I’ve been watching our economy since starting the Financial Aid Podcast 3 1/2 years ago. In that time, I’ve seen the first cracks form in it, spreading and ultimately bringing us to where we are today. A few folks have used the labels visionary or seer, which is most kind of them. Here’s what I see ahead.

The bad news? This is the bottom of the third in a nine inning game. There’s a lot of darkness ahead, a lot of trouble. There are no easy answers, no quick fixes that will work. Momentum has picked up so fast that on the financial markets, news that would have been hailed as revolutionary a year ago is shrugged off in less than an hour now.

What we face in the months and years ahead is nearly unprecedented in terms of economic turmoil. Our society at large will be different when we emerge on the other side. Some won’t make it.

The goods news? You’re not alone, as my friends remind me often. You as a participant in social media, in new media, have a vast network of friends and acquaintances. Now more than ever, you need them and they need you. Think of it as a guild of sorts, your particular band of rogues, working together, helping each other out, doing what must be done to keep things moving forward. Know what your superhero powers are and what your Kryptonite is, and band together with like-minded folks who have complementary powers.

Go to conferences. Go to events, go to meetups, get out of your office and away from the desk and talk to real people. You say you’re not in customer service? Wrong. You’re in customer service more than ever, especially if your title has a capital C in it. You may find that you need your customers as more than a revenue stream or a commodity – you may find you need your customers as friends and allies.

There are unquestionably dark times ahead, and there will be points when it seems as if there’s no light.

The light that you need to get out has to come from inside you, your heart, spirit, will, and drive.

The light that you need will grow more powerful when others bring theirs, too.

Grab your light and set foot on the path.

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