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  • Writer's pictureDerek Scheips

Something’s Coming: Let’s Greet it With Hope

Updated: Apr 14, 2020

Did any of us ever think we’d have the kind of jarring solitude we have in 2020? Lately, I’ve been pondering my whole adult life and career, especially the last ten years. Targeting audience is key to all the fields that I have worked in, and generally, the media has become more niche as time has passed, and digital media has allowed creators to know more about their specific realm of influence, and to make the content more specifically relevant. But I think it’s fair to say the coronavirus has re-established the general audience, because it is the main thing on billions of minds. Wants have been jettisoned, and everyone’s focus is—or should be—on survival itself.

Like many, I am worried about those near and far, and constantly scrolling through news sites and social media feeds not only for the latest developments, but for the data and context that together strike me as sound underpinnings for how to proceed now, today; or, to change course in whatever ways that I reasonably can, if what struck me previously as the right way to go, has somehow fundamentally changed in the last day, week, month, etc. But I guess my initial POV is not very original; anyone viewing this, if you are thinking about doing anything in public right now, and if you wonder if doing so could in any way risk your or others’ physical health and survival, and you have a choice about whether, if, or when to do something, based on what is known by respected public health authorities at this point, do not do it, it can wait.

As unusual and stressful as this social distancing is, a period like this (hopefully) may never occur again, so seek out and embrace all the things you can do alone, aided by digital and social mediathat actually have evolved so remarkably in relatively few yearsto aid pretty incredible connection and collaboration, if you so wish. And if you are someone who touches the media in your work or studies, in any way, it’s likely that this could become a period when you resume or start creative projects that have been put off for a long time, the most likely obstacle having been the to-and-fro with which we all conducted our lives until recently. And this is our reality now, so why not embrace it and think of it as a means for all sorts of discovery?

For instance, when I first started to plan and put together this little portfolio website in late 2019, the overall purpose of it was to give a sense of the industries that I have touched in my career, to provide some specifics about past roles and projects, and to reach out to other people, companies, and organizations for opportunities. Even with the pandemic reaching the USA and currently raging across it, that objective hasn’t changed. But like many, I sense, think, and feel in early April 2020 that we are entering a new era, one that we barely understand yet, with potentially profound implications for how we live and work and share ideas and resources.

What will be relevant from my personal and professional experience that got me this far, and what will need to be consigned to the past? For the past four years, I’ve been particularly immersed in higher education as a teacher, advisor, coach. I really strove to provide students with background and experience practicing of skills that I believe would serve them well outside school, as professionals in various fields and just generally, as citizens. But despite those good intentions and efforts, what if what I passed along, or some of it, is no longer relevant? And what’s the criteria for deciding?

There is a lot of comparing and contrasting going on inside me about some of the public crises I lived through and survived in my lifetime (AIDS, 9/11, The Great Recession, to name some biggies) that altered societies, the job markets and economies of their times, and what takeaways could be re-applied again about how to help myself, my family and friends, and those who are colleagues and students now, or who soon may be new ones, to offer resources and create value for this new age? If a global pandemic pushed us to this point, then maybe a global reimagining of some of these I matters I sketched here can point the way to whatever tomorrow will call the good life, including new notions of success.

My essential vocational offering is my curiosity about all sorts of matters in communication, business and the humanities, and my willingness to share my observations, ideas and skills about them with those who might value them, especially employers, clients and students, and new connections and partnerships that I hope await me in the future. I look forward to hearing from people at points far and wide, and hope to blog more about what I'm discovering and need or want to share about these topics in future posts.

Stay well,


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