*A euphoric Parker is on the phone. Finally, he said, he’s found the answer to something that has badgered him for years: he and wife/business partner Arlene figured out how they can take their 11 year old Los Angeles-based food catering business, already a qualified success, to that elusive “next level.”
Exactly how Parker and Arlene intend on doing that is not as pertinent to this story as the immediacy of their decision and the person these two declare as the inspiration for their sudden expansion: the newly sworn-in President Trump.
Before going any further, it should be noted that Parker and Arlene, in their mid forties, are anything but Trump supporters. “When Hillary lost,” said Parker, “I cried for a week”. However, Parker is a dyed-in-the-wool capitalist, and the very notion that life as he knows it could be threatened by Trump’s erratic ways pushed him into action.
“That guy isn’t about anyone but himself,” said Parker. “When you see the possibility of government not functioning on just a basic level, you start to think what could happen to Social Security and things like that. I wasn’t quite financially ready to do some of the things to grow our business, but Trump is letting me know that in order to survive him, I’m going to have to florish.”
Parker and Arlene aren’t alone in their view. Among both friends and strangers I’ve talked with, Trump’s presidency is having a galvanizing effect in terms of professional and career goals. An administration that is not friendly to The People as a whole has got the people considering their options. Ideas and concepts that were once plans for the future are being implemented right now.
“I spent most of last year trying to raise money to shoot my script or get a studio to give me a shot,” said a young filmmaker I know. “My new year’s resolution to make something happen, combined with Trump winning, was a wake up call for me. Trump is not exactly a patron of the arts, so it ain’t going to get any easier; it’s now or never. I’m shooting my film. Scrimping and scraping for dough as I go along, but I’m doing it, and it’s working! People say to me, ‘Why now?’ I say why not?”
Indeed. History is filled with success stories written in uncertain times. General Foods, Disney, and Macy’s are among the iconic names launched during The Great Depression of 1929. Marx Toys (once the world’s biggest toy manufacturer and famous for, among other big sellers, Rock ‘em Sock ‘em Robots and the Big Wheel tricycle) actually made money during the depression because, after all, kids still needed a toy.
Of course, you don’t have to look back to the last century to find plenty examples of companies and individuals who decided there was no better time to chase a dream than the instant they were hit by the lightening bolt of inspiration.
The key, provided you are honest with yourself about what you have to offer, is to create a workable plan and simply go for it. Get busy. People who succeed in questionable times are those equipped with the gumption to believe they deserve to succeed, period.
“You can’t worry whether or not people are hiring,” said Cindy, a 30-something from Manhattan who two weeks ago got her “dream job” working for an L.A. non-profit organization.
“More than one person told me my chances of getting hired right after a presidential election would be sketchy, because employers usually take a wait-and-see attitude with the economy. I’m on Obamacare; I needed to become employed before they start messing with that. If you believe doors will open, they will.”
There are at least two ways to view what is happening today. To a segment of Americans, Trump’s presidency represents a Brave New World long overdue. To others, it is a world whose ambitions aren’t new at all; a world that requires bravery to enter. Count Parker in the latter group.
“As much as I despise the man, If I met Trump right now, I’d shake his hand and say, ‘Thank you.’ Parker said. “Winning the election, he lit a fire under my procrastinating ass. The day Trump took office will be remembered as one of the craziest things ever to happen to this country. But a lot of people will point to his election as the day they decided to turn off the news and get their shit together.”
Steven Ivory, veteran journalist, essayist and author, writes about popular culture for magazines, newspapers, radio, TV and the Internet. Respond to him via [email protected]