December 15, 2014

Well, it’s official. I’ve entered the age of being old and crotchety. WTF.

Okay, not really. I’m still a fan of the hashtag, acting on wanderlust, and steadfastly believe “the old way” isn’t “the best way”. But after composing my daily post on Facebook this morning (yes, Facebook…social media for old people), I really questioned if I’m 39 or 93.

Here’s my offering:

“Step 349: Things, in my humble opinion, the world could use less of in 2015:

  1. The pointing of fingers (in any direction unless its back at oneself).
  2. The duck face.
  3. Social media apps.
  4. Bad dancing.
  5. New music from Meghan Trainor and Ed Sheeran.
  6. Heartbreak.
  7. Trash.
  8. Entitlement.
  9. Pundits.
  10. Ignorance.”

Kind of reads like a David Letterman (again, old) Top 10 List, but not as humorous. The voice in my head when reciting the words sounds eerily similar to that of Estelle Getty. OMG. Have I become Grumpy Bek?

No. What I’ve become is intolerant of crap.

This past March, I attended Catersource in Las Vegas. I was struck by the presentations of two speakers who addressed marketing to Millennials. One gal is a wedding planner around my age; the other is a seasoned catering professional. Both lectures were dynamic, seemingly well researched (based largely on their years of impressive experience), and gave me major pause for thought regarding the conversations’ broader context.

The thread of the chats was one and the same: we operate in a “I want it now, I want it all” world. In 2014, information is immediate, plentiful, and packaged beautifully. Big decisions are influenced by small bites, and whoever gets to the finish line first with the most pizzazz gets the prize (in the speakers’ cases, the client’s contract).

Um, no thanks. The insight that was delivered might be disheartening to some, but to me, it was a breath of fresh air. Frankly, it evoked certainty that my overextended time as an event planner had finally reached its end. What I’d been increasingly experiencing over the 10 years of my career with Red Letter Days Events, and what I’d grown impatient with and tired of, was just verified, qualified, and quantified amid the sparkle and flash of Sin City.

I got the message loud and clear: It’s time to cut from the crap, kid, because “I want it now, I want it all” isn’t you.

Does true quality exist in a mutually inclusive state of “now” and “all”? Can it? From my experience in the event world, a cheap price (yielding “all”) and a rush on planning/product/production (yielding “now”) often meant subpar results, disappointment, and conflict. I can hear voices in the distance saying, “Well, you weren’t working with right people.” My challenge to that is to question what kind of work does someone want to fill his/her time doing and what would s/he want to proudly put his/her name on.

This isn’t to say that I believe we should abandon QuickBooks for the abacus and Pinterest for poster board, magazines, and Elmer’s Glue. I get that time is valuable and in this day and age, value often equates to money. But in a world of immediacy, is quality still as important as quantity?

I was fortunate to attend a college where we examined the history of thought (at least for western civilization) by walking the walk and doing the work. St. John’s College was my critical thinking boot camp and calling it my academic home for four years is still the best decision I’ve ever made. The downside is that it fostered my ability to overthink, overanalyze, be a bit of poop.

However, I can’t say with the same conviction displayed above that I’ve made the best decisions for my career. The downside to this is that my professional being is extremely important to me because I consider it, well, me. I’ve always been attracted to the now, the all…the sexy and flashy…professionally and personally…but as I grow older, the decreasing quality of the increasing quantity has become a meal I just can’t digest.

So, yeah. Maybe I AM that crotchety old bitch. But I’m happy at least I’m a good dancer who’s pointed the finger back at her enough to know entitlement and ignorance don’t make for a great event. Neither does bad music.

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