Millennials, Workplace, Purpose, Etc…

This has been passed around quite a bit and landed in my inbox a handful of times yesterday. I finally sat down and watched it end-to-end before I went to bed last night.

If you’ve got 15 minutes to spare, give it a view:

For starters, I really do like Simon Sinek and his book, Start with Why, has been crucial in my thinking when building projects and even larger businesses.

But, I found myself shaking my head a bit more on this talk than on most. What Simon is absolutely incredible at is communicating ideas in a linear, logical, and believable way. This is not to say that the ideas that he communicates are bad or inherently wrong, all the time, but, it means that if you don’t actually track smartly then it’s easy to miss the finer details and may get swept up emotionally into the track.

Per Sinek’s definition, I am not a millennial as he references the cut-off as 1984 (I was born in ’82). But, I’ve been told from a few other sources that a millennial was born in 1980 and after.

It’s neither here nor there, but, I count myself as a millennial, not because I particularly like that title or moniker but because I empathize with it and recognize the patterns of decisions, influences, and culture.

And, I’m right on the cusp between the millennial generation and Generation X or, as some folks like to call it, “The Lost Generation” who have often been described as “disaffected” and “directionless” –  something that I also feel deeply.

Regardless, Sinek’s breakdown of Gen Y into four buckets of influence (Parenting, Technology, Impatience, and Environment) is keen and penetrating at first but, to be honest, those arguments felt weaker the moment I finished the video and began chatting about it with my wife (also born in ’82).

The reality is that everyone is looking for purpose and impact and all of those things. We all cycle through it, some more than others, but, we all can agree that those things are prized and valuable and important to what we do.

But life is too complex and people are too different to quickly bucket into categories and types. For instance, practically-speaking, there’s an equal amount of value in sticking with something for a while but there’s also just as much value in learning when and how to quit things.

Sometimes this manifests itself in the time spent in a job and sometimes it manifests itself in other facets of our lives. Some are incredibly good (and interested) at staying in one job for a long time but struggle to build sustainable and romantic relationships of any note.

Some, on the opposite side of the spectrum, have “locked in” on their life-long partner but have held numerous roles and positions before they even hit 30. This, of course, being my own personal experience.

But both types of people, I believe, struggle with the same principle challenges: Purpose and long-standing, meaningful relationships. The struggle is real and universal and seems to care less about the year you were born and more with the fact that you’re human.

And that I could agree with in terms of Sinek’s proposal.

I could probably speak to the technology portion for a while but this blog post is more than I had already hoped to pen this morning, so… I’ll end it right here.


Also published on Medium.