I’m sitting in my hotel room with some time to kill, my flight doesn’t leave for another six hours. It’s okay I guess, I’m a bit overwhelmed with all the stimulus I’ve had. It was a young crowd, a different environment that has me mulling the continuing changes in the industry. I am concerned but I’m not entirely certain why. In some ways, this newest generation represents hope but not without a lot of trouble to boot. I don’t know where we’ll end up.
The following is not true of all of the Generation Me kids, just most of the ones that were there. Still, this must be indicative of the future. Overwhelmingly, my first impression is that they don’t read, not like we do. They must read to some extent but my impression is that it’s opportunistic. Anything readable should be free, otherwise, why would one bother? Pay to read? How absurd. Even free is no guarantee they’ll consume it. I had books out. Very few were curious enough to even walk over. I didn’t see anyone even cracking a cover although some must have since I did sell 5 books (or rather, Andrea did). The thing is, if people crack the cover, they buy it. I brought another text I like, not one I wrote that I recommended highly but no one asked to see it or asked where they could buy it. This sends shudders down my spine. What will become of us if no one’s a learner?
Or are they learners? Perhaps their absorption methods are different, the outcome of their upbringing. I’m wondering about podcasting. I wonder if they’ll listen to those. I spent several hours this morning reading (of course) about it so I think I’ll try it. Otherwise, I may be just another grey hair destined for the dust heap. A friend mentions statistics that show that over half the people who graduate from college, never read another book in their entire lives. Frightening. Can we reclaim or redeem them somehow?
Then I wonder if podcasting my entries would be enabling them, catering to them. They’ve been so privileged thus far that their sense of entitlement seems to know no bounds. Even here, many have complained of their cynicism and arrogance. But I know they’re not all like that. I’d been feeling a little out of joint about many of their snarky responses here (all of the kids at the seminar were very nice and polite) when they choose to comment, to the point I thought I was going to blow up and write a really nasty post about it but I held off until I could read Generation Me: Why Today’s Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled, that I intended to write about here but never did. After reading it, I’m less angry about their sense of entitlement and can even feel sorry for them (yes, pity) in some respects because they’re screwed. How many of them will be able to buy homes as we have, on incomes such that are available to them? And yes, many are profligate, unnecessarily saddled with debt of their own construct. They are a cynical generation. While I envy the horizon of the span of their lives, unable to see the edge of what society will be at their ends, I do not envy the substance of what their lives will be. More choices in low fat lattes but fewer frogs and bees.
Opportunistically, I wonder where my business will go. If they’re not reading, am I cooked? If they’re all making tees from blanks, they won’t be needing patterns either. I thought I could focus on the now, those who still read with the means to launch lines but these numbers will become more sparse. Are those that will succeed in the business be like Danielle and Christy, or like these disaffected cynical entitled youths? Mindy and I continually mentioned how this industry is a relationship industry so many will find too late they won’t make it but some must make it. Cockroaches managed to survive the last ice age. I don’t mean to use such an ugly analogy but nothing else comes to mind. Reconsidering, it may be we who are the cockroaches. Will their new paradigm triumph in the end? They’re building relationships with each other, someone must follow us. I’ve always said that many of us need to die off and can only hope I’m not one of them but many are guilty of business practices too archaic for survival today. Yesterday’s event leaves me with the impression that we’re on the cusp, or maybe it’s a midway point of two diametrically opposed points. A teeter totter vacillating tightly, which way will it go?
With another twenty years of work life ahead of me, it’s not too late for me to get my electrician’s license.