Barack Obama’s hair is turning gray. The New York Times reported the other day that a President typically ages two years for every year in the job. Thank goodness our new President is only 47 years old. The way things are going right now, I suspect he’ll age twice as fast as other Presidents.
We learned this week that things are worse than we thought. General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt, who used to be one of the world’s most admired bosses, saw his stock dip below $6 on Wednesday, down from $30 a year ago. (It’s now nosing toward $7.) Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit watched his shares drop below $1–a dollar! The stock-market capitalization of Citi, with shares now trading at $1.02, has sunk to $5.6 billion. Meanwhile General Motors’ market cap is below $1 billion. GM’s auditor, Deloitte & Touche, said yesterday that the automakers’ survival is in “substantial doubt.”
And today we learned that America’s unemployment rate has reached a 25-year high. Job losses in the past six months topped 3.3 million. “These days, people have either two jobs or no job,” Andy Serwer, my boss here at Fortune, likes to say. I feel it. Between writing for the magazine, blogging, and chairing Fortune‘s Most Powerful Women Summit, I’m pushing myself like never before. I was in my office until 2:45 a.m. Thursday morning. I hadn’t stayed that late since the ’90s. Made me feel young, actually.
I’m lucky. I have a job. And one that I love. I look around my office today and I see the smartest, hardest-working people I’ve ever been around. (And I’ve been here at Fortune for 25 years.) Today, slackers simply do not survive. Don’t you wonder if these twentysomethings–the enterprising and lucky ones who have jobs today–will emerge as a new Greatest Generation of workers? They might turn out to be better than we are.