It’s unstoppable, people, this Slackonomics publicity train. Today I was on Seattle’s NPR station KUOW, tomorrow will be Wisconsin NPR (click here to listen to The Conversation on KUOW), and here are excerpts from a review and interview on Forbes.com:
Forbes.com: The 2004 article you wrote for the New York Observer painted a rather grim portrait of Gen X’s economic prospects. In Slackonomics, your tone was more cautiously optimistic. What changed?
Lisa Chamberlain: It’s a complex picture, and once I started looking at it more in depth–rather than just for a short article–the complexity of the picture just became more apparent. … You realize, “Wow, there’s a lot of creativity and adaptability going on,” and I really thought that that was as much a part of that story–that there is as much creativity as there is destruction, to use the subtitle from the book.
From the review:
Slackonomics is no hippy-dippy “everything’s going to be OK” self-help book. “Diminished expectations had become the defining force for this post-hippy, post-punk generation,” she writes. It’s not all gloom and doom, however. Chamberlain argues that these problems have made Generation X uniquely resilient and flexible.
In researching my post about cubicles (see below), I came across a piece published by BusinessWeek titled Ten Reasons Gen Xers Are Unhappy at Work. It’s written by Tammy Erickson who is writing a book about the Gen X corporate experience and our “career options.” You see, she is “worried” about Generation X and corporations — more so about corporations than Xers because now they need us (!) to fill the leadership vacuum that is about to open up. But guess what? We’re not so keen on leading Corporate America. This is of course no surprise (especially to anyone who has read my book Slackonomics), given the current state of Corporate America, which has not exactly been the best place to work since Gen X began entering the workforce, as Erickson’s Top Ten Reasons indicate:
1. X’ers’ corporate careers got off to a slow start;
2. When you were teens, X’ers witnessed adults in your lives being laid off from large corporations;
3. Most corporate career paths “narrow” at the top;
4. Just your luck—the economy was slow when you entered the workforce …
I could go on, but let’s just say I cover 8 of her 10 reasons in my book Slackonomics. And since she is a “McKinsey-award winning” writer and author of “four Harvard Business Review articles,” Slackonomics is probably more fun to read. Just a guess.
Just as the heart of Generation X is turning 40 years old, guess what else just celebrated its 40th birthday? The office cubicle! Or as Douglas Coupland coined the term, “veal fattening pens.” The cubicle was designed by the late Robert Propst at the furniture design company Herman Miller, which launched it as the “Action Office” in July 1968.
Of course, the office cubicle has inspired an entire genre of humor, from Dilbert to Office Space.
But leave it to a Gen Xer to bring a contemporary design sensibility to the cubicle, as Fred Dust of IDEO did back in 2001. Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert, approached IDEO, a San Francisco-based design firm, to rethink the cubicle. The result sounds very Gen X and already a little dated! As the press release of the time states:
The result is a modular cubicle that allows each worker to select the components from a “kit of parts” and create a space based on his or her tastes and lifestyle. Practical considerations include modules for seats, computers, displays, and lights; more whimsical modules provide a hammock, an aquarium, and a hamster wheel.
Interestingly, Herman Miller just came out with a new line of “office” furniture that is designed for the home office — which is precisely where a lot of us are working these days, as I point out in my book Slackonomics.
I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I love the concept of a slacker superhero. MaryAnn over at flick filosopher (who I interviewed for my book Slackonomics) loved the idea, too (“He’s cranky. He drinks too much. He’s not particularly sensitive to the needs of anyone but himself.”), but she didn’t think it was true to itself all the way through. She still recommends it, though:
“So here’s the thing: Can you tolerate a Great Idea that doesn’t entirely pull itself off in the execution? Can you forgive a movie for starting off awesome and ending not quite so awesomely? I’ve decided that I can.”
So I’m in LA doing book promotional stuff when I have a very LA moment. At the local coffee place in West Hollywood, suddenly there’s a buzz about a celebrity in our midst, which turns out to be Samantha’s humping dog from Sex in the City. So I stop to pet the dog and snap a photo so I can tell people about my little celebrity encounter, but later decide to google the dog. Now I think this is more of an LA moment that I first bargained for; Gidget the Dog is, according to one blog, a New York doggie actress, and of the various photos of Gidget on the internet, they don’t look so much like the dog at Marco’s cafe! Was I suckered about the celebrity status of this dog?! You decide.
UPDATE! I have official confirmation that this is indeed Gidget from her owner/manager, Mary, who was in LA on a biz trip (that’s her feet in the photo, with the identifying dolphin tattoo). She counts this as Gidget’s first paparazzi moment! See the link here for Gidget’s diary, and comments below.