Listen to the groundhog

Punxsutawney Phil being yanked from his comfy home by people who can't wait to know the future.
Punxsutawney Phil being yanked from his comfy home by people who can't wait to know the future.
I love Groundhog’s Day. It is a silly holiday that you can just hype up and people giggle at.

When reading a post from Chris Brogan today, along with my Wall Street Journal, The Waterboy and a healthy dose of Morning Joe, I’ve come to a conclusion about this economic mess. The economy prognosticators have it all right. And all wrong.

Here is why Punxsutawney Phil — that famous groundhog — is relevant to what is going on with this economy prognosticators right now and what we can take away from him. If Phil sees his shadow, gets scared and scurries back to his burrow, there are six, long weeks of Winter left. If he doesn’t see his shadow, there are only six weeks left of Winter. Yeah!

We can learn a lot from this annual holiday in Punxsutawney, PA, but accurately predicting the future is not one of them. The “Inner Circle” of Punxsutawney have figured out how to get thousands of people to visit their little town in a very cold part of the country in the dead of Winter and all the news media talking about them for a whole daily news cycle. They created a legend of a groundhog, dress up in top hats, hold this grand ceremony and declare the future of Old Man Winter!

That is all these economy pundits are doing. Nobody knows the future. The quality of the remaining six weeks of winter is not a function of a skittish groundhog or a proclamation made by a fraud in a top hat, but by the decisions you make with that time. Will you hibernate and wait out winter or go out and play with the snowflakes? The choice is yours. Choose wisely.

As I mentioned in my comment to Chris Brogan’s post:

My take on all this future stuff, however, is to look at future films of the past — even as recent as the 1980s. Nobody got the 16:9 television. Even when screens were larger, wall-sized, the 4:3 format still reigned.

For the astute reader, you may have seen the mention for the movie The Waterboy in my opening paragraph. At one point in the movie, (toward the end, you have to watch the whole thing) Coach Klein envisions his nemesis Coach Beaulieu with the head of a cute puppy, is no longer scared of him and adopts a new-found self-esteem.

The next time you watch Joe, Pat and all these other prognosticators on television predicting gloom and doom, envision them with the head of a groundhog.

Then, go make your own future. It will happen whether you wait it out or not.

Be patient with GenY; winter is coming

Ryan Healy with Brazen Careerist posted an article up on the blog a few days ago, asking GenY to tell companies what they want. A flood of comments have come in since and will probably get a few more as the “old folks” wander into the office on Monday morning and peek at what the “crazy kids” are doing with their time.

A lot of the comments were GenY-ers, asserting themselves. Then the old farts would try to slap them back, then they would get riled again…. it goes on. Here is a short story to shed some light on all this.

When I was a young pup, we owned a laundromat in the Crocus Hill area of St. Paul. One year, around July or so, a large contingent of folks wearing robes, no shoes or anything leather descended on the area, preaching love, animal rights, tree-hugging, etc. They berated us locals for wearing shoes, belts and killing animals for clothing. After about a month of this, the local business owners had just about enough of them wandering into the shops, begging for money, preaching, etc. The subject of what to do with them came up at a local chamber meeting.

One of the older business owners stood up and said, “Don’t worry, winter is coming.”

Sure enough, when October hit and the ground got too cold to walk on, they left the area for warmer climes. And things got back down to normal. But, they left us with an experience and a short parable to write on this blog to a new generation a couple decades later.

So, don’t worry about GenY. Let them rattle a few cages, bellow out their rants and bend the older folks to change. Watch and listen for stories you can use to educate a new generation.

Winter is coming soon for GenY, too.