Refuse to accept the belief that your professional relevance,
career success or financial security turns on the next update
on the latest technology. Sometimes it's good to put the paddle down
and just let the canoe glide.
The above quote is from Simon Mainwaring, described in Wikipedia as "an award-winning branding consultant, advertising creative director, blogger . . . and social media specialist." This pretty much described me until I saw "social media specialist" -- the one area of capitalism and corporate America where I have little expertise. Mainwaring's goal is "to guide corporations and consumers to reengineer free market capitalism to become a motor of positive global social transformation." He accomplishes this by "altering the accepted paradigms of marketing, advertising, and even capitalism itself."
Go for it, Simon, you're young -- 48 years old -- with the whole world of social transformation ahead of you. But take it from me, a 62-year-old, award-winning branding consultant and creative director: when you're my age and reading about a 48-year-old who is altering accepted paradigms, the day will come when you realize that you are no longer relevant in the corporate world. The realization will come slowly, but one day, it will smack you upside the head and you'll be doing what I've been doing all morning: wrapping up and packing away the vestiges of what I contributed to corporate America that garnered more than 40 industry awards. Despite what Simon says, professional relevance, career success and financial security these days DO TURN on the next update on the latest technology . . . and whose ass you're willing to kiss.
A colleague recently described corporate America as "vicious and cruel." Still, she continues to do what I did for way too long -- kiss its ass with the hope of bagging a contract. The one contract I had is being reduced 50% in 2016, meaning I'll be taking in a whopping $1,000/month, before taxes. After taxes, that amount won't cover the cost of my monthly health insurance. In the last two years, I've formally applied -- online is the only way to apply -- to 38 jobs. I received three email confirmations of my applications, and only one of those three sent me an email that I did not make the cut for "interviews." I also formally applied to two part-time jobs -- the house manager for our local theater (20 hrs./week @ $16/hr.) and an office assistant at a local church (15 hrs./week @$15 hr.). I did not get those jobs.
Seems like I'm up shit creek without a paddle, but I prefer to see it as putting the paddle down and gliding. A beloved recently wrote this in an email to me:
All things corporate America. Take them down. Just divorce, I'd say. It probably hurts because of what you invested. Your heart. Your ideas. Your hopes. Your best for what you were providing and doing. The repository, however, is not human. It gives no life. No real return.
The trick is recognizing that your heart, your ideas, and your hopes do have a return in their investment. Now, where to gamble? If you did not love, there would be no risk.
Gah. No walk in the park, friend. It's your life.
More than 10 years ago, I was part of a corporate branding initiative that transformed a company's business into a public square. I wrote all of the copy and invited associates and clients to "Enter the Square" because it was "a place to belong."
It's tough to realize that it was not a place where I belonged or where one day I would have no relevance. I invested 32 years in corporate America. No retirement party. No gold watch. Not even a thank-you note.
So Simon, preach it. I'm no longer listening. I'm gliding to who the hell knows where.