Friday, November 26, 2010

What Happened
to The Future?

Apollo 17 mission commander Eugene A. Cernan makes a short
checkout of the Lunar Roving Vehicle during the early part of
the first Apollo 17 extravehicular activity at the Taurus-Littrow
landing site. Courtesy of NASA Image of The Day.

Most Boomers remember this from our childhood: We were promised that in the year 2000, technology was supposed to solve everything.

By now I was supposed to be living in a domed city on the moon and flying to work with a jet pack.

I point this out in Liquid Leadership: From Woodstock to Wikipedia on page 1...

"Imagine a little boy sitting on the floor of his family’s living room, watching television. He is fascinated by a live broadcast—in black and white, of course; the flickering image on the screen is of a man in a space suit, descending a ladder. Anyone alive today knows that image: the first man landing on the moon. It was 1969, and two men were actually standing on another world more than 250,000 miles away. It was the beginning of a new era.
Imagine being that young boy. Everything in his world promised a future where men and women could travel to the farthest corners of the galaxy. This wasn’t science fiction or an overactive imagination; all across America, television shows and the media were all telling him, This is going to happen. His toys were about the future. Theaters were putting out a barrage of movies to tell him about the future: The Day The Earth Stood Still, Forbidden Planet, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Omega Man, Planet of the Apes, Soylent Green (was Charlton Heston busy back then or what?). There were British shows too, like Dr. Who, Space: 1999, and UFO. Eventually, THX-1138, Star Trek, and Star Wars would also make it to the big screen.

In the future, the young boy would be able to work in a domed city on the moon, use a flying car or a jet pack to fly to work, and have a business meeting in a floating satellite encircling Earth. His teachers were telling him so. His parents were telling him. Even his scoutmaster was telling him. There was proof—now “astronaut” was a job title, and there he was, driving a jeep on the moon.

This future was going to happen . . . it was real . . . it was just a matter of time.

Well, if you haven’t guessed it by now, that little boy was me. And if you were anything like me, by the time you grew into adulthood, a tiny part of you still expected that future they promised—a world where technology would be the support structure, seamlessly integrated into our lives. By the year 2000, technology was going to solve all our problems. We were also warned about the future. If we didn’t keep up, we would be feeling a sense of overwhelming anxiety, what Alvin and Heidi Toffler called “future shock.”

Currently our country is going through a bumpy ride.  Our economy barely has a pulse...(even after Black Friday and the Christmas rush), our school system needs an overhaul, geopolitics are heating up, and Baby Boomers are wondering: What the Hell Happened?

Plain and simple, Generation Y is the generation that was actually prepared for the future, whereas us Baby Boomers were told about the future, and what to prepare for. If you think Gen Y is about to grow up, have kids and get a mortgage, you are mistaken. They have a skill set that most corporations are in desperate need of...and the idea of working their way up the corporate ladder is a strange paradigm to them. Instead, they believe in running the company before the age of 30 while skipping the entire linear idea of a career.

If you need to understand how to survive and remain employable, I suggest you pick up my book. If you don't want to take the plunge just yet, here is a FREE chapter for you to ponder your future: Just click on the image and download the PDF.

Now I want you to understand, I am not trying to promote me, me, me...I am a Boomer, and what I am trying to do is get the word out through my writing. The entire reason I wrote Liquid Leadership was I started to realize that my fellow Boomers had no idea that there was a storm coming. A storm that if they did not keep up, would leave them out of a job.

Please let me know if my work is relevant to you, and what needs more. I encourage all your stories from the front lines of leadership. After all, leadership is about adapting to change.

Thank you,

Brad Szollose