Zoe’s about to turn 6 and I’ve been wondering if she’s old enough for me to tell her about the way cameras used to work. This child of the digital age isn’t going to believe me when I tell her about film, the long wait between the time we shot a picture and actually got to see what we’d done.
I was thinking about this pending conversation on a flight to visit Zoe recently and, as if they’d read my mind, the March issue of Southwest Airline’s Spirit magazine had a fun trip down memory lane with an article called Last Tech.
There are no horse and buggies in this piece, but they recalled things like typewriters, pay phones, gas station attendants, answering machines and boomboxes—all from the not so distant past.
It was another reminder that we are living in a time when change is so constant that it often leaves us breathless. What’s so striking is how different people deal with this rapid evolution in very disparate ways.
One man I know simply ignores it while opportunities zoom past him. He reminds me of Edward Arlington Robinson’s poem, Miniver Cheevy. Remember it from high school?
Here’s a verse:
Miniver cursed the commonplace
And eyed a khaki suit with loathing;
He missed the medieval grace
Of iron clothing.
It isn’t just characters from poems and real life individuals who seem to have one foot in each century. The latest issue of Time magazine showed up with a cover story titled JOBS: Where They Are.
That may not sound unusual given the state of employment, but consider this. Two weeks earlier this same magazine’s cover story was 10 Ideas for the Next 10 Years. My favorite article from that gaze into the years ahead was the one that declared, “the future of work looks a lot like unemployment.”
The author talks about the changing world of work and says the future will tend to be homebased, fueled by a new spirit of individualism that also embraces self-sufficiency. Sounds like the Joyfully Jobless are about to become trendy.
Of course, our institutions are often the last to notice changing times. College students today are increasingly reporting that they intend to run their own businesses, but are ignoring college business courses which still seem designed to prepare students for corporate jobs.
These kids are on to something, but I’m not so sure about their elders—especially those who are trying to build a business with tools and attitudes from the previous century. It’s a handicap we don’t need, but we may have to confront our own resistance first.
After all, the highest calling of the Joyfully Jobless life is to use imagination and innovation to create a near future that is somehow better than the recent past. While that doesn’t mean jumping on every bandwagon that comes along, it does require keeping up.
There are modern trailblazers all around us and they are showing us new possibilities for living and working in the 21st century. Gather and synthesize ideas from these creative thinkers.
Follow them on Twitter. Read their books. Connect with them in seminars. Make peace with technology.
Or adopt (sans drugs) a motto from the sixties that finally makes sense: Tune In. Turn On. Drop Out.
That may be the best description of how to create the business of your dreams in our not-always-so-brave new world.