Monday, January 25, 2010

A Letter To Conan O'Brien

Dear Conan,

Jacob, one of my best friends is at a crossroads. After working for a company for four years he feels it's time to move on. It's wasn't the forced furlough, the lack of a bonus or the cut in benefits that led him to this decision. It was the fact his companies is now making decision that he philosophically disagree with.

He asked if it was worth making a stand. He wondered if he should take a chance to find something else and he didn't how to handle the situation especially if it left him without a job.
And after watching you say farewell on your last night on the Tonight Show, I finally have an answer for my friend.

When you made your stand and told NBC that you disagreed to with their change in the Tonight Show schedule, I expected them to change their mind but they didn’t. Because of this you lost your dream job but in doing so you showed not only your fans but also America what it means to stand up for what you believe in.

People say that my generation at doesn’t stick with jobs, expects too much, too quickly and has no sense of loyalty. I disagree. It's not that we aren't loyal, it's that companies often lack a sense of loyalty to their employees. Loyalty is not a one-way street and many companies fail to realize that they cannot expect workers to be loyal when they are cutting benefits.

In the past week you made jokes about Leno and NBC (which you’ve always done) and some people criticized you for this but hey, you’re a comedian, that’s just what you do. However, when the jokes subsided and you finally decided to speak from the heart, you spoke deeper truths in a way that is rarely seen on televisions.

"All I ask is one thing, this is, I'm asking this particularly of young people that watch. Please do not be cynical. I hate cynicism, for the record it's my least favorite quality, it doesn't lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what the thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you're kind amazing things will happen . . . it's just true."

Through this difficult situation, you’ve maintained a sense of perspectives and dignity. It would have been easy to end with a message of anger at NBC and “corporate America” and plenty of people would have rallied behind you but you chose the high ground ending your show with a message of optimism, hope and reassurance.

Neil Gaiman is his epic comic series Sandman wrote this dialogue as the king of dreaming was discussing a dream with troubled artist:

"It is sometimes a mistake to climb; it is always a mistake never even to make the attempt. If you do not climb you will not fall. This is true. But is it that bad to fail, that hard to fail? Sometime you wake, and sometimes, yes, you die. But there is a third alternative. Sometimes you wake up. Sometimes the fall kills you and sometimes, when you fall, you fly."

Thanks Conan for teaching us how to fly.

1 comment:

  1. Well said. NBC requesting YouTube to take down the video, and still have countless other Leno and Conan clips on the site, shows a huge lack of class. It’s really mirrors the whole ordeal.

    It’s sad that it has come to this, and even sadder that Leno is back on The Tonight Show.