Suddenly the world outlook looks a little more promising.
Have we reached the proverbial tipping point? Malcolm Gladwell did us all a favour by coining that phrase.  Warren Buffet said only yesterday that the unprecedented fear and withdrawal of recent months needs to be replaced by confidence in the future. Franklin Roosevelt said  that 'the only thing we have to fear is fear itself'.

But what does this all mean for those of us in the executive search industry or those senior executives who are out of work? I believe it means that we need to have confidence in our own value and faith in what we can bring to a client company or to a future employer.

The current freeze on credit and on hiring will abate - the only question is how quickly.  We should not forget that the vast majority of people remain employed (in the US, 91%), and that the economic wheels continue to turn. Although executive searches are greatly down in the first quarter, billions of dollars of seaches are nevertheless being spent by clients worldwide. The Dalai Lama is quoted this week in Business Week with reference to those who have lost their jobs. "The tragedy has already happened. Instead of more frustration and anger, now think about other alternatives. Make an effort. That’s better. There’s a Tibetan saying: Nine times failure, nine times effort, without discouraging oneself."

The economic commentary about why the financial collapse occurred is being replaced with discussions about what the world will look like once the recovery begins.  Some say that China and the emerging markets will come out on top because they have managed to keep debt under control while the Western, developed economies have become saddled with both national and personal debt that will take years to crawl out from.

But this may reckon without the ingenuity, entrepreneurship and huge reservoir of skills and executive talent residing in the western economies. It may also reckon without alternative sources of capital that are already focusing on under valued assets across the board from banking to industry to retailing.  Private equity firms commanding $1 trillion in capital are already seeking out opportunities to invest, recapitalise and grow undervalued companies.  The huge untapped potential of the emerging markets will in turn provide a catalyst to growth that will genenerate demand for capital and executive talent.Will ShanKong replace New York or London as the world 's main financial centre? Well, competition never did anyone any harm.

The picture for all of us is cloudy and confusing but human nature responds well to beams of sunlight.  Those beams are beginning to break through and with determination and perseverance should translate into better times both professionally and personally. Please let me know what you are seeing.

~ AESC President Peter Felix --

Peter M. Felix has been President of the worldwide Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC), based in New York, since 1998. Mr. Felix is a former executive search consultant, who has had extensive experience in association management, in management consulting and in industrial management.

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