The world will not be the same for a while.
Dear child, I wish I could say that I know what is in store for you and what the world will look like when you are older. But that would be presumptuous and irresponsible of me. I am not sure what the world will look like tomorrow. We are, as a nation and as a whole planet, in deep denial about the magnitude of this issue.
I had a kid today use the word magnitude in a homework video. I felt really proud and I realised how much I miss these kids and how lucky I am to be having these conversations with them. I felt like hugging them all who had the courage to sit in front of their phone and record the homework I gave them (pre-pandemic virus-free bear hugs). They are more used to this than I am, anyway. When I made my own video as a model for them, I nearly pooped my pants out of embarrassment although I was all alone in my kitchen and I could do as many takes as I needed and I had the necessary skills and tools to edit out the blunders. But I didn’t. I sent it raw, unedited, without removing background noise, or fixing the contrast or even without adding any beautifying filter to smoothen my hormone blotched face. I said, if I’m gonna step out of my comfort zone for this, I might as well step out of a cliff.
Until this year, vlogging had never occurred to me, and now I am actively looking for ways to start my own vlog. What topics, what background, how to edit videos, should I show myself or just use my literary persona, the Reading Reed? But for many of those kids, this is very common. I am 34 and I already feel ancient, this is what they meant when my folks were saying they were old at 30-something. Technology gets ahead of you eventually, if you stick to your comfort social media. How to reach them? How not to become a fossil in the classroom? Will I still care when I am 50-60-70? Will I still be here?
A collaborator/boss said something today that really stuck with me – that this is a crisis situation and that we have to adapt( or fall off the wagon… he didn’t say this part, it’s my own interpretation). It is time to stop whining about loss of comfort and to stop patiently waiting for all this to be over. It might be over but the world will be a very different place in the aftermath. Adaptation is how life thrived on Earth for billions of years. I just watched a TED talk the other day about the many times Earth faced mass extinction and still life prevailed. The weaklings, the underdogs, the ones who went into hiding, but also the ones who learnt how to eat different foods, how to swim when land wasn’t enough anymore, those are the ones who make it. There are different kinds of survivors and therefore, I don’t believe that the world will automatically become a better place, as some of my more optimistic friends believe.
Take businesses for example, two kinds of businesses will be strong in the aftermath of this whole ridiculous situation: the ones who adapted, who went online, who stayed in touch with the clients and protected their employees. They will come out of this a little or a lot disheveled but they will survive. They will not look the same, they will be the land mammals who grew fins and went in the water, who learnt how to eat fish when there was no more chicken. And they will try to keep afloat, to make the world a better place, to prevent future crises like this one; the new business model will be based on adaptation and flexibility, rather than on rigid structures. They will continue to run business based on values and principles, for the greater good, primarily.
The other kind will be the opportunistic rat who came out of the shadows when the dinosaurs were gone, to gnaw on their bodies and to take over the world. The ones who have pulled out their assets from the market as soon as crisis hit. The ones who hid their money under the mattress and let go thousands of employees to minimize loss of capital. They will have the resources to reboot, and to seize whatever gaps will be there to be found in the economy afterwards. They will continue the same business model as until now – the one which is primarily based on cash cows and trends or dire necessity.
This is by no means a proper analysis of any kind. I have absolutely no factual knowledge about business and economics. I am assuming, playing with analogies and jumping to conclusions based on what I see around me.
And there is no right answer to my riddle, because if you look back into the history of nature, if I may continue my analogy, you will find that both creatures are our ancestors. We have both genes in us – the opportunistic rat and the noble dolphin. Which one will prevail? Well, how does that story about the wolves go? – the one that thrives is the one you feed the most. Choose your services wisely during this crisis and afterwards.