Rebuttal of Simon Sinek

So a few weeks ago I saw a really interesting video which I’m going to link to here.

Needless to say Simon is a great speaker and I think he touches on some great observations however, he runs into the “old man telling off the young bucks” problem that many people outside the millennial lifestyle just don’t understand.

This most recent video by Simon Sinek has gone extremely viral so it’s only fitting that people would respond however, here is an article that I thought addressed a lot of his thoughts and gives some nice facts as well but I’d just like to talk about my own personal experiences of “being talked down to”.

It was in 2015 in-between jobs and smaller gigs and I was literally trying anyway and anything to get a job in the field that I’d got my degree in. So I attempted to do a shotgunning effect and just send out my resumes and call around to as many places as I possibly and humanely could in a single day. Needless to say it actually worked better than expected and got me some pull over jobs till I got a full-time position through a creative workers agency.

However, during this period as I was scrambling around I had some VERY interesting conversations and more importantly an interview that would change my conceptions of specifically how I was viewed but also how millennials were viewed in the workplace by a lot of people.

So one particular place I went to interview was a company called ENVOY. They’re what I’d like to call a full service marketing agency or a company based around providing branding, ads, tv commercials, and plenty of other things to help companies sell their product. Their a business to business seller to put plainly. I sent them a resume and called them up about the potential for an interview for a jr design position or an internship (not gonna lie yeah I was pretty desperate).

Contrary to the “I’m sorry but we don’t have anything open” I was treated to a very nice conversation with the receptionist who said that they would be willing to see me at an appointed time. I was so surprised and elated that I just said yes and moved everything else to make it work. It was around 10 or 9 in the morning and I made sure that I was dressed in the proper clothing and completely ready for the meeting.

I showed up a little bit early because … that’s just what you do (buffer time space people it’s a thing) and waited. When I was finally ushered into a meeting it was unlike anything that I’d seen. In walked a man (who shall remain unnamed) in a black shirt, shorts, and in socks with flip flops. His face looked like he’d just smashed about 5 beers and was about to fall asleep which made me guess he probably had stayed up either all night on a project or that he’d had one hell of a party the night before. We start talking and introduced myself. While were talking the guy all of a sudden interrupts and says, “listen I’ve got to get some coffee I’ll be right back” which I don’t detest to since he probably needed that coffee pretty bad.

About 10 minutes later he returns and we resume our conversation. Most of our conversation that we had was pretty good albeit stunted because he was still half awake. Then I got a question that I thought I’d never get out of a interview for a position.

“So what do you think about Millenials?”
“Millenials? That’s kind of a broad spectrum could you maybe be more specific?”
“I don’t know just millennials … I mean what do you think about em?”

At this point I’m assuming he’s discussing millennials in the workplace so I just say how I felt about em. That their inexperienced but that like any generation they varied and the ones that had been successfully typically had done so by blood sweat and tears. They had energy and a really aggressive attitude in some cases because of their youth but lacked the knowledge to see potholes coming in the road or leadership experience because while you have some of that the older you get the better and more experienced you become so to speak.

Now, while I’d been in college a good deal of my friends had been engineers who’d worked their butts off to get good jobs after college and that didn’t seem too far off from my own experience until I got my own first job which was amazing in many ways.

So my views of millennials that I’d seen in the workplace was that many of the ones I’d seen were similar to my friends. Hard working grunts … just starting at the bottom of the ladder, but proficient and with enough energy to really dig deep if they needed to to get jobs or projects done.

This question seemed strange to me however, so I asked him a follow up question of what he thought of millennials and his response was one that I’ll never forget.

“Well I think that they’re generally speaking arrogant, entitled, and lazy.” He then went on a diatribe for the next 3-5 minutes about everything that he hated about Millennials and more importantly why they typically didn’t hire them at their workplace. At this point I was kind of worried already about the interview (which I quickly realized this wasn’t but whatever) and at this point I kind of figured that there was really no chance at this place. I was like the genie in Aladdin in bee form … crashing to the earth with flaming realization.

Once his spiel about how bad Millennials were, which wasn’t that different from Sinek’s by the way, came to a close he discussed how that if I was interested I could maybe be a squire of sorts and just observe and watch and then maybe after a few months they’d decide whether to have me on full-time or part ways. The pay wasn’t good as I calculated it out or simply non-existent but I knew the company was great and also that I had a chance to learn which I always enjoyed and to get “better”. So I emailed them but was still apprehensive of the prospect of working at a place that really didn’t seem all that friendly to millennials or would just treat me like I was just there to “get a trophy”.

So I kept calling around and I got a small time temporary offer from another company instead with better pay and I’d be doing stuff directly in my line of work. Needless to say as I looked back at my email and saw that after a week it hadn’t been answered I decided that it wasn’t worth it to take a squire job when I could get in the trenches and with better pay and also be treated like an employee, not a millennial no-nothing. I easily could have called them back and tried to get more details but if the guy didn’t respond in a few days, and hadn’t responded in a week, he probably wouldn’t respond ever.

What’s sad about this whole ordeal though is that I wonder how many other times things like this have happened. Contrary to what that man said Millennials are not lazy.

Of course non-of this is helped by the fact that older people aren’t retiring making getting a job even harder.

Neither are they any more narcissistic as I can tell than those that came before nor are they anymore necessarily arrogant than a lot of the people that came before them as well.

But see here is the problem. Even though you have companies that are literally sprouting up overnight from start ups by 20 year olds in places like Silicon Valley this older generation I think sometimes does the opposite of seeing the “forest for the trees”.

Instead they are unable to see the trees through the forest and judge people on a case by case basis. There is often a problem with this and it came out fully in this election where people openly disavowed others for the sake of death by association.

What Sinek and others fail to see is individuals in each case. Such as is his complete diatribe against using phones and social media. Don’t get me wrong there are huge issues with it, but just because we check our phones frequently doesn’t mean that were obsessed … it just means were bathing in information and a digital landscape we’ve grown up with.

I had a hilarious conversation with my Dad over Christmas while we were at Union Square in San Francisco. He kept asking me why I kept checking my phone to which I replied, “because I want to be courteous to others and make sure I respond to them in a timely manner and also so I can stay informed on current news since I get plush notifications whenever something major happens or someone contacts me whether it be business related or not”. At this point my Dad responded, ” man … they’ve got you good, your notifications are like little bread crumbs they keep feeding you hahaha,”. I laughed because in part it was half-true.

Maybe my generation is just following breadcrumbs, but who says that is a bad thing. Hansel and Gretel used breadcrumbs to escape the forest and find their way home. Perhaps something great and good could come of our breadcrumbs as well.