Friday, November 5, 2010

The (Mostly) Good News

At a conference a few weeks ago, I realized I had fallen dangerously under the influence of a motivational speaker when I found my hand in the air, along with hundreds of other hands in the room, and my voice joining hundreds of others in vowing to stop paying attention to the news.
What? My living is in the news. I'm a lifelong lover of the news, even when it's mostly bad. I live in Washington, D.C., for goodness sake, where it's impossible not to follow the news!

I jerked my hand down and left the room to get some coffee. No more kool-aid for me.

The speaker did have a point about the negative effect of negative news, though. And it was hard not to notice how relieved the hundreds of other people (mostly remodelers) seemed to have "permission" to stop following the news. Some high-fived each other.

Thus was born the "all's good" Friday edition of d5R: no bad news, in either the daily news roundup or the daily5 articles.

At first, it was liberating. In sifting through hundreds of news sources every day, I now had permission to ignore the reports of foreclosures, taxes, layoffs, closing factories, slumping sales, product recalls, LEEDigation... I was the remodeling PollyAnna, looking only for things to be glad about (and there was a lot, most days).

Readers seemed to like it. "I like good news Fridays better," one emailed me on a Monday. "Suggest that Good News Monday be added. Mondays don't need any help being a drag."

By Thursday of last week, the motivational kool-aid had begun to wear off. I struggled to find nothing but good news to report on, and grasped at ways to positively spin news that was bittersweet at best (a struggling lumberyard found a buyer! The Remodeling Market Index stopped declining!).

This week seemed to be a particularly rough one for the building industry, demonstrated by a bunch of economic factors including yesterday's announcement that Kohler -- that generations-old icon of American-made tradition -- had laid off 750 employees, its sixth layoff in two years. I got to tour the Kohler factory in Wisconsin last month, and one of the best parts was seeing the tour guide (who had just retired after 38 years at the plant) point out workers who had been there even longer than he had.

Which is all a very long-winded way of saying that 'all's good' Friday had to take a reality break this week. And that we welcome your good news. Post it here, please, or email it to

Have an all's good weekend.

1 comment:

Ben Auger said...

Leah, thank you for the courage to ignore the bad news!! A vow to optimism is a giant step towards happiness and success.

Ben Auger