I live in the New Normal. I think I got here before a lot of people, when I started my marketing consulting business back in February 2001. We had just witnessed the dot-com bubble, and 9/11 was coming up. Maybe I have lived in the New Normal all my life.
Time is much different when you are a consultant and have to create a job for yourself every single day. On Fridays, people tell me to “have a great weekend.” My Fridays don’t feel like the Fridays I lived when I worked for somebody; I work most Saturdays and even on Sundays for a bit or longer. Then again, Mondays don’t feel like Mondays, and the dread of work for some doesn’t start on Sunday night – fortunately, I don’t really have much dread. There are other things that people who live my life think about. You have to live here to know them.
I like watches. Most work, others don’t, but I don’t use them as a way to find out what time it is – I wear them as a part of my brand. I use my iPhone to tell time, or to tell me when my workout is over. Many Millennials around me don’t wear watches. Some also wear them as jewelry; they seem to like big watches.
I often get calls from people I work with, asking if I have heard anything about a deal we are working on. I respond that in the New Normal, there is client time and agency time. Client time means that they want your proposal today. You take your smartphone to the toilet with you, don’t you? Guilty as charged, your honor. According to PC World, 74% of men do and 78% of women do.
Agency time, by contrast, is waiting for clients to review that proposal, respond to your presentation, or to your new business pitch that you worked late into the night to get ready. Two different clocks in the same 24-hour day, because clients or prospects have watches that still tick in the Old Normal.
The New Normal often doesn’t align with other agendas from the Old Normal. I often talk to people who tell me how they are waiting for checks in the New Normal. They are in the mail…we all know the joke, snail mail called bills arrive with their same rapid Old Normal pace. They march on with resolve and higher fees if you miss their beat.
In some ways, time is better in the New Normal. People sometimes ask me how old I am. I ask them what year it is, and then I tell them that I am the oldest and the youngest I have ever been in my life. I learned that from a song that was written in the past for the future, by the Byrds. The lyrics said, “I was so much older then, I am younger than that now.”
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