2022.11.09 Misunderstanding Millennials

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Recently watched Simon Sinek talking about some generational shifts in the workplace. The whole reason I watched it is because I'm nominally a fan of his book "Start With Why", particularly with the concept of inspiration over manipulation. During the talk, he presented a hilariously rose-coloured remembrance of how things were. Where we got our "purpose" from going to church, our "community" from interacting with neighbours, and our "socialization" from [check notes] bowling clubs - and he goes on to lament that these have all faded away such that we're now expecting these things from work.

In the same talk, he also described a sense of loss of trust between employers and employees, bringing up the symbology of the "gold watch". He mentions it to lament how people could feel certain their loyalty would be rewarded, nominally by getting a valuable watch from their employer at an advanced stage of their career. Except that, from what I can tell, the gold watch was always a symbol of disappointment - that "I've given my whole career to this company, and all I get at the end is this watch" at retirement. But this may be tangential.

Clearly this is an emotional expression by Mr. Sinek, utterly unsupported by the long and complicated history of worker's rights. But even more interested to me is how it seems to fail to recognize the aspect in which companies actively try to insert themselves into employee's identity, and are perfectly happy (HR statements taken as "just words") to have other aspects of employee lives atrophy in favour of work focus.

From there, he seems to conclude (or deduce?) that "millennials" are less capable of handling stress (presumably than gen-X or boomers).

Maybe this is intentionally done to build sympathy with tropes that his management-fad target demographic tend to cling to. But it seems that an unwillingness to put up with bullshit is not the same as being less capable of handling stress. Indeed, the accurate recognition of the importance of dealing with stress and not treating having feelings as taboo seems like one of the triumphant elements of the progress of society as a whole.

But maybe Mr. Sinek is falling victim to the all-to-common tendency for seasoned adults to have increased rigidity in their thinking, and to start treating anything that is different as being less good than how they were before.