Hope & Optimism in Troubling Times

Optimism is hard—it’s even true in the best of times. It is just simply easier to be a pessimist. Add in everything that happened in 2020 and you have yourself a concoction of negativity potential like nothing I’ve seen in my lifetime. The past year has brought so much hurt, venom, and polarity of thought that it truly is a challenge to see any silver linings. Given this reality, I set out last week to look back and bring to light positives I’ve seen that make me feel hope and optimism as we launch 2020 directly into the sun.


Plato is credited with the proverb, “Necessity is the mother of invention” and perhaps nothing stands out more from 2020 than seeing this come to life right in front of us. In March, people everywhere made the acronym “WFH” a household term. This was made possible by an already existing infrastructure of technology that expanded to meet the needs of a hungry workforce. It is true that the GDP suffered miserable losses in Q2 as many economic sectors shuttered, but can you imagine how bad it could have been without virtual networking? I don’t want to think about that.

Many businesses also pivoted to make PPE, sanitizer, ventilators, and most recently the vaccines we so desperately need to make 2021 a recovery year. While some companies succeeded and others faced challenges, the ideas and innovation created saved so many jobs and lives.


If you are still standing after the past 300+ days, you are tough. I heard an interview, years back, where a NASA Astronaut said he took cold showers every morning to, “Carve a toughness groove in my brain.” What we went through this year was like taking 10-hour cold showers every day. Give yourself some credit and understand that you have what it takes to overcome adversity. You may have seen your business decimated, were sick yourself, or lost a loved one. The emotional and financial hurt from these things is immeasurable.

More subtle, of course, is the pain of isolation we have incurred. Humans are social creatures not meant to be shut in. But we have done it because it is the right thing to do to keep those we love safe. The slow burn of how this impacts our mood and productivity has taken a toll. Still, I’ve seen so many creative ways we have overcome this.  Zoom and other networking tools have allowed us to see the faces of our teammates, family, and friends. It’s not the same as being together, but it restored my soul in ways those on the other side of my screen might not fully know. Bottom line is that we are all tougher today than we were last year and that will make us better.

Pent Up Demand & Evolution of the New Economy

In talking to CFO’s over the past few months, I continually hear an optimistic mentality in looking at 2021. They cite tremendous pent-up demand as the reason, as well as a relatively stable market despite still being far from full employment. It could be as simple as vast number of Americans that are ready to take a vacation. Leisure and business travel only make up a little over 3% of the total GDP in the U.S., but they catalyze nearly the entire hospitality economy. A return to travel for Americans will signal momentum for our recovery in 2021.

Automation is something we have seen gathering steam over the past several years, but the pandemic has surely created higher demand for it moving forward. Part of the new economy will be an extension of Robotics Process Automation across all industries. Yes, this will mitigate certain jobs, but many believe this trend will lead to the “reshoring” of countless tech jobs that have been sent overseas. Not to mention, RPA will make companies more efficient and profitable.

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In Closing

As we begin to execute our plans for 2021, continue to remember that what happened in 2020 had a distinct purpose. We have arrived at this moment in time and are better for what has come before. There are great things happening all over our economy, both local and worldwide, and is the sum of all our individual contributions. For that, I am thankful. That, and murder hornets never really became a thing, Happy 2021 everybody!

Nate Elgert, CPC
Nate joined Aureus Group in 2006 and has exclusively been serving Nebraska customers all across the state.  In his role as Sales Manager, Nate leads an elite team of recruiters and account managers who source accounting and finance talent within all industries. This talent ranges from technical individual contributors to executive finance leadership. 

Nate has earned the prestigious “President’s Club” award three times, which puts him in upper echelon status among not only his Aureus Group peers, but also in the staffing and recruitment industry. He attributes his success to a transparent style of communication and a sincere belief in pairing the best interests of his clients with that of his candidates on every occasion. 

Prior to his time at Aureus Group, Nate carved out his skills in the banking, advertising, and retail industries. These growth experiences led Nate from Kansas City to Des Moines to Phoenix and then back to his original home in Nebraska. Nate holds a bachelor’s degree in communication studies from The University of Missouri at Kansas City and is a Certified Personnel Consultant (CPC) through the National Association of Personnel Services (NAPS).

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