If you work in the media industries and are serious, ask yourself this questions right now: ‘Where should I be working to have the most beneficial affect on my industry?’

If you aren’t working there now, why aren’t you?

Is it because of money? Are you working where you are because that job pays you more than other jobs? Well, if that job pays you just enough to care well for you (and your spouse and family, if you have those), then rest easy.

But if instead you are working where you are because your job is highly lucrative, then know I have the credentials to say to you, shame on you. I earned more than $200,000 in each of the years from 1998 until just recently. But I realized that lucrative earnings˜trying to take as much money as possible from industries that are challenged by fundamental changes in their environment˜is not leadership but exploitation of those industries and the people who work in those indiustries. You might think you are a leader but you definitely are not; you are fooling yourself. You are merely a high-level bureaucrat who is managing decline; you are an incompetent general who is trying to manage a retreat.

Oh, and if you a middle-level manager who is reading this and you think your bosses should be doing more but you are afraid of telling them so, then you as nearly culpable as they are. If you what you do as a middle manager isn’t bold enough and forward enough to nearly get you fired during this turbulent time in our industries, then you aren’t ably doing your job and you yourself aren’t showing the traits of leadership.A lieutenant or captain, no less than a general, has to put herself at risk.

I am the fifth generation of my family in the newspaper business: the son, grandson, great grandson, great-great grandson, and great-great-great grandson of men and women who worked their entire lives to make that business succeed. What they did was mainly for the public good. What right should I have to cash out when during my watch that industry is undergoing challenges that I could otherwise show it how to overcome? What right do you who work in it today, no matter your ancestory, have to cash out in that case despite thousands of your predecessors who’ve worked to make it succeed?

I’ve recently left consulting full-time after 12 years and taken a job that will probably cut my income by 75%. But the remainding 25% gives me enough to live on while I work where I can have the most beneficial affect on my industry.

What are you doing? There are people in the media industries who quite literally risk their lives every day. If all you’ve done is cut staffs and haven’t invested long-term in your industry, then you’re a bureaucrat no matter how high is your job title. It’s time to put your career and livilihood to risk. Make the long-term decisions. Make the long-term decisions. Lead from the front. That’s what real generals do.

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