Avoiding Long-Term Commitment: The New Job Market

I was surprised to learn that most college presidents last about six years before moving on. A friend, who consults in the space, explained, “in many institutions, it’s just an impossible job.” Browsing through my LinkedIn connections, my first connection (his last name begins with “A”) is Len, a PR guy. Len has occupied nine different jobs since 1986; his longest stint was 6 years, and in today’s marketplace, that seems to be both (a) rare and (b) a long time. The February, 2012 issue of Fast Company ran an article entitled “The Four-Year Career” and declared “career planning” to be “an oxymoron.” The article points out that the average U.S. worker’s median level of job longevity is just 4.4 years.

The job market can be enormously frustrating, but deep down, most people understand that the economy is shifting–and that companies require employees for a period of years, not decades. In five years, Facebook has increased its her base from 10 million to 800 million; the first million Palm Pilots sold out in 18 months, and the first million iPhone 4s units sold in 24 hours; eBooks accounted for 1% of consumer trade books sold in 2008, and now, the number is over 20%. As the pace of change accelerates, the need for the same employees in the same seats evaporates. And, to counterbalance, as the pace of change quickens, the reasons why an employee would want to remain in the same seat for, say, five years, become less compelling for individuals in pursuit of active, productive careers.

But wait! There are at least two more pieces to the puzzle.

Cheryl Edmonds, featured in the Fast Company article about Four-Year Careers. To read the article, click on Cheryl’s picture.

The first is career switching. Not job swapping, but wholesale shifts in careers. Returning to the Fast Company article, Here’s Cheryl Edmonds, age 61, who shifts from engineering (1977) to a retail art business (1988) to corporate marketing at HP (1995), then heads to China to teach English (2009) before landing a fellowship with Metropolitan Family Services in Portland, OR (2011) in hopes of finding a new career in the nonprofit sector. Whether the person is 30 or 60, we’re seeing lots of these stories–people navigating the career marketplace as they might choose their next dog (whose longevity is likely to be longer than any current job), or vacation.

The second missing puzzle piece is formal education. Old thinking: go to college, train for a career, get a job, go up the ladder. Now, not so much, certainly not for a large population of liberal arts majors, and nowadays, even law school graduates are encountering a much-changed market for their trained brains. How to provide a proper college education for the likes of Cheryl, above? Marketing major? Engineering major? Liberal arts major? Get a degree, work for a few years, get another? I know a young woman whose college debt exceeded $100K, paid off half of it by taking a corporate job in supply chain management (thrilling!), hated it, sold real estate for a minute-and-a-half, then ended up in nursing school where she picked up a new $50K in debt to add to the unpaid $50K from her first degree. So here’s a system that’s not working very well at all.

On the positive side, all of this tumult leads to a far higher degree of personal control over one’s life than ever before. It also leads to a way of thinking that is counterintuitive for many Americans–if you are going to enjoy this degree of control, you need to think differently about your financial expectations, and about the management of your money. Multiple jobs in a single industry–you can expect to earn more money with every step up the ladder. Multiple careers–you will experience lateral steps, and you may earn less money in the next job, perhaps for a while, perhaps for a long time. (Freedom is not free.) For the entrepreneurs and business wizards among us, the constant jumps present fabulous opportunities to build wealth. For those who do not want their lives to be dominated by work, for whom a 40 hour week is more than enough, the less-fluid government and nonprofit sectors may be better places to work, but even employers are beginning to think twice about the ways they have operated for so long.

FROM: Miss Claire Brown, 6/25/1951……RE: Color TV

History marked time for one memorable hour today, and within its span, the promise of the greatest of all the miracles of mass communication became a reality.

At 4:30 PM, Eastern Daylight Time, color television’s triumphal entry into the public domain was emblazoned officiallyacross the log of man’s progress. In the 60 minutes that followed, this newest ,miracle among the electronic marvels was born.

Premiere, the Columbia Broadcasting System’s widely heralded full hour of star-studded entertainment, featuring Arthur Godfrey, Ed Sullivan, Faye Emerson, Garry Moore, Sam Levenson, Patty Painter, Robert Alda and Isabel Bigley, the New York City Ballet, the Bil Baird Marionettes, and Archie Bleyer’s Orchestra, took its place in history as the first commercial color television broadcast to the public. Brief addresses by Wayne Coy, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, William S. Paley, Board Chairman of the Columbia Broadcasting System; and CBS President Frank Stanton signalized, in a dedicatory vein, the start of regular color television broadcast service to the public by the CBS-TV Network.

