It Takes More than a Vote

Millions of people stood in line for hours to vote this year. Some missed work. Others fought traffic. But many missed the point.

On my way to work this morning I listened to a political talk show… for the first time in a while. And then I remembered why I stopped listening. Callers were either convinced the Nation is in a state of free fall, or thought that the election was an automatic restoration to greatness. But what really hit home to me was when asked why a particular caller voted for Romney, the response was: “I just wanted a change.”

But a change to what? From what? Then it dawned on me. This particular caller truly expected that just because she stood on line and exercised her right to vote, suddenly things were going to be OK if her candidate(s) won. Unemployment would disappear. The Education system will be overhauled. It didn’t even matter what name was on the ballot she selected. She simply wanted change.

Millions of Americans think that way every four years: I cast a vote for this person, now we’re going to change. I disagree. What needs to change are the people casting the vote.

If you think that just because you stood in line, even for a few hours, and pressed a button or punched a hole that the your world is going to drastically change, I encourage you to take a step back.

Pressing a button doesn’t create jobs. People do. If you don’t like something about a system, or about how something is run, than do something about it. If you don’t like your job, or wish you were in another career, than do something about it. If you are looking for a job, find ways to develop skills that people need, or tap in to one of your passions.

And I don’t mean taking to Facebook or Twitter and venting with some witty comment about how “the other guy this”, or “my guy is that”. I mean actually do something. If you don’t like your job, develop a new skill and get out of that career. If you want to start a company, get together with a friend who has a similar passion. If you notice a problem in your community, get involved in a charity. If there’s none that you like, start one. And don’t just say your starting one, do the research and do it right.

Ten years ago I wasn’t happy with where I was professionally. I liked the industry and the place I worked, but I wasn’t happy with where I was. I hit the proverbial ceiling. So, I scrapped together the fumes of my savings, got a job slinging beers, and went to documentary school. A year after graduation, I co-founded a video production company with a close friend, a video camera, and a computer.

No. I’m not saying that I am a perfect example to follow. I certainly have my flaws. Okay… a number of flaws. And I certainly didn’t do it alone. I connected with two amazingly talented people, and together we gave it a shot. All I am saying is that I wasn’t happy and I did something about it. I just want more people to give it a try.

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