The Ketchup Factor
Okay, so this isn’t new information. Lifelong employment died the day McDonald’s stopped blindly handing you fistfuls of ketchup packets and started asking if you wanted any, and if so, exactly how many. It’s just a different world now, and that isn’t always a bad thing. Slinging ketchup around willy-nilly to millions of people for free was never a solid business model, and, it turns out, neither was lifelong employment.
Millennials are tired of hearing about the good old days and how young men smelling of mom’s home-baked cookies could charm their way past eye-batting secretaries and waltz into the CEO’s open door, gleefully shake hands with a wink of their eye and gosh darn it work like the dickens for the next 40 years. Employment doesn’t work like that anymore, not even for white guys. So maybe this is a sign of progress. Lifelong employment was born at a time when most non-white people and women weren’t burdened by student debts because they didn’t have tenable access to a college education.
Beyond the Stegosaurus
Lifelong employment is an outdated, unhealthy, and privileged idea, like how cigarettes once made white collar men sophisticated and sexy. The modern world is far too nimble and competitive to support a lifelong commitment to ideas, business models, and employees. Life adapts. So does business. If lifelong employment was in the Museum of Natural History, it would be that bloody woolly mammoth full of spears thrown by enterprising young geeks from Silicon Valley. Capitalism is a strain of Darwinism that elevates those most able to evolve and brings an indifferent, violent end to those who don’t.
Despite being born into a primordial job landscape of glowing volcanoes spewing molten lava below shadowy mobiles of circling pterodactyls, Millennials are not going to die out like the stegosaurus. They will survive. They already have. That apocalyptic meteor irresponsibly made by previous generations has already impacted and turned our oceans into steam and atmosphere into toxic clouds of radioactive greed. The damage has been done. From wasted ketchup and desktop ashtrays to institutionalized racism and lifelong employment, the diverse and versatile evolution generation is about to change how we work. Wish them luck. The American Dream depends on it.