Telecom takes its flu shot

I always hated getting a flu shot because of the way you felt after it: Kind of like the shot itself gave you the flu. So, I didn't get one for several years. Most of those years, I ended up getting the flu later on, always during the darkest, coldest part of winter, it seemed, and I wondered if I would have avoided the flu, or at least mitigated its effect, had I gotten that flu shot earlier. This year, I was a good boy, and got my flu shot long before winter began.

The telecom industry is doing the same. It's never liked getting its flu shot, because why give yourself the flu in order to avoid the flu? Stay optimistic as long as you can, take your medicine when you get sick and not before. Deal with the bad times as they come, then get well and back in fighting shape.

There are several lessons that the telcom industry learned from a horrible downturn earlier this decade, and one of them was how to be cautiously optimistic. It took some years to learn that lesson fully, but telecom service providers and vendors have been cautiously optimistic throughout 2008, knowing that other industries were falling ill around them, but still re-affirming positivity for as long as they could see it ahead of them. Now, I think they more quickly have learned a lesson from the multi-industry-economic-meltdown-now-we're-calling-it-a-recession of 2008: How to take their preventive medicine.

I don't recall another time when telecom companies actually pursued restructuring and job cuts before the worst of a market crisis or recession hit this particular industry. Yet, we have seen AT&T and other companies do exactly that in recent weeks. It doesn't make you feel any better the day after--and it probably makes you feel worse--but these companies are trying to take better care of themselves. The preventive medicine is not itself the cause of the illness. Taking your flu shot actually now may help you avoid the sick bed during the darkest days of winter.

-Dan

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