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Stimulus, Shmimulus!

When Do We Canadian Small Business Folks Get OUR Share?

Stimulus, Shmimulus!

By Mark Swartz
Canadian Workplace Specialist

I have been self-employed pretty much since the day I was fired from my last corporate job back in 1993. That’s more than 15 years by my reckoning.

During this time I’ve had some exhilarating ups – and some petrifying downs. Not, mind you, on the roller-coaster scale of a record breaker like Nortel. My own successes have been far more humble. As for my failures, well…while they may not be among my proudest moments, thank goodness I didn’t have to fire 20,000+ employees (or crush a lot of people’s retirement portfolios) when things haven’t gone my way.

Now the bulk of our economy is having things “not go its way.” Restraints on non-essential spending are the norm. It’s harder to get business loans and maintain cash flow.


The Bigger They Are

If you happen to be deemed too big to fail by the powers that be, you may actually be getting an embarrassment of riches. Money flowing like manna from heaven to keep you propped up. Take Citicorp, the mightiest of American financial institutions. Month by month it has been Hoovering tens of billions of dollars just to stay afloat. They are not alone.

Here on the home front, bucks are also being tossed about like confetti at a party. Not that I begrudge behemoth corporations benefiting from historic amounts of largesse. It’s just that, as a small business person myself (5’8” with my shoes on), I’m starting to wonder if I shouldn’t go after some of these handouts (er, stimulus dollars) myself.

Bailing Out The Small Fry

That’s why I’m cobbling together a re-structuring plan for myself, as the mucky mucks at GM and Chrysler had to do before getting their billions. In this plan I will insist that I receive a preposterous “retention bonus” to ensure I stick around to see my own mess through. Just like the folks responsible for the downfall of AIG.

Then I’ll rent a Lear Jet and hop over to Ottawa for an afternoon. Maybe button hole whichever mandarin isn’t busy in the Parliamentary question period that day. And demand that they stimulate me (financially, that is). If not I will threaten to withdraw from Canada and set up shop in some distant country where labour laws are flaunted and “minimum wage” means not getting whipped severely until lunch time. Media outrage will follow and the government will be forced to stuff wads of crisp green bills into my mattress lest the rest of us small business types follow suit.

Maybe then they’ll nationalize the whole lot of us! One can only dream…

Mark Swartz, MBA, M.Ed., is the best selling author of "Get Wired, You're Hired!" He is a professional speaker and consultant on workplace issues at www.CareerActivist.com.