Print receipt? No, thank you.

The other day I realized a hidden opportunity presenting itself to me.   An opportunity almost twenty years in the making.  An opportunity so magnificent it will impact the way I go about my life.  An opportunity to break free and try something new. It’s time.  Time for change.

I’ve been banking with the same bank nearly twenty years now, and do you know why?   Because they offered me totally free checking.  Totally free checking twenty years ago. And I took them up on it.  And now two decades past countless $5 ATM withdrawals, it’s time.  Marine Midland, er, I mean HSBC, it’s not you, it’s me.  I’m more experienced now and looking for different things out of a relationship, something I’m just not getting from you.

I was always intimidated by the specter of altering the cash flow in and out of my vault.  I do a lot of business online, and have many vendors tapped directly into my accounts.  In layman’s terms, I have direct deposit and I buy online.  Life has a funny way of coming full circle.  Now that my deposit slips resemble that young man’s, circa 1989 – 1993, I don’t really have to worry much about screwing anything up by changing banks and account numbers.  And here I thought making ZERO dollars was all bad.

Apropos of change, I considered it my great fortune that this week (now almost 2 weeks ago) was Social Media Week in NYC and various other locales around the globe, and I decided to take full advantage of my time and check out the hype.

But it wasn’t hype.  It was awesome.  And I’m pretty sure it helped me gain some clarity around my search for something inspiring and fulfilling.

I went to some really interesting interviews,  talks and panel discussions around topics like collaborative consumption (peer to peer websites a la zip car), how people interactively watch television these days, an interview with NYC’s first Chief Digital Officer, and a panel discussion on the role of social media in civic action.  I was able to hear a keynote speech/insightful rantings from Douglas Rushkoff, the “author, teacher, and documentarian who focuses on the ways people, cultures, and institutions create, share, and influence each other’s values. (And) He is (also a) technology and media commentator for CNN.”  He spoke about living in the now, and embracing occupation of one reality.  He spoke very quickly and made a lot of salient points that it’s hard for me to really remember them.  However, I think a main thrust of his talk was being present even with all the social media lures out there.  At least I think that’s what he was saying – I was too busy trying to tweet, facebook, checkin and pin to make myself look important and all knowledgable.

I also gained the added benefit of experiencing the venues.  I was able to see the city from places I’d never been before like a view of “the ball” from the 30th floor of the Thomson Reuters building or checking in for a conference in the atrium of the J Walter Thompson building.

Happy New Year! Oh wait, it's only February....

And I certainly will not forget to mention the FREE Starbucks which I was able to take advantage of twice because I attended two different presentations in the Thomson building.  And by the way, the answer is no.  I did not choose to go these two different talks just for the Starbucks.  I know we’re on Martinson’s now (we’ve since graduated to Dunkin’ Donuts Sam’s Club style) but allow me an ounce of dignity.

Social media week was a really fun, enlightening and exciting experience, something I wouldn’t have known about or gone to had I not been blessed with being laid off.  This is where I was supposed to be and we’ll see how it plays out.  World… it’s on.

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