Friday, April 6, 2012

A Birthday Resolution

It’s been a week since A Birthday Juxtaposition. In past years I would still be celebrating my birthday. But I’m older. I only celebrated for four days.
Anyway, the juxtaposition put Lady Gaga, ROI, and Generation Flux against one another in an epic (not really) mind map. Mind mapping is a good way to make sense of disconnected thoughts fighting for attention while you’re trying to focus.
I started with Gaga. March 28th was her birthday so I used mine, the 29th, to salute her. I explained her use of fame as a medium like painting or music. I confessed I love her.
Then I wrote on ROI. I am still working on the project to show exactly what impact our team is having on reducing financial leakage. I wrote a formula into which we could plug various measurements to deduce the definitive sum that would be ROI. It looks something like this:
L= T[Is + L]
No, I won’t explain it. And yes, I do apologize to all the legitimate math people who will be offended by my abuse of their symbols.
But, man, I didn’t know I could do that. It was as if I found myself speaking a foreign language I didn’t know I was fluent in.
Then I wrote on Generation Flux, or the idea that Gen Xers like me now have enough experience to really craft their own careers and feel enthusiastic about their work. Finally.
What do these three things have in common?
Be Brave
First, bravery. Despite what people thing, bravery is not an inherent trait. In fact, it is usually a last resort, a defense mechanism, a tool brought out only after the ammunition and supplies have run out.
Lady Gaga can sing, yes, she can dance, yes, she can do both better than most and way better than me, certainly. But she is not the best woman to ever sing and dance; she’s not even the best person doing it right now. Her songs are catchy, but not genius.
So how does an average entertainer become a mega star? She enters a medium she can master. The reason she masters fame is because she is honest. There is a tremendous amount of exposure in honest fame and her willingness to be that raw, that revealed, is brave.
An ROI model or even just a discussion on ROI is a preventative measure. It is the calculation one makes before taking a risk, before being brave. What benefits will this choice yield? A position that allows an ROI discussion does not need bravery. Unless one chooses against the evidence generated by the model.
This brings us to the Gen Flux conversation. While there is merit in what these people can and are doing, tell it to those they are leaving behind: those trapped in the traditional economy by their ROI models, those who haven’t needed true bravery because they haven’t been laid off.
Tell it to those people so desperate for a job that they allow their employers to hack their Facebook accounts and spy on them and their friends.
Gen Flux is a choice, and it’s a brave one, because there is another way. These people, and I’m one of them, cannot find fulfillment in the traditional economy. Yet to live there, to work there, is a proven model for security. To choose “flux” is to tell others that I am different. Well I am.
Find Reality
The second thing these ideas have in common is statistical reality. That is the reality that is presented as real and is accepted as real despite its obvious fallacies. Lady Gaga uses a pseudonym. As real as she is, she is always using the most basic mask. ROI relies on manipulated data to present a specific, advantageous picture. Gen Flux “work” is not always paid. A large portion of freedom has its own value: free.
Embrace Change
The third thing these three ideas have in common is change. Whether like the roots of a tree working their way to the surface over years and years of rain and erosion, or the violent collapse of a concrete building under the strain of an earthquake, change comes to all creatures and things.
Lady Gaga does not seem to fear change, nor fight it, she seems to welcome it, expect it, look forward to it, and even hope to force it in some places. ROI models are good for about a minute and a half until the measurements of some single unit adjust upwards or down, skewing the data and changing the outcome. Gen Flux is the product of a desire for change Generation X brought into the workforce a decade ago; it’s been simmering just below the surface, masked by corporate obedience.
Compare & Contrast
The purpose of a juxtaposition is to tease out what items have in common and where they differ. After a week of thought and some writing on these three subjects, I’m a little less than surprised to find they are more deeply connected than I first imagined.
In a subconscious way, my understanding of each is limited to my own requirements of each. I take what I need from them. I come away with bravery, statistical reality, and change.
I feel gratified by the exercise. It is profoundly selfish. Like unintentional brain candy. I guess I am still celebrating my birthday. In a weird deep thinking, grown woman, writer-nerd kind of way.

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