The history-making broadcast was carried in New York by WCBS-TV, as well as by CBS-TV Network stations in Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., the color signals going out over the stations’ regular transmitters and on their regular channels.

Originating in CBS-TV’s Studio 57, at 109th Street and Fifth Avenue, New York, the color program was transmitted from Studio 57 by coaxial cable to CBS-TV’s Master Control in the Grand Central Building, New York, and carried from there by telephone cables to the WCBS-TV transmitter and by cable to the network. Thousands of the public, as wellas public and industry leaders and members of the press, saw the color inaugural in the five cities carrying Premiere. Many of the public who had completed home made conversions of their black-and-white sets also wereable to see the historic broadcast in color in their homes. Typical were the two junior high school youngsters in Newark who last week revealed they had been watching CBS color television transmissions for the past 18 months.

In New York, Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt and Bernard Baruch were among the dignitaries and newspapermen who watched the inaugural on color receivers installed at CBS headquarters. There were also several showings in New York by dealers who are making color television eqUipment which they soon will have ready for the public. Among these were Colortone Inc., which had more than 400 dealers watching the inaugural on sets installed in its downtown headquarters, and Muntz-TV, which showed its new companion-piece in action to the public at its Queens headquarters.

In Boston, the public watched the program on a receiver set up in the Jordan Marsh Department Store, first store in the country to order color television equipment florstore use; Boston public leaders the press viewed the broadcast on CBS-Columbia sets installed in the Hotel Somerset’s Grand Ballroom.

The Philadelphia public saw the color show on a set installed in the lobby of WCAU, CBS affiliate, with clients, public leaders are press watching the program on another color set in the WCAU Auditorium. Baltimoreans viewed the show on sets installed by WMAR-TV in the lobbies of the new Sun Building and the old Sun Building. In Washington, D. C., WTOP-TV had sets in the Warner Building and at its transmitter at 40th and Brandwyne. In addition top government officials viewed the color inaugural on a set in the Hotel Carleton.

The Premiere broadcast was a breathtaking spectacle. His famous red hair and freckles lent an added brilliance to the wit and charm ofArthur Godfrey as he sang and quipped; a  bronzed Ed Sullivan greeted a new audience in a. setting vibrant with full, natural color; Faye Emerson was hostess. On still another stage that brought to viewers all the richness of paintings from the Metropolitan Museum of Art and ·the Museum of Modern Art; and members or the New York City Ballet “were ecstatically colorful in Maurice Ravel’s “La Valse,” staged by Sol Hurok with choreography especially for television by George Balanchine.

“Photo Credit: Ralph Morse / Time & Life Pictures / Getty Images”
“Licensed by Getty Images to Ed Reitan” – (photographed off the screen)
George Balanchine Ballet from “Premiere”
The first commercial CBS Color Television System Colorcast
June 25, 1951

Garry Moore and Sam Levenson added a note of comedy mixed with philosophy, against a setting as vivid as their artistry; Robert Alda and Isabel Bigley of the smash Broadway musical Guys and Dolls sang a duet; the Bil Baird Marionettes cavorted in a riot of hues; and “Miss Color Television” herself, Patty Painter, a. veteran of more than 1,000 CBS color demonstrations and transmissions, brought to life the full, rich, rich colors of the commercial products introduced by the new medium’s pioneer advertisers.

Sixteen national advertisers participated in the epoch-making inaugural, constituting what is believed to be the largest such group ever to sponsor collectively a single network broadcast. The pioneering advertisers were General Mills, Lincoln-Mercury Division of the Ford Motor Company, Longines-Wittnauer Watch Company Inc., Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer, William Wrigley Jr. Company, Revlon,Thomas J. Lipton Inc” National Biscuit Company, Toni Home Permanent, Monarch Finer Foods, Procter &Gamble Company, Standard Brands Inc., Quaker Oats Company, Best Foods Inc., Pepsi-Cola Company and Liggett & Myers Tobacco Company.

Fred Rickey, executive producer for color at CBS, produced Premiere and shared directorial duties with Frances Buss, under the over-all supervision of Jerry Danzig, CBS color program supervisor. Set designers were Paul Sylbert and Michael Baronoff.

