Normally my goal in writing this is to come up with something that relates to action, setting goals and moving toward them.
But today is just the opposite.
Today, Christmas Eve, I relish in the chance to sit back and just enjoy all the wonderful things that I have. At home with the family I love, shared memories from past years and some new ones gained already, PJ’s all day, chili simmering on the stove. And all is right with the world.
Worries about MBA programs, job searches and all the other stresses that normally bubble up to the top of the mind are (rightly) put aside today - and I am cherishing the things that bring peace.
Interesting comments in President Obama’s recent speech on the economy about how we’ve “papered over” the problems in our economy over the years. First, in the 1950’s and 60’s when women entered the workforce in large numbers in order to be able to provide the standard of living people had become accustomed to. Next, during the 70’s and 80’s credit cards accomplished the same thing. Now after the housing bubble bursts we’re stuck looking for a new wallpaper to fill the gap left by the loss of home equity.
Good points, and it made me think of other areas in life where this occurs. We give this process different names: contingencies, backup plans, gap fillers, fallbacks, but really it’s just substituting one thing for another. I’m thinking here of my friends in the newspaper industry who are facing a precipitous decline in paid circulation and revenue. For 100+ years the newspaper business model worked like this: readers pay for a copy of the paper, either buying single copies or subscribing. Ad rates are based on the number of people subscribing. The more readers, the higher the ad rates. This worked for newspapers because they set the curve on the prices to make the profits their boards/shareholders wanted.
— Enter the internet —
Suddenly people don’t have to be a paid subscriber to read the news. Circulation drops and advertisers (rightly) start making noise about the same or higher rates for a smaller “guaranteed” audience. All of a sudden circ doesn’t matter to the paper execs and the buzz word is “readership.” As in “circulation is down, but more people than ever are accessing our product via print and the web combined.” Trouble is, the papers didn’t set the curve on the net’s ad rates. Online ads are much cheaper on a cost per 1000 views than the standards set for print. For all the effort put into selling ads for the same audience the payoff is less. They’re stuck in a situation where they’re trying to paper over a tremendous hole in revenue with something a fraction of the size. Clearly this is totally unsustainable…much like the nation’s reliance on credit card debt. We’re papering over holes in income with more debt and closing the gap seems to be more of a dream every day.
These tradeoffs and contingencies - the wallpaper being put up - are necessary and can show good planning. The alternative is just giving up. But I worry about when it’s time to take the wallpaper down.Trust me, as an experienced un-wallpaperer that’s a job no one wants.