Good morning, Wednesday. Happy pre-4th to all my patriots out there. Let's remember what's great about this country- we've always been an optimistic lot after all.
So I had a meeting at a we workspace this am and noticed, as I often do of late, that I was the oldest person in the elevator.
That in itself is not strange. But what's odd to me is the very notion of boutique firms, start-up companies, or small but mighty brands are not only staffed by young people but started by young people. I'm not sure why innovation is a young person's game.
Take the first dot com boom of the 90s. I was a young chick in New York, working in advertising way back then, everyone was a good deal older than me who had any power. And I appreciated that. The C Suite was full of people over 40, and it was good. And then to the left of me was an entire startup culture, brimming to the surface of New York work life in a way none of us had ever seen.
Admittedly, the whole vibe was exciting. It was the early days of the internet, and it felt like anything was possible. But I will never forget going to some rising, sexy dot com party, surrounded by children drinking from some luge, and I thought, hm. This won't last. Sure there were cute people. And yes the ping pong tables and perks were enticing. But the places were being run by children. And as someone who worked at big Madison Avenue ad agencies, this all felt childish to me. Somehow in my mind, I knew these newbies were going to crash and burn. And they did.
Cut to now. The startup culture is thriving. The gig economy is keeping many of us alive. There is a whole new way to think about work/life as many telecommute, cowork, and Skype their way through the day. I love this. I think the evolution of work is beyond exciting and here's the difference from the first iteration of it I referenced above- I'm ready for it.
Let me start by saying as I've said many times, I have no issue working with young people, whose ideas and idealism and cultural relevance are vast. But when a culture or company is in its infancy, you know what's often missing? Experience.
That's what muddied the waters in the 90s. And as I stood in that elevator this am, that's what's wrong right now. Imagine if all of us in Gen X and beyond started new ventures. Solo or together. There'd be no stopping us. I'm sure of it. Think of all the awesome stuff you've done. Imagine how valuable that can be when in the right place. A friend of mine is going for a big job at a big corporation, and all I can think about is how brilliant he is and why he's not using his powers for good to do his own thing. It seems sad to me, given that most of those big jobs come with a mark on your head and a two-year shelf life. You know it's true.
So as we celebrate our freedom and independence, riddle me this, friends of a certain age. What are you waiting for? Go ahead and poke holes. Say you need a steady income and a big office and staff. I'll shoot you right down.
Because if you are feeling edged out of your chosen industry because you have crow's feet, consider DIYing the crap out of your career. Start your own thing. Join boards of companies just starting out and show them the way. Go freelance and never look back. Hopefully, you realize that one of the great gifts of working for 15 plus years means you have great connections and compadres. Now is the time to use them. Start with me. How can I help?
Don't let some asshole eye your corner office. Create your own. Oh, ye tired, poor, and huddled masses yearning to breathe free. Get off your butts and start something. I'll be here to collaborate. And hopefully at some point, I'll be in an elevator in a random we work building, and I won't be the only person who knows the theme song to "Laverne and Shirley". Go forth, my friends. Let's take matters into our own capable hands and create new enterprises together. That's the real American way. Last time I checked there was no expiration date on that.
Cause that's what's up this let freedom ring as you free yourself up to the possibilities kind of Wednesday in the 212. Yours, in wanna be startin' something. XO