The launching of CBS’ regular color television broadcast service to the public was accomplished merely by the addition of the three color cameras, plus monitors and associated control room equipment, to black-and-white studio facilities already existing before the inaugural program in Studio 57, which was chosen for the color broadcast simply because it had suitable time availabilities.

So effortless was the inauguration or regular color television service that the necessary technical work and installations in the studio were made in a 12hour period, between 10:00 PM last Wednesday, and 10:00 AM, the following morning, when rehearsals for the first commercial color telecast started.

A cue, thrown this afternoon from the control room of CBS·TV’s Studio 57 to technical personnel on the studio flooritself, opened the color Premiere. A still life picture of an orchid and a book was transmitted to waiting thousands, and the curtain was raised on history’s first commercial color television broadcast.

Today’s inaugural broadcast, establishing regular color television service to the public by CBS-TV, will be followed by daily morning and afternoon network-programs, commercial and sustaining, beginning tomorrow. A pattern of gradual expansion will be carried out, with a color schedule of approximately 20 hours a week expected by fall.

First of the regularly scheduled color programs, which will have its premiere tomorrow (Tuesday, June 26), is titled The World Is Yours! and features Ivan T. Sanderson, noted naturalist. The five-times-weekly show (CBS.Color TV, 4:30-5::OO PM, EDT. Mon. thru Fri.), “starring the earth’s natural treasures,” will be sponsored in its initial telecast by General Mills. Frances Buss will direct the CBS production, in cooperation with Ivan Sanderson Productions Inc. The World Is Yours! will present the wonders of the animal, vegetable and mineral worlds as “a sort of intellectual vaudeville show, informal in manner and functioning without benefit of script, featuring Ivan Sanderson and his “friends, II who comprise a bewildering array of nature’s creatures, including distinguished representatives of the human species. A frequent Visitor and featured participant will be Patty Painter, “Miss Color Television.”

Second or the regularly scheduled color programs, Modern Homemakers,” will make its bow before the color television audience, as a five-a-week series, on Wed., June 22 (CBS-Color.TV, 10:30-11 AM, EDT Mon. thru Fri,).

A cookery and homemaking program conducted by culinary expert Edalene Stohr, Modern Homemakers will specialize in menu-planning, food preparation, and demonstrating the eye-appeal of well-prepared foods, with emphasis on other facets of homemaking as well.

Opening of regular color broadcasting acted as an additional spur to the public to order color equipment from television dealers. Manufacturers or color TV adapters and converters reported they are receiving thousands of calls for such equipment. Typical was Arnold H. Klein, Vice President of Colortone Inc., who said his company was turning its full facilities over to the production of adapters, and that he expected to have 3,000 units in the hands of distributors by the weekend. He said he had received calls for more than 5,000 sample units from leading department stores and distributors from all over the country.

More info. A complete rundown on color TV’s early history. And, a review.

I Want to Watch TV on My iPad (The Plot Thickens)

Last week, a U.S. district judge provided Aereo with a go-ahead on TV that we’ll be able to watch on our mobile devices, but that oversimplifies an interesting story. Here’s the original article, plus an update that, I am certain, will be rewritten once again as the legal dust-up continues. Some of the issues are significant, and will resonate beyond this particular venture. Worth reading.

Here’s the original story published on March 6, 2012:

You’re looking at an array of television antennas. These antennas are used to capture local broadcast signals that you can watch, if you pay a monthly subscription fee, on your computer, tablet, or phone. Aereo (formerly Bamboom) is the company behind the scheme, and, as you might expect, they’ll be spending a lot of time in the legal system as they argue with broadcasters regarding the rights and wrongs of live retransmission (that is, if Aereo is to survive, the broadcast networks want to see monthly cash–just like they receive from the cable operators).

Ah, the free airwaves, the ones that broadcasters use for the public good. Ah, the intellectual property that broadcasters carry over those airwaves, the IP that cable service providers pay to carry. Ah, the unresolved legal gotcha!! Any company that attempts to make those signals available via a secondary distribution scheme must pay for the right, or so say the broadcast networks.

The price for the service? $12 per month. The debut date? March 12. The place: for now, the New York metropolitan area.

