In this blog post, I’ll talk about the work of Simon Sinek and how he believes millennial’s are destined for disappointment due to our parenting, addiction to technology, instant gratification and the environment. Unless (we) make some changes to our mindset.
Why millennials will struggle
It doesn’t take a genius to notice that there is a pretty big difference between our work ethic and the work ethic of our parents or grandparents.
We, us millennials (the generation of humans born approximately in 1994 or above) are accused (and, perhaps rightfully so) of being entitled, narcissistic and self-interested.
Sailing through our school life in a bubble, we turn up at the door of businesses demanding to work with purpose. We want to make a huge impact on the world yet, in all honestly, we have nothing to offer.
We demand free coffees at work, Friday night drinks and even slides in our offices. Well, the almond milk triple shot Latte’s with a dash of sugar free caramel syrup are flowing. The expensive and exuberant cocktails are in abundance on Friday nights. And yes, we have our slides in the center of our offices.
Are you happy and fulfilled now? Ah, no…
Simon Sinek, a motivational speaker and author of many best-selling books (including “Start With Why“), has the perfect answer as to why we’re all so confused when it comes to the wonderful world of work. He blames four characteristics:
Sinek firstly blames our parents for our egotistic and entitled views of ourselves.
Most of us were raised to believe we could have anything in life… that we are special. We even received medals in school for taking part, not the winning!
However, when we are then thrown into the real working world, we all receive a big shock. We are not special; especially in comparison to our co-workers with years of experience or far more appealing degrees. You most certainly do not get a prize just for taking part in business and loser are not awarded or applauded.
This ‘cotton wrapped’ and ‘sheltered’ upbringing leads to our entire self-image and everything we believe about ourselves to be shattered when we enter the real world. Often, once we enter the world of work, we quickly develop a low self-esteem and opinion of ourselves when we realize our mothers can’t help us anymore.
The second thing Sinek is quick to blame is technology, specifically, social media.
There is an abundance of evidence to suggest that social media is detrimental to our sleep quality, can cause anxiety and depression and can lower our self-esteem. We are obsessed with how everyone else is doing, how perfect their life looks and how they seem to have everything figured out.
Not only this, but social media is an addiction. We check our phones at the dinner table when sat with our families. Some of us even wish people on Instagram a good morning before we wish our partner a good morning.
We are addicted because, as Sinek explains, technology and social media has become our coping mechanism. It releases dopamine and makes us feel good, so we’ve used this to gain approval and avoid stress.
Match this lack of coping mechanism of stress with our low self-esteem and the effects are quite disastrous.
3. Impatience (instant gratification)
You want something, you get it straight away. Want a TV show? Go and watch it now. Want to get a take away? Order it now. Want a date? Swipe on a dating app now. In our current society we get everything instantaneously… except for job satisfaction.
This pursuit for instant gratification is having a huge impact on us as working adults. Sinek gives a great analogy, explaining how as millennials we would stand at the bottom of a mountain and we would want to get to the top straight away, without the discomfort or struggle of the climb up to the summit. Many of us will fail to ask for help or develop our skill sets, and thus, we will fall off that mountain.
What we, as a generation, need to focus on is ‘delayed’ or ‘deferred gratification’. This means we need to focus more on the process that we undergo; we need to seek gratification in developing skills and the journey to the summit of the mountain.
In fact, this has been found to be a big generational difference. Older generations were happier to focus the journey and the reward at the end, instead of just seeking the instant rewards.
Finally, Sinek mentions that not only do we all have low self-esteems from a sugar-coated childhood, poor coping mechanisms and a fixation on instant pleasure, we are then thrown into corporate environments. And often, these corporate environments, especially large ones, fail us. They do not allow us to build our self-esteem or overcome the challenges of the digital world.
What we can take away
Well, you’ll all be pleased to know that Sinek’s conclusion is that it’s not really our fault.
The first people can blame our parents for wrapping us up in cotton wool. Maybe, when it comes to raising our own children, we will be less likely to make them feel so entitled. Then, thrown into the works we can blame technology for stopping us from developing effective coping mechanisms.
What Sinek says will really help us is for business to take responsibility and pick up the pieces. They should focus on rebuilding our esteem, our coping mechanisms and our confidence.
Oh, and most importantly, we need to learn to put down our mobile phones. Sinek firmly believes that offices should introduce no mobile phone rules in meetings or for a certain part of the day.
So there you have it millennials… four reasons why it’s not your fault that you struggle in the workplace, with the main reason being instant gratification.
As always, let me know what you think. Did your parents raise you to believe you were special? Do you struggle with feelings of entitlement but a low self-esteem?