A temporary gap, pause, break, or absence can be called a hiatus. When your favorite TV show is on hiatus, that means there are no new episodes — not forever, just for a little while. … If someone has to leave her job for a time, she’s going on hiatus.

Rather than look at the upcoming month or two as the complete destruction of our industry, perhaps we could look at it as a hiatus. A temporary pause. A forced one granted, but a temporary one nevertheless.

Only the most pessimistic among us would believe that this interruption in our business is permanent. Painful, yes. In some cases it means laying off staff members, in others a deep reduction in whatever resources that had been put aside for emergencies. Well, this is an emergency.

I doubt if this hiatus will be long term. My prediction is that it will be weeks rather than months. It will not end as it began, like the flipping of a switch. We were told that we must ‘social distance’ and in a very few days our industry was brought to a screeching halt. There were no cars to park, no drivers to charge to park, no cars to valet, nothing, zero, zip. The tens of thousands of employees had literally nothing to do. There was no money to pay them. They, too, were forced into hiatus.

We shouldn’t forget that operators aren’t the only ones affected by the hiatus. Vendors, suppliers, consultants, all have their work slowed, and thus their income. There are no tickets to spit, few citations to write, no meetings to attend, (remember that pesky social distancing), and because of the ‘SD’, extreme difficulty in making presentations about new products and services. We may think we can proceed without interruption digitally, but there is no replacement for face to face discussions.

When the virus withdraws, and it will, life will return to normal. But it will do so slowly, perhaps over a period of weeks, if not a few months. We won’t get an ‘all clear’ and head off to a bar or restaurant to celebrate the end of the pandemic. This may not be a bad thing. We will have the opportunity to end the hiatus in such a way that will remove the pain, not increase it.

If you look at the definition of hiatus above, the key word is temporary. This is temporary. It is also an opportunity. We are being forced to take a look at our organizations, our people, and our industry and rethink just how we are approaching our business.

When we come back, we will be smarter, stronger, and better. It may seem cliché as we take our dog for the fourth walk of the day, but when it is over, we will be gifted with a new beginning. Not a completely bad thing.

Make good use of this hiatus.


Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

One Response

  1. Great column John!

    As a consultant, I can confirm that consultants can be the first casualty of such a unique precipitous drop in our industry.

    I share your opinion that things will start back on course in weeks not months. I am so fortunate t have several consulting clients recognizing the value of what we are working on and there likely will be great opportunities given the likely major opportunities that will present themselves will be abundant.

    Hang in there everyone!

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