For cord cutters, this may be a terrific deal. But it’s unclear whether the courts will block Aereo’s progress, as they have with ivi.tv and others who attempted to climb the walls of the castle without paying the required tribute (or, as I’m adding in my updated version of this article… others who attempted to challenge the current system of copyright and payments for distribution rights to intellectual property).

Slingbox? That’s okay. Over-the-air mobile TV? That’s not ready yet, except in a few markets on a test basis. Watch over-the-air TV? Sure. Watch via cable or satellite? As long as you’re paying for the privilege. Watch on another device? Nope, not yet. Or, maybe the answer is yes. We’ll find out in a few weeks.

_____

Here’s the update that I wrote on March 12, 2012:

From Bloomberg: Predicting a “great fight” with traditional media companies, billionaire Barry Diller said he plans to expand his new Aereo Web-based television service to 75 to 100 cities within a year, reports Bloomberg.

Diller, speaking at the South by Southwest Interactive festival in Austin, Texas, noted that efforts by Walt Disney Co. and other media companies to cite copyright violations were “absolutely predictable,” since entrenched companies always protect their turf, the story says.

Want to know more? Here’s a bunch of links:

The tech explanation:

http://www.techspot.com/news/47467-aereo-offers-tv-over-internet-with-antennas-engineered-to-comply-with-law.html

The consumer angle:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/dorothypomerantz/2012/02/29/how-much-are-you-willing-to-pay-to-cut-the-cord/

The business story:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204059804577229451364593094.html?mod=wsj_share_tweet#printMode

The investment story:

http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/news/2012/02/14/iac-l20-million-aereo-barry-diller-vc.html?s=print

_____

Here’s the update as of July 17, 2012

Again from Bloomberg (July 13, 2012): “A U.S. district judge this week allowed Aereo to continue operating while television networks pursue a copyright lawsuit against the company. Aereo captures broadcast signals with small antennas and streams them to devices such as Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iPad, without paying for the programming.” As a result of the ruling, Diller is now planning a nationwide rollout.

As I pondered what all of this might mean, I read an essay on TV NewsCheck’s website, written by television executive Lee Spieckerman. I contacted him, and we spoke for a while about the ruling and its implications. In short, he believes that Judge Nathan bungled the decision:

“We see loopy rulings from Federal judges all the time, and I think this fits into that category… She misread the governing law!”

Spieckerman’s argument is based in part upon law and in part upon common industry practice. His legal argument tracks back to a 1993 law which requires operators of paid television systems to secure the necessary rights from local broadcasters. The concept is called “retransmission consent” and that ruling has proven to be something of a windfall for local broadcasters as a result of the fees paid by cable operators in exchange for this consent. According to  Spieckerman, these fees are now worth about $2 billion to the commercial broadcast network, plus an additional several billion dollars to local stations. This, plus the additional revenues from political advertising resulting from the Citizens United decision, provide the advertising base necessary for local television news to survive. (Seems to me, we should all understand the economics and consequences of this new approach to journalism funding–a worthwhile topic for a future article). Back to his other argument: “there is no tradition in this country for renting antennas–nobody rents antennas!”

Digging deeper with Mr. Spieckerman, and the real argument emerges. This is all about copyright infringement, and protection of distribution rights associated with intellectual property. Judge Nathan’s ruling begins to disrupt a system by which cable operators compensate owners of cable networks and local stations. ESPN receives $4.69 per cable subscriber–do the math and that’s about $50 per year per subscriber multiplied by 100 million subscribers, and that’s $5 billion per year in subscription fees. Spieckerman believes local broadcast station fees to be 20-50 cents, but acknowledges that these deals are confidential. (Consider that Comcast, Time Warner, and other cable operators charge consumers charge those 100 million subscribers over $1,000 per year–1o0 million x $100 = $100,0o0,000,000, or $100 billion, also good raw material for another Digital Insider article.)

Of course, the local station operators are anxious to negotiate with Diller’s Aereo. And Diller is anxious to go with the Judge’s ruling because it requires no fees. For now, according to Bloomberg,

We’re going to really start marketing… Within a year and a half, certainly by ’13, we’ll be in most major markets.”

To which Mr. Spieckerman counters:

Who is going to be next? This is a pandora’s box, and when you start circumventing and tearing down the few elements there are in the industry and inviting the destruction of an important industry. If I have any intellectual property that I want to distribute, I do not want anybody able to steal my material.”

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