Record numbers of people did not return to work in September as companies invited employees back to the office. After a year spent on computer screens and Zoom calls, employees want the right to work wherever and whenever they want. While some employees are changing jobs, many are getting off the career treadmill. Instead, they are embracing a movement called, "YOLO" or “You only live once”, an acronym popularized by rapper Drake a decade ago. The major theme of YOLO is:
The pandemic changed my priorities, and I realized I didn’t have to live like this.
It's hard to imagine anyone, anywhere, not resonating with the statement above. YOLO is similar to the "lying flat" trend started by young people in China I covered in Issue #13. Employees everywhere feel disconnected from their workplaces. Kevin Roose, who wrote the New York Times article, tweeted to his followers asking if YOLO was a real thing and got the following responses:
Re-evaluation of values and milestones.
It might be a symptom of people realizing life is short, materialism is empty, and society could collapse at any point so live life now.
I realized I was sitting at my kitchen counter 10 hours a day feeling miserable. I just thought: ‘What do I have to lose? We could all die tomorrow.’
Its no wonder certain book titles are connecting strongly with people like this one: The Joy of Not Working: A Book for the Retired, Unemployed, and Overworked
One reason people feel emboldened with YOLO is saving rates are way up since the economy was shut while they received stimulus checks and enhanced unemployment benefits.
Another reason for YOLO among highly educated well-paid Millenials was:
The pandemic had destroyed their faith in the traditional white-collar career path. ...They had watched their independent-minded peers getting rich by joining start-ups or gambling on cryptocurrencies. Meanwhile, their bosses were drowning them in mundane work, or trying to automate their jobs, and were generally failing to support them during one of the hardest years of their lives.
The next time you watch a superhero movie, think about the writers and illustrators who made it. Beginning in August of this year, some comic creators have been departing their longtime employers and publishers, Marvel Studios and DC Entertainment. While these companies make billions of dollars from the ideas of comic creators adapted into a film, they pay creators based on a "work-for-hire" arrangement.
Gizmodo reports that Marvel sends writers and illustators a one-time payment of $5,000 after their work appears in a TV show or movie film. In selective cases but not across the board, Marvel offers a "special character contract" to some creators guaranteeing different amounts of remuneration for film adaptations.
Enter Substack, a creator-friendly tech startup, was founded in 2017. Substack makes it simple for a writer to start an email newsletter and make money from subscriptions. Well-known comic creators are joining Substack Pro. The way it works is that Substack pays a writer or artist an upfront payment in their first year on the platform and Substack keeps 85% of subscription fees. In the second year, the subscription switches to the normal split where creators keep 90% of the subscription revenue.
Substack is investing heavily in signing big-name creators. They signed Jonathan Hickman, affiliated with Marvel’s X-Men line in 2019, Justice League, and Iron Man. Writer Scott Snyder will launch an online comics writing class on the platform.
Unlike Marvel and DC, any intellectual content created with Substack's initial investment and on the platform is owned by creators including their work, and reader mailing lists. The good news is that talented comic creators will be better compensated than they were before.
The Internet is all about niche and so is TikTok. We should not be surprised that #deaftiktok has 840 million views on the app. September is Deaf Awareness Month. It celebrates the strides the community has taken to educate both Deaf and hearing people on sign language, and their experiences, creativity, and technological innovation.
Black Deaf TikTok creators have been creative in educating and promoting diversity, inclusion, and awareness for all, especially to hearing people. Scarlet May, a deaf TikToker, who started on the app during the pandemic, exploded in popularity for sharing lip sync performances and skits featuring American sign language. She has 51.M followers and 176 million likes, so her message of diversity and inclusion is getting through to young people.
May posted a TikTok for a skit on an airplane. It pointed out the inequity by showing that there were no translators for Deaf people, meaning they were not aware of safety measures. May does the skits which are a combination of education and entertainment:
I feel like I can do funny skits but then be educational at the same time. It’s interesting to watch, but then they’re also learning something.