Outlook

"Patience creates confidence, decisiveness, and a rational outlook, which eventually leads to success."
-Brian Adams

As of this morning, my outlook is fixed. Finally.


It all began a month and a half ago. It was just about the same time that the place where I live, Seattle, began to live up to its reputation of being one of the greyest, rainiest and most dismal places to be. I wore my rain gear every night after work for my evening walk. Each night I rotated between three pairs of running shoes. One pair was usually dried-out enough to wear; the other two, still by the heater, working their way back to wearable. On top of the rain was the daily deluge of bad news about the economy. Unemployment is at an all-time high. The US deficit is the highest ever and Greece’s economic turmoil is now rippling out to other countries. And, it looks as though we’ll have a jobless recovery.

The commute into work each day has become eerily light and I can actually drive the speed limit on the freeway: the bumper-to-bumper traffic has disappeared.

But, back to my story about my outlook being fixed.

A month and a half ago, I had upgraded my Microsoft Office to the 2007 version. Yes, finally. Everything seemed to be just fine. As the machine was shutting down that first night after the upgrade, I could see that three automatic updates were being installed. "Good news," I thought. "Microsoft is keeping my machine safe from viruses, worms and other nasty internet threats."

The next day, I opened my newly upgraded Microsoft Outlook. Catastrophic Failure. Not just one little pop-up window made that announcement, but seven. I contacted Microsoft. They told me to contact Dell. Dell told me to contact Microsoft. And, on this went for several weeks—each company passing me back to the other. In an effort to get the darn problem fixed, I searched thru the WebPages of notes from others with the same problem and tried, unsuccessfully, to fix it myself. Finally, I contacted Geek Squad where my newly assigned Geek Squad Agent seemed more than delighted to fix my outlook.

I know it sounds silly, but I liked the way my Geek Squad Agent took responsibility for fixing my problem. He seemed confident and even though it took several attempts over the course of a few weeks to get it fixed, he persisted. Patient throughout each step, he would acknowledge each of the problems he resolved. “This problem has been resolved” he’d tell me through my chat window. At one point, when it seemed we hit a roadblock that could not be surpassed, I worried that he would send me back to Microsoft or Dell. But instead, he continued on—persistently, confidently, focused on fixing my outlook. And, as of last night, all problems have been resolved. My outlook is fixed.

As irony would have it, I woke up to a sunny day this morning. Giving my rain gear a break, I put on a dry pair of sneakers and headed down to the lake for a cup of coffee and to read the New York Times. While one economist painted yet another bleak picture of our economic recovery, another pointed to the indications that the economy seems to be improving. While unemployment is the highest it's been in 25 years, the stock market is lifting, retail sales have stabilized, and while still weak, auto sales have improved slightly in February. Houses have been selling in greater numbers and consumer spending appears to have leveled off after plummeting last year. Credit markets have even have even improved.

I know it will take a long time for our economy to recover, but it's important to notice the progress we're making. My condo is still underwater, but, with patience, confidence, decisiveness and a rational outlook, I know things will turn around. And, before we know it, our economic outlook will be fixed.

© 2010 Lisa Ann Edwards