In 2008 something rather interesting and completely unforeseen happened. Years of credit fuelled excess, insane property price increase, dodgy mortgages and finance funded business finally imploded. The giant ponzi scheme upon which our countries economy had been built (the premise seemingly that provided we all kept selling houses back and forth to each other for ever more ludicrous amounts, or cashing in the increased equity in our own homes in the form of bigger and bigger mortgages we’d all get richer and richer) ran into the buffers. The credit had run out, the party was over.
Who could possibly have imagined that years of building a burgeoning economy on the quicksand of ever increasing debt could have lead to disaster? Not the government it seems who had fanned the flames of excess and basked in its flickering glow. Nor the bankers who kept those flames climbing ever higher on a rich fuel of finance desperately piled on thicker and thicker in the race for more market share and bigger bonuses. So what if the money doesn’t come back, they’d found a way to sell the debt on as soon as it was created, someone else’s problem.
As the news wires cracked with stories of bankruptcies and businesses folding I sat in my leather chair in my air conditioned office and wondered how long the company that had employed me for twenty successful years would continue to do so in the face of a flat lined sales chart and silent telephone. I’d worked hard over the years, I was experienced, and I was good at what I did. But it’s an oft held maxim in my line of business that you’re only as good as your last sale. And my last sale was fast becoming a distant memory.
In March 2009 I wondered no more as the harbinger of doom (AKA the UK Sales Manager) arrived to deliver the news.
On the 30th of April I walked out of my office for the last time, minus the keys to my flash company car, my company credit card, my private medical and my company provided cell phone. Oh, and the small matter of my income.
It may have been a warm spring afternoon, but it was also a cold new dawn.