2. Revisionist history
3. Against the rules
4. Cautionary tales
5. Freakonomics radio
6. Stanford Innovation Lab
7. For your innovation (FYI)
8. Masters of scale
9. WorkLife with Adam Grant
There's no hiding it anymore.
You've heard the backlash; scratch that, you're living it.
People think you're spoiled. Entitled. More concerned with reality TV than actual reality.
You're no different than anyone else at your age. As a Gen-Xer myself, it wasn't too long ago that my generation was the proverbial punching bag. (Just check out this beauty from 1993. Nowadays, people have mostly just forgotten about us.)
But here's the thing: Regardless of how unfair or prejudiced others' views of "millennials" are, it's the reality we live in. Unfortunately, society doesn't work like the justice system: In the eyes of many, you're guilty until proven innocent.
Which may lead you to ask: How do you break down those barriers? How do you show your true colors?
To be clear, I'm a fan of your generation. I've worked closely with you. I've managed you.
The advice I'm about to give isn't just for you; it's actually applicable to anyone. (I'm still trying hard to live these lessons myself.) But I've been privileged to learn from very wise mentors through the years, so I'm hoping to pay it forward.
And since your generation is the future, I'm hoping these lessons prove as useful for you as they have for me.
So, here goes:
Take that recent story about the interns that got fired, for example. (You can read the full story here.) Already chafing under the company's dress code, this group was incensed at what they perceived to be an injustice--but what was in reality a reasonable exception. The interns responded by drawing up a petition, signing it, and then submitting it to management.
The problem here wasn't questioning the dress code. Questions are good: They're how we learn. And challenging traditional ways of thinking can be beneficial--if done the right way.
But in this case, the communication was short-sighted and over-aggressive.
Look, you have great ideas. And you're already changing the way we work.
But remember: Respect begets respect. Show consideration and dignity in the way you approach others, and they'll be more willing to listen to what you have to say.
No one likes to get negative feedback. And unfortunately, as hard as you try to deliver your message the right way, not everyone will do the same for you. In these cases, it's easy to let our emotions take over the thinking process.
But here's the thing: We all need criticism. It feels great to be around people who always agree with us, but it's the disagreements that truly help us grow.
So try to focus on the message, not the messenger. And even if the message is conveyed in a way that's less than ideal, remember:
The ones who challenge us are the ones who make us better.
You might think of it like building a bridge--between who you are, and who you want to be. First, you need to figure out where you want to go. Then, with every positive action, you add another brick.
It takes time, but eventually you reach the destination--a better you.
Then, it's time to start building the next bridge.
For many years, I worked for an awesome organization that was known for its forward thinking and use of innovative technology. But I'll never forget what I was told on my first day:
"We may do things differently here than you're used to. You may see a way to improve, or want to contribute an idea for change.
That's great. All that we ask is that you learn the way we do things first, and give it a bit of time. If you still feel you have a way to improve, feel free to communicate your thoughts to your team lead, manager, or any department head."
In time, I saw firsthand the wisdom in this.
Not only did I learn loads from others' experience and a proven method, but it made those with more experience more willing to listen to my ideas when the time came. And once I became one of "the old guys," it kept me open to new, fresh ways of thinking.
Wherever your journey takes you, I hope these principles serve you well. Get out there and prove the naysayers wrong. Show us what you're made of.
Above all, take some time to learn from us.
Then, we'll be more than ready to learn from you.
Pauls Toutonghi in The New York Times:
Enter 2016 — the election year of our discontent — which threatens to topple the country into a social chaos unseen since the late 1960s. Nearly two-thirds of Republican voters approve of a temporary ban on Islamic immigration. A mainstream presidential candidate has made xenophobia a central tenet of his campaign. In the first three months after terrorists attacked Paris in November, the rate of hate crimes against Muslims tripled in the United States. This is not an America with a robust and nuanced public discourse. And so the question must be asked: How much is our cultural marketplace to blame — where the narratives that sell most widely are ones that, arguably, do little to advance understanding, or even dialogue, across difference?
Into this maelstrom comes Ali Eteraz’s debut novel, “Native Believer.” Eteraz is the author of a memoir, “Children of Dust” (2009), that chronicled his journey from boyhood in a small town in central Pakistan to sex-obsessed adolescence in the American South to pious Islamic young adulthood to the broadly humanist activism that has marked his past 10 years. “Children of Dust” is, essentially, a description of the birth of “Ali Eteraz” — a pen name that translates to “Noble Protest,” which the author adopted several years after Sept. 11. Eteraz’s publisher has taken an admirable risk with “Native Believer.” I found myself wondering — as I sped through its pages with alternating interest, awe and queasiness — whether Eteraz had set out purposefully to challenge his imagined readership, to engage in a kind of “noble protest” against the demands of literary commerce. I believe this novel will offend as many readers as it captivates. It is unflinching in its willingness to transgress taboos, whether those taboos are religious, sexual or both. And in the end, “Native Believer” stands as an important contribution to American literary culture: a book quite unlike any I’ve read in recent memory, which uses its characters to explore questions vital to our continuing national discourse around Islam. This is a novel that says (to borrow a line from Aimé Césaire’s “Discourse on Colonialism”), “Any civilization that chooses to close its eyes to its most crucial problems is a stricken civilization.”
Posted by Azra Raza at 08:11 AM | Permalink