This doesn't have a lot to do with recruiting, other than to help me through an attitude adjustment and maybe provide some perspective for 2008 which has been a rough year. It seems the daily grind hasn't been this tough since 2001/2002. I've been moping around for about 90 days because business is off which means the paycheck is down and expenses are up (I never thought I'd have to spend $80 to fill a minivan full of gas). It's tight - I'm sure you can relate. And when it gets tight the pressure is turned up and when the pressure is up it's easy to get into "this sucks" mode.

Next week I'm traveling to New Orleans again to help with recovery efforts in the gulf. It's hard to believe but almost 3 years removed from Katrina and there are still tens of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of people who had a home on Aug 1, 2005 who still do not have a home today. I started my packing ritual last night after an especially stressful day at work and things started to come into perspective. Next week at this time I'm going to be "mucking" a house that's spent the last 33 months devoid of any life beyond mold. The family that lived there may or may not be there, but they've spent nearly 3 years with their lives in turmoil, perhaps not knowing where they will be living month to month or even what they will have on the dinner table tonight.

For those that believe New Orleans is back, it's not. They're still missing 1/2 the population. Imagine your street. Now imagine 45% of the homes completely gutted to the studs - those are the lucky people because there are houses within walking distance that hasn't been touched since Aug 05. There are flooded cars in the driveway that have sat there since the water receded. You haven't seen your neighbors for 3 years. Trailers that have been long abandoned sit in overgrown yards. The closest open grocery store is 10 miles away and packed wall to wall with shoppers. The McDonalds & WalGreens around the block are still shuttered. Spray paint from the rescuers remain on the front of most houses and you thank God you see zero more than one, two (or SEVEN) in the bottom quadrant of the X (a number signified a fatality found in the home). This is the reality of some areas of New Orleans today.

Frankly the important things are great - everyone at home is healthy, both my kids were honor students last year, I have more than enough to cover the essentials, I have a good job with people I like to work with, we still have time and money to enjoy a summer vacation, it's the end of June and my Cubbies are in first place, what more do I really need? Maybe my Royals putting the Cards another 3 games behind the Cubs this week, but I don't want to seem greedy (or unrealistic). Enough of sweating the small stuff, and it really is ALL small stuff. Business may very well get worse before it gets better, but next week is about serving not only a family in New Orleans but also about reminding me what's really important.

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