Joe Weisenthal, reports THE NEW YORK TIMES, gets up at 4 A.M. and tweets "What have I missed." Appointed the first Executive Editor at the hot media property BUSINESS INSIDER, Weisenthal had been a financial blogger. He is known for his nervous energy and doesn't miss anything.
This is the role model for the "new normal." With no margin for error in keeping up in fast time and being available to respond to whoever, the early birds are getting the goodies. I landed an interview for lucrative freelance assignments in education because I was at my computer at 7 A.M. New York time to discuss the details with the communications compay. Had I been my former night-owl self, which many writers tend to be, I would have missed out on this possibility.
Another lesson we can pick up from Weisenthal is that not all content or niche experience is created equal. He is in the financial space. His career path is probably a lot more promising that that of those focused on reviewing films or deconstructing the culture. My prospects picked up exponentially after an executive coach advised that I exit "glut areas" and identity areas for writing that are in demand, at least right now.
With a heavy heart I waved good-bye to chasing assignments (low paying, hard to get) in the niches so popular among Millennials. I brushed off my credentials in financial content, applied for and was awarded a free spot in McGraw-Hill's financial reporting eight-week online seminar, and built a portfolio in personal finance. That contains both articles and opinion-editorials under my own and clients' bylines. This afternoon I will be meeting with a well-funded startup serving the hedge fund industry.
As Weisenthal's success is demonstrating, personal energy is rewarded. I had been competing with two others for a plum financial writing assignment. Before interviews had been arranged, I sent the prospect some useful information and allowed him to contact a player on my network for a list of financial public relations firms which are affordable. I was there at my laptop and on my smartphone to respond to his ideas. I got the assignment.
It's funny. We love the fine manners and slow decorum of "Downton Abbey." However, every bit of that is the antithesis of what it takes to get ahead in the "new normal."