The great economist and author, Peter Drucker once said something like: “the trouble is, before World War II it took thirty years to become a Vice President, since World War II everyone expects to be a Vice President before they’re thirty!”
People’s expectation of time goes quickly. The half-life of technology doesn’t help. It took thousands of years to invent the phone, then hundreds to invent the smart phone, now a new version comes out in a matter of weeks. It took thousands of years to invent movies, then TV, then home video, then video stores, then mail-to-you DVDs, now streaming. It just feels like life should happen faster and faster.
I remember touring a Dupont Family mansion in Wilmington, Delaware years ago. In his home office, this Dupont had very modern equipment for the 1920s. He philosophized that we’d all be working three-day work weeks thanks to the gadgets. What he didn’t know was that the gadgets only helped us do more, quicker, so more was expected.
Our current experience might have a silver lining. If anything, it might teach us to slow down again, not race at such a pace, and realize we can’t control the speed of everything. It might bring back a sense that not everything needs to go viral, that you can still be a success even if you don’t have a million-zillion followers. If the followers you do have are the right ones, ones who can actually hire you and are not just ‘like-able’ followers. The TV shows M*A*S*H and CHEERS were almost cancelled their first years on the air. But, over time, with perseverance, they garnered an audience and became smash hits that ran for years.
With time and perseverance your career can, too. Even while quarantining you can get and keep your name and content in front of the right audience. It might just take a little longer than expected, like it used to. And right now, that’s just fine.