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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

What are you thankful for this holiday season?

Each night at supper we ask James (8) and Henry (6) what they are thankful for that day. Generally we get things like recess or a fun game they played at school. And we are always proud when they say something about a friend’s accomplishment.

When it is Mom's and my turn, we almost always express thanks for the boys and the family and some work accomplishment or the food on the table. Depending on how this blog turns out, I might be thankful that I wrote it at the next family supper.

Now that we are heading into the holidays, I thought I should take a moment and share some of work and market-related things that I am thankful for.

First, I’m very thankful to have this job. I’ve been with Washington Technology for 20 years now, which seems like a very long time. Interestingly, I vacillate between feeling I know a lot about the government contracting industry and feeling like I really know nothing at all.

But that feeling is a good thing. I hope it keeps me from getting complacent. And I’m definitely never bored.

WT readers also are high on my list of things I am thankful for. Literally, if you didn’t read what I wrote and visit this webpage, then I’d have a very different career right now. So, thank you for keeping me from having to get a real job.

I’m thankful for my sources. They will remain nameless, because I wouldn’t want to mention one and leave out another. And I do have some whose names never appear in print or online, but the background information and guidance they provide are invaluable. These are people that demonstrate to me why this is an important marketplace to write about.

Third, I’m grateful for the government. It seems backwards and inefficient and more caught up in rules and regulations than results. And all of those things are true, but at the same time, it also gets things done. Think about the massive humanitarian efforts we ask government workers to undertake around the globe and the cutting-edge research that takes place at government labs. Think about how the government helps with everyday problems such as food and shelter, veteran care and security.

Can we do these things better? Of course, but just because there is room for improvement, doesn’t mean we aren’t doing a pretty incredible job now.

And let’s hear it as well for industry. Government contractors are often the easy scapegoats when things go wrong and they are forgotten when things go right. They are criticized for being driven by profits. And there are accusations that they encouraged government inefficiency because it protects their business models.

We’ve seen the scandals and mistakes, but they truly are the exception. Contractors are there every day, working side-by-side with government employees. They make contributions that go beyond being well paid.

I’ve lost count of the things I'm thankful for, but here is another one: Social media. Yes, it is crazy and there are plenty of negatives, but few things demonstrate the strengths of a free and open society as Facebook and Twitter.

And my finally, I’m thankful for my co-worker, Mark Hoover. Technically, I’m the editor, and he’s the senior staff writer, but it really is a partnership. And after four years, we are close friends. My job and life would be very different without his steadiness, talent and support.

Here lately, it seems we are all caught-up in what’s wrong and what’s not going right. I want to encourage you to take a deep breath. Whatever your "thankfuls" are – and I know you have some -- please share them. If not with me, then with your family and friends. It’ll make you feel better.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Nov 21, 2016 at 12:58 PM

Reader Comments

Tue, Nov 22, 2016 K.G. Scheessele Charlotte

When other media outlets just provide data, you and Mark offer us all much more ... your thoughtful insights and valued opinions. Our thanks to you both and all the Washington Technology team.

Tue, Nov 22, 2016 Editor

Thanks, Mark. I feel the same. I hope you and yours have a great Thanksgiving.

Tue, Nov 22, 2016 Barlow Beckwiscup

Am thankful that our Government is wise enough to recognize the value obtained from contracting; for the free press we have to cover government; for an election process that, despite its faults, produces the will of the people almost every time.

Tue, Nov 22, 2016 Amtower

Nick, I am thankful to count you among my friends. I hope you and your family celebrate a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Tue, Nov 22, 2016 David Sotolongo RTI International

We are all very thankful for the insights and guidance provided by this newsletter. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you at Washington Technology!

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