Friday, January 30, 2009

Nightly Rant Report

I just laid a rant on the people who produce the PBS TV show, Nightly Business Report.

For some reason they sent me a press release trumpeting the fact that NBR is launching a month-long report on eunemployment. It's called, “Reviving the Economy: Jobs.”

"As part of this month-long series, NBR reporters will tackle the following topics:
o How those with jobs can prepare for possible unemployment
o How to look for work
o What sectors/areas are still hiring
o Problems with employment insurance system."

I looked at that bumph and thought, Where's the self-employment angle?

So I replied to the hapless PR guy with the following rant:

"Where the heck is your coverage on entrepreneurship: making your own job?

There is immense structural change going on. Many jobs and companies will disappear forever. But the work they did will have to do be done by somebody - which creates tremendous opportunities for creative, competent individuals who think of themselves as "free agents" rather than "unemployed."

If you treat people like victims, they will act like victims. Your exclusive focus on "how to get a job" could impede many people in your audience from recognizing that self-employment is a viable, and not entirely unattractive, option.

It sure beats Starbuck's. Not that they're hiring either."

The PR guy wrote back, saying "You bring up a tremendous point, I think." (I love the hesitation there.) So he passed my email on to the managing editor, who sent back this reply:

"actually.. we’re working on that as well.
we're planning a story on starting your own business... looking at new opportunities and franchises."

So I wote back and said, "Yeah, but... a month-long series on the hell of unemployment... and one story on starting a business? I really think you are missing an opportunity to be of service to your audience.

Today's young people get it, because they know how easy it is to start doing business today. Entrepreneurship is a genuine phenomenon as important as unemployment, except it's hopeful. And it encourages action and self-confidence, not victimization."

I just don't understand why stories about how to apply for a job are so much more interesting and important than how to create your own job.

Makes the CBC look positively entrepreneurial.


Anonymous said...

"I just don't understand why stories about how to apply for a job are so much more interesting and important than how to create your own job."

There's a psychologist or sociologist somewhere who could answer this succinctly.

But, in the absence of an informed authority, a layman's interpretation would be that the majority of any workforce is by and large reactive as opposed to proactive.

Given that, you can't really blame PBS, they're playing to their audience.

Rick Spence said...

Then my response is: "Couch Potatoes Arise! Open your eyes!"

Barbara said...

I am so with you on this. The Job Option is so ingrained that it gets reinforced by teachers, guidance counselors and the media. When you do see stories about entrepreneurs, they're treated as an astonishing anomaly.
Good for you for talking back!

Anonymous said...

I have to share a brilliant quote, by Joel Arthur Barker, which clearly states my opinion on this:

"You can and should shape your own future, because if you don't someone else surely will. "