Tuesday, August 11, 2009

dying industries

My girlfriend and I are both entering into "dying industries," or so she tells me. (This has the potential to become a great contest, re: my industry will last longer than yours.)

Really, they are the same industry split into specialties, with discrete distinctions that, beyond targeted experience and expertise, could easily be seen as singular. We both love — and study — writing and the print industry: me journalism, her publishing/editing. Often times I feel more pragmatic about the industry's difficulties. I'm trying to make myself flexible, dedicated and as open as possible to change. My girlfriend usually expresses her hatred for publishing's grim-reapers — Google Books, Amazon, and the Kindle — while bemoaning the trend away from ornately designed book covers and to generic omni-devices (though she loves her iPhone). But she's doing things to diversify as well — any novelty turned to advantage once school ends.

Yet, I don't feel like I'm entering a dying industry. The same doom-preaching chorus relaying the trials of the industry today (my j-school professors at ASU) now sits in a completely new university building, filled with the latest technology and creative minds. If there was ever a place to innovate and save the bottom line, it would be there. And while I've seen countless "goodbye-and-good-luck" e-mails at work, their authors usually seem poised to carry on elsewhere. So many mind-blowing projects are emerging from web designers, journalists and innovators, why has so much fear promulgated? The fear comes from economic uncertainty. Corporations and organizations have lost their Earth-turning profits, and thus, the industry is dying.

But what is an "industry," and why am I entering it in the first place? I'm not discounting the need for profits, but pushing past monetary motivations to the real spirit of why we do what we do — love for what we do — breeds a lot of optimism in me. If "industry" requires profits, perhaps I don't need it. I've no stock holders to appease, no board to satisfy. Halfway through college and embroiled in your-future discussions, concepts like "the industry" seem an unnecessary middleman to my main concern: me and doing what I love. Instead of singing odes to a dying industry, we should be consciously carving out our own space in, not an industry, but a living, however and with whomever we can.

1 comment:

Joe said...

Excellently said.