Tough Times Mean Tough Choices

I want to tell you about a very rich friend of mine who isn't very rich anymore.

At his height he had three homes, several fancy cars and took only the finest trips. But then he was downsized and I do mean downsized. From managing partner at a big brokerage firm to a less lofty broker position at a very small firm.

At least he found work, but he had to let go of a lot of things.

Like two of those homes, one of those fancy cars, and pretty much all those fancy trips.

It happens. Bad times make for tough choices for individuals and for companies too.

I mean, look what's happening at media giant Primedia. Latest reports are that the company is looking to sell one of its crown jewel publications, Modern Bride, for $50 million.

This after getting rid of its Bacon's information unit for $90 million. Reports are the company's hunting and photography magazines might also go.

In short, it's a firesale.

Just like the one at AT&T. Little more than a year after putting the finishing touches building a $100 billion cable empire, AT&T boss C. Michael Armstrong is being forced to dismantle it. Some, or all, of those cable pieces may go.

A grand vision that now looks like a garish garage sale.

Enron must know the feeling. Jettisoning everything but the kitchen sink to save a once venerable energy powerhouse that was the envy of the industry.

Tough times for people and companies who thought they'd never see them.

But they did and they are. And it's a reminder to us all: don't fall so much in love with the things you have. They are as fleeting as your fame and your security.

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