By Todd Ballowe
The Change Management Process:  Can we all handle the recession downtime?

We’ve had to manage a lot of changes during the current economic crisis. Employees have come to understand that jobs aren’t secure, benefits are becoming thinner, and retirement is becoming a myth. Companies are also having to cope with tougher competition, lack of credit and limited resources. What’s been making the news lately have been the many bankruptcies and bailouts, but recently I’ve noticed something that, as a tech-worker, really bothers me.

Instead of worrying about completely losing services that are going out of business, I’m more concerned about the subtle erosion of the many services that we count on to make our living.

I work on the web. I have to be able to access the web. Lately, on days that I have chosen to work at home, my internet access is spotty at best. In fact, for every hour, I average about 5-10 minutes of downtime, with periodic small outages that can total 4 or 5 an hour.

That’s debilitating.

In addition to internet outages, local customers are also experiencing unreliable cable tv service as well. I assume that this has to do with our cable company recently declaring bankruptcy, and their subsequent cost cutting attempts and lack of credit. But to me this spells greater trouble in the long run.

Will I have to get used to 85-90% up-time? Can I?

  • What if my mechanic could complete 85-90% of my issue? How confident would I be?
  • How about if my doctor could only get me 85-90% well?
  • And our water was only 85-90% pure?

Many of the services that we rely on to do our jobs will continue to feel the effects of the recession, and surviving won’t always be enough. If I can’t get reliable internet service, I can’t do my job. Period.

But what if it doesn’t improve? What if 85-90% is the best my cable provider will be able to achieve?

As these smaller ineffieciencies creep up on us, I have to be concerned with just how much of this can happen before it begins to bring our ability to compete to a standstill. Sure, we all notice when companies we rely on fall away completely, but will the service-creep take us by surprise?