stand around commiserating and service levels drop. He points out that when a restaurant is slammed and waiters are hustling to keep up, service levels rock because the staff is engaged. In a dead restaurant, you can't get the waiter's attention due to the little "communities of misery" they create with other workers (or long time customers).
Break up a community of misery today, and challenge people to get back to their jobs — and back to a focus on creating customer value. It's never been more important.
Besides, commiserating is very repetitive, stressful and expands negatives thinking. No matter how bad times get, talking about it isn't the same as doing something about it.
If the economy has you down, take this approach:
1. Organize your finances to cut overhead and maximize potential revenue capture.
2. Create a hedge strategy for even worse times (be it a new product, new service or investment approach).
3. Go back to work and stop checking the stock market every hour.
Whatever you do, don't take it upon yourself to be the town crier, keeping everybody informed of the misery. If you get anyone's attention, you've just created a community of misery and now you are part of the problem.