From the Editor: Time for Us to 'Man Up'
There is no question we are facing a difficult time. Magazine shutdowns, unmanageable debt, reorganizations and staff layoffs continue to fill headlines in many industry media. Besides the harsh bruising we are taking from the economy, the very environment in which we publish is changing before our eyes. The result, in most cases: fear. And the problem with fear is that it can paralyze you. If it doesn’t paralyze you, it can cause you to run away (flight) or act aggressively and make rash decisions (fight). In other words, it can significantly impact your chances for success.
To make matters worse, it often seems as if the bad news is being sensationalized. What good does that do us? Enough already.
Esquire Editor-in-Chief David Granger wrote in his editor’s letter in Esquire’s May issue (themed “How to Be a Man”): “We’ve become addicted to pessimism. And it has more to do with us than with the fix in which we find ourselves. We’re so stinking self-important that whatever happens to us must be the scariest, the worst, the terriblest.”
While Granger is writing from a mass-market, global perspective, it certainly applies to publishing. In fact, so does his advice on being a man: “Part of being a man is competence. Part of being a man is hopefulness. Part of being a man is believing that you can handle it. The last thing a man does is give in to childish expressions of helplessness. So from this day forward, how ’bout we suck it up and find a way to deal with it?”
I say the publishing industry should join this cause and man up. If you’re in publishing, it’s pretty much a prerequisite that you have a pair of cojones, and I think it’s high time to use them. It can be admittedly difficult to stave off the fear during what is, unquestionably, a really bad time. But it’s more important than ever.