If you’re on Facebook, and let’s be honest ― statistically speaking, you probably are ― you may have seen a video shared recently where a cool, calm, and collected man wearing spectacles so articulately pointed out the incidental problems with the Millennial generation. The speaker, author, and consultant, Simon Sinek, has been described by some as “a visionary thinker with a rare intellect”. Side note: I’d just like to take the opportunity to point out how incredibly cool it would be to be defined as such. Not bad, Simon. Not bad.
In the video, Sinek partakes in a live interview in front of a group of eager, dazed Millennials yearning for answers and inspiration. Indeed, he does not disappoint as he hurls idealistic and heartening words of wisdom into the crowd. Without further adieu, let’s break down his four major culprits that contribute to Millennials’ job instability and unfulfillment. Here we go.
Essentially, many parents failed at raising our generation.
It’s science, alright. Don’t shoot the messenger. As a teacher, I can assure you that this problem is only escalating. The Millennials growing up as kids today are being parented immensely worse than us 80s and 90s kids. This failure was, and still is, not intentional. Nonetheless, methods that parents think are benefiting us are causing much more harm than good ― medals for coming in last place, being told we are special, and being constantly reassured that we can have anything we want simply because we want it. When we get out into the workforce and find out that none of these expectations apply in the real world, our core identities are completely shattered and our confidence plummets.
We are lonely technology addicted frauds.
Receiving texts, ‘likes’, and comments on our social media platforms releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. This is the same chemical that is secreted in our bodies in relation to any addiction, whether it be drinking excessive alcohol or gambling. It feels good, and don’t get me wrong ― technology is not intrinsically “bad” but, like anything, too much of it is harmful. We, as a generation, have built more emotional connection with our cellphones than we have with other human beings.
What do we want? Everything! When do we want it? NOW!
We want instant gratification. Waiting for commercials? Talking in person with someone? Consulting a manual dictionary to check a word’s spelling? In the notorious words of Youtube sensation Kimberly “Sweet Brown” Wilkins, “ain’t nobody got time for that”. We are surrounded by a world that provides whatever it is we want whenever we want it, except in one area of our lives ― career satisfaction, with a side order of meaningful relationships. Guys, you have to tough it out. Sorry, this is the one area that you can’t fake. You will have your ass handed to you unless you wake up and realize that you have to put your blood, sweat, and tears into creating the life of your dreams.
The corporate leaders of today are terrible at leading.
Okay, so up until now it may have seemed like Sinek was playing the blame game with the Saved By the Bell, Fresh Prince, and Boy Meets World generation. He’s not, but that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook just yet. Starting in the 1980s, popular theories promoted ideas of mass layoffs in order to increase short-term profitability. Due to these apathetic concepts that became embedded in the corporate world, many businesses today are far more worried about the numbers than the people who work for them. They do all they can to balance the books, and if those books don’t balance, you can say “buh bye” to your job security.
Well, there you have it. It’s certainly not entirely our faults. We have been dealt a very paradoxical hand of cards. We have been given so much opportunity, and we simply do not possess the imagination, work ethic, and skill set to accomplish anything meaningful within this realm of endless possibility. On one hand, the things that cripple us ― self-entitlement, instant gratification, and corporate greed ― can play a completely debilitating and handicapping role in our lives. On the other, they can be flipped on their heads and consciously changed in order to create a future generation that is far more imaginative, hard-working, and skilled than we ever were.
If you’re sitting there reading this, and you’re unsure if what we’re discussing directly applies to you, ask yourself this one question: Do you love your job? If your answer is “no”, this message is certainly meant for you. Trust me, you want to take this seriously. You’ll spend approximately 30% of your life at work ― that’s about 25-30 years!
In the words of Simon Sinek himself, “Imagine a world where the vast majority of people go home every day feeling fulfilled by their work”.
Can you imagine it?