Something About the Age

The modern world is not a nice place to get old in. At least not in the U.S. Rather than being venerated for our wisdom, we geezers seem to be on our way to the trash heap. What I’ve been seeing this week is happening in the music industry, because that’s where I am, but I don’t think it’s peculiar to the music industry.

One friend, now in his early 60s, has just been laid off from an editor job he has had for eight years, at a well-known country music publication. His brother, who edits a drum magazine, just now sent me an email saying he’s working a 15-hour day to meet his next deadline. He no longer has an editorial staff; it’s just him.

Keyboard’s new issue arrived today. 52 pages. That’s slim. I know Steve Fortner is doing the editorial chores there by himself — probably some 15-hour days. Recently someone posted a photo on Facebook of the Keyboard editorial staff from the ’80s, and Michael Molenda, who is still editing Guitar Player after all these years, commented that in those days we had as many editors just for Keyboard as they now have for Keyboard, Guitar Player, Bass Player, and Electronic Musician combined.

It’s not just that the publishing world has changed, though that’s part of it. What we’re also seeing is that the work of skilled writers and editors is no longer respected. Work your fingers to the bone and then get tossed out on the street — that’s the way it happens.

I feel very lucky to have gotten off as easily as I have in the geezer department, but I can’t claim any credit for it. My parents were able to buy a house in the suburbs in 1964. I inherited the house, but if my mother’s final illness had lasted ten years instead of six months, we would have had to sell the house to pay for her care. I’d be in a whole lot worse shape — maybe working 15-hour days, or maybe scrambling around trying to find a job, any job, at the age of 66, instead of being a gentleman of leisure.

It wasn’t always this way. Older workers were once respected for their ability and their accumulated knowledge.

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3 Responses to Something About the Age

  1. Ron Greenman says:

    No argument with this post. I can squat as long as I like. Tenure is wonderful. I work hard but I choose to. I could work a lot more casually. Then I have knowledge and licenses in high demand and can consult. But I know this isn’t the norm. The funny thing, or tragedy if you will, it is often boomers screwing boomers.

  2. Brian says:

    Well then here is some veneration.
    Man! Your reviews in Keyboard magazine in the 1980’s when I was deciding on my first synth really held the manufacturers accountable. From the manuals to the menus.
    Thank you Jim Aikin. I will never forget turning on the Wavestation for the first time. I don’t remember if you personally reviewed that particular synth but boy did you teach me what to look for and expect.
    Thank You Thank You Thank You

    • midiguru says:

      Thanks, Brian. My hazy memory is that Michael Marans wrote that particular review. But even in reviews that were written by others, I was sort of the watchdog, challenging their assumptions and making sure the most relevant topics got mentioned. Ah, the good old days…!

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