As editor, I often exhort our writers to "tell us what it all means." A really good magazine story should do more than lay out a string of facts and then force you, the reader, to make sense of it all. Hopefully, you get the facts, plus a deeper level of reporting and insight that leads to a conclusion.
We try to do the same thing with the magazine as a whole. Charlotte is evolving before our eyes, as rapidly as it has in my fourteen years at this magazine. We strive to not only document those changes and show them to you, but we also hope to help explain what it all means.
We all know that Charlotte's job market isn't what it used to be (which leads me to think of the Yogi Berra-ism "The future ain't what it used to be"). In "The New Networking" (page 64) writer Tamela Rich details the new ways people are finding jobs and business -- and they are finding both. Used to be, if you wanted or needed a new job, you scanned the classifieds or called your buddy at the bank across the street. No longer. The classifieds are almost useless, and your buddy is in the same spot you are. There are jobs out there, but employers conduct quiet searches for fear of being overwhelmed with candidates. But check this out: one person Rich interviewed was so well networked via social media that when he got canned, people he had never even met supplied him with enough leads that he had his pick of jobs. That's how you find employment in the new Charlotte.
Then there's Crystal Dempsey. After twenty-one years at The Charlotte Observer (Dempsey, by the way, is one of three former Observer writers who have penned stories for this issue -- a sign of the times if there ever was one), she volunteered to be laid off. And she instantly got her life back. Now she's volunteering, freelancing, consulting, and working one other really fun job -- all things she's doing because she really wants to, not because she's forced to. She's contributing to Charlotte in a variety of ways, and she glides through her days. I learned about her story first from Twitter and then from reading her blog (yet another sign of the times). And I asked her to write it for the magazine (page 38) because I thought people needed to hear it. Instead of drifting along, waiting for the next shoe to drop, it's possible to take control of your own destiny. That strikes me as a pretty good metaphor for our city, too.
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