As I mentioned in Airlines, Air Purifiers, And Small Business Bankruptcy, my work as a bankruptcy attorney in Indiana over these more than twenty years in practice focuses on individuals and small business owners, not on the mega-corporations whose bankruptcies, mergers, and takeovers are the stuff of headlines. However, in order to offer the very best information and advice to my clients, I’m constantly combing the business news so as to better understand the job market, the economy, and the housing markets in the country and especially in the different parts of our state of Indiana.

After more than two decades of observing these things, through good times and bad, I’m come to realize that, no matter at what point in the economic cycle we find ourselves, there always seem to be winners along with losers. Take now, for instance. Obviously, things are difficult in our state, with job layoffs, high costs for food and gasoline, and record numbers of bankruptcies and foreclosures. Yet, on one single page of the Indianapolis Star, I found three stories that serve as a perfect example of the fact that silver linings and cloud covers are combined, with hopeful news holding its own despite everything.

This was a week or two ago, and on the left side of the page I read a story about Columbus, Indiana – based Irwin Financial suffering in a big way because of the credit crunch. After failing to unload $1 billion in home equity loans, then failing to gain help from other banks, Irwin was forced to issue new stock to raise money. Timing was terrible, since Irwin’s stock had already lost 50% of its value this year.

Right next to that story was a headline about the expansion of e-mail marketing firm Exact Target, with that company announcing that it’s doubling its workforce and creating a $25 million technology center. Then, again on the same page, I found a feature story about the Pull-A-Part auto salvage chain that is profiting from the fact that people are keeping their cars longer.

I’m not being a Pollyanna here. As an attorney who every day helps people deal with the all-too-real and all-too-immediate issues of bankruptcy, I know only too well that the Exact Target technology-based workforce expansion won’t happen in time to help some of my clients who were laid off from manufacturing jobs. What I want to bring out, though, is there’s always another part of the economic cycle ahead, always a good reason to do the difficult things now in order to be able to enjoy the better times that come later.