The Stupidification of American Adults

Pretty soon dolphins will be smarter than people. Look at this picture, a dolphin has learned how to use a laptop.

Everywhere I go I see babies and small children using iPads.

I hear so much whining from baby boomers about technology. I was recently in a meeting and a woman declared with great pride, “I don’t text. I told my children if they want to talk to me they’ll have to call me on the phone.” Awesome lady. I later learned she’s in a job hunt. Yeah, every employer loves someone resistant to change. Not.

Look, I’m not usually one to point fingers but guys, get on the bus. I’m not saying you have to text everyday. I’m not saying you need to tweet and Google +. But I am saying if you are resisting these things — at least ask yourself WHY. You have teachers (20 somethings and younger – digital natives) all around you.

There are two levels of adults who are at most risk of stupidification. One is like the person I mentioned above. Stuck, resistant, ego-driven. The other kind is the one who knows a little bit about social or technology and goes around proclaiming themselves an expert. Frankly, there are a lot more of these people around. Their arrogance is different. They claim they are open to learning… but they’re not. They ‘teach’ others about social media but really don’t understand much about it.

How can you tell? Do they talk all about themselves? Do they say they’ll teach you how to ‘promote’ your business with social media?

If they do they’re phony. Social doesn’t promote, it attracts. So at least be as smart as a dolphin and set a goal to learn 10 new things this year. The less you want to learn it, the higher it ought to go on the list.

Thanks to Laurie Ruettimann for the title of this blog post and for always being an inspiration. Check out her blog, the cynical girl.

Photo credit: my sincere apologies to the person who took or owns the rights to this awesome picture. I found it months ago and unfortunately didn’t save the URL so I don’t know who to thank (and search of dolphin and laptop yielded zip). So this big thank you goes out to the universe.




The Gig Economy…You Know You Want to Hear Me Sing

Ok, so the gig economy doesn’t have anything to do with singing. In an excellent article in the Atlantic  titled, “The Freelance Surge is the Industrial Revolution of Our Time,”  we learn that the gig economy describes the way  work is changing. Freelancers rule!

Here’s a summary…”Today, careers consist of piecing together various types of work, juggling multiple clients, learning to be marketing and accounting experts, and creating offices in bedrooms/coffee shops/coworking spaces. ”

This intrigues me because I am part of the Gig Economy. My current occupation is college professor/consultant/speaker-workshopleader/blogger. The way I work is more common than I would have thought.

Interestingly, in 2005, the government stopped calculating ‘freelancers’ so we really have no idea how many people are working this way but estimates have at about 42 million people.

As freelancers we face all kinds of issues. This month I found out by accident that my health insurance (which came through COBRA) had been cancelled. I got no letter, no warning from my insurance company. Just shut off. When I called my insurance company, they said, “We have no obligation to tell you that your insurance is lapsing.”

Thanks, no really, thanks a million.

I am one of the lucky ones, I have a way to get health insurance. If you want to read more about the reality of health insurance for freelancers, check out this post in the NY Times, “Safety Nets for Freelancers.”

I love working this way but it takes a lot of discipline, hard work, flexibility and perseverance. What’s my secret?

  1. Focus. I am clear about what I need to do and don’t wander around the house until I accomplish certain things.
  2. Finish. Get it done. Period.
  3. Fun. I reward myself when I’ve finished something that I totally did not want to do.

Freelancer? How do you get it done?

Photo credit:

No Thanks, I Don’t Want to Work For You…

A 30-something is in the middle of a job interview. The hiring manager is excited about the young man sitting in front of him.

From the hiring manager’s point of view, the interview is going very well. He has laid out the requirements, is satisfied that the candidate has good qualifications and equally as important, he seems to be a good fit for the group

The young man pauses and stops to think and then says,

“Thank you very much for your time today. I am very grateful but from my perspective this interview is over.”

The hiring manager is completely taken aback. “What do you mean?

The candidate continues, “I like your company, but you just finished telling me how many long hours you work. I have no objection to long hours when they are needed to complete a project. You also just finished telling me about how you miss spending enough time with your family.  I am looking for a company whose leadership is committed to work/family balance. So while I appreciate your time, I think we are not a good fit.”

Dumbfounded, the hiring manager said goodbye. Initially, he was furious. How dare that kid tell me anything about running a business. After discussing the event with a few others, he started to think seriously about the candidate’s point of view.

There are a lot of reasons why the best and brightest may not want to work for you. Check out this article by (one of my favorites) David Meerman Scott called, “How to Build a Crappy Workforce.”  Perhaps you’re not scrambling for talent yet but you will be and if you think changing your culture now is difficult — imagine what it will be like when the economy is back full steam.





Image credit: Fast Company

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. Progress Not Perfection.

If a beaver really thought about all the work it would take to build a new home (dam), (s)he might never start. But since the need, desire and drive to build are innate… he doesn’t stop before he starts.

Somewhere along the way, human beings, who start out curious and driven (just watch a baby learn to walk) – we stop learning new things. How many times have you stopped yourself from trying something new because you were afraid?

Is it looking, acting or sounding stupid or admitting you don’t know something? We think that if we act like we’re not sure that we’ve somehow failed.  The older we get, the less likely we are to try something different.   We need to recalibrate our ideas so that learning new things is what’s good!

Here are my suggestions for staying hungry. Those of you who know me, know I’m already foolish (thank goodness!)

  1. Everyday do something you don’t want to do… just for practice.  Don’t gripe or complain, just do it. If you say one word about it to anyone, it doesn’t count. Do it for 7 days in a row and then talk with someone about the experience.
  2. If you have a chance, watch a child learn new things. Do they get frustrated easily?
  3. Make a list of the last 5 things you learned. Is it an easy list to construct or did you have to think about it for a while?
  4. Set a goal to learn something new and take one small step towards it.

If you want to be Steve Jobs (author of ‘stay hungry, stay foolish’ and noted perfectionist) then this  post is not for you. If you’re a mere mortal, then please tell me…. how do you stay hungry?