Wednesday, October 6, 2010

An indy entrepreneurial spirit glows in the heart of a former industry town

I live in a smallish town in northern Michigan. The economy is depressed - and the autoworkers have a hard time finding jobs.

However, although the media is constantly reporting how Michigan needs to recruit "high tech manufacturing jobs" to the state, a more interesting thing is happening. The Gen Xers are doing their own thing.

I write a lot about Jeff Gordinier's book X Saves the World - and Gordinier's assertion that Xers are "micro" and "indy" in their approach to work. That's what's happening in my town. Things are supposedly so bad - and yet pretty much everyone I know has a thriving career. I believe it's because most everyone I know is a Gen Xer who never really bought into the Industrial Age model of work (even if we did have to tolerate it for the early part of our careers.)

My husband recently started his own consulting business - and he's got more work than he (almost) can handle. Another guy I know has a thriving design business. Another gal I know does, too. There's also these folks. And these. The Xers have even started their own "business after hours," because the chamber one wasn't really jiving with what the Xers wanted. Even our State Representative is an Xer.

As Xers, we're often not all that great at speaking up. We kind of have this thing where we don't think we can change your mind, so we don't bother trying. And I think it hurts us. So when the media says everything is terrible, we don't bother correcting them. Today, I am correcting them.

The truth is, if you have a 21st Century Information Age mindset, things are probably going okay for you.