Our TEDx Talk: Workplaces Are The Schools Of The 21st Century

Roei Deutsch, CEO & Co-Founder at Jolt
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June 5, 2018

Our CEO and Co-Founder - Roei Deutsch - on his TEDx talk last year:

Here's the transcription of Roei's talk:

I remember the first time I became irrelevant until two years ago, I considered myself a social media expert. I made a living building Facebook marketing strategies, and then came Snapchat. Now, I don't know about you, but if you're anything like me, nothing makes you feel older than Snapchat. If you're anything like me, you still don't get it. So I became outdated overnight. I still knew a lot about Facebook, but any kid with a smartphone now had a better idea than I had about the future of social media. So I started with pretending Snapchat isn't happening.

[inaudible]

after a few months of doing that, I took a few months to reflect I thought, what have I done with my time on earth? I realized I was having a midlife crisis.

[inaudible]

I was ready to put my old life behind me and start a new chapter. I was 24 years old.

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you see, for us, millennials tie moves a bit differently. Uh, I had about 10 jobs in the last 13 years and I'm not alone according to recent data. Most millennials tend to switch jobs every 18 months or so. What I find interesting is when I had the chance to interview millennial job applicants for various positions in the last few years, I can't remember any of them saying to me, I'm going to start looking for a job and minute after we start, or If I were you - I wouldn't count on me for more than a year.

Were they lying about their intentions? I don't think so. Looking back, they actually gave quite a few hints when I asked, why did you leave your last job? They would answer: I felt like a finished growing or I felt like I wasn't learning anything new. Listen to the words they use. It suggest that the real reason millennials switched jobs is not a sense of entitlement or this loyalty.

It suggests that the real reason millennials switched jobs is that they're looking to learn more and they only stick around in a job for as long as they learn. It's as if they're seeing workplaces as schools. Imagine that. Might workplaces actually be the schools of the 21st century? According to a recent survey by PWC, more than two thirds of millennials rank learning opportunities as their key factor in choosing their current jobs a lot more than the paycheck.

Now, a lot has been said about my generation already, but this is big for this generation. Personal growth is more important than monetary compensation. If the old employment deal was pay me and I will work for you a new employment deal now emerges, teach me and I will work for you for as long as I learn. If you think of it, this makes a lot of sense.

Things are moving so fast. If you want to stay relevant, you just have to keep learning new things. If you stop learning new things, you take this huge risk of becoming irrelevant overnight. Employers call these millennial career pivots - job hopping. It sounds bad as if you're a trader for leaving [inaudible] responsible for wanting to learn new things. The way I see it.

Switching jobs every couple of years is a way to survive professionally. So instead of calling millennials who switched jobs, job hoppers, I like to call them, us, chapters. Now at person who's in a temporary position for learning reason was used to be called an intern or an apprentice. An intern will be someone who takes a job, a temporary job to help prepare himself to his next real job, a chapter, however, is someone who sees every job as a temporary learning experience. Chapters see every chapter as the preparation to the next one.

Employers are not quite buying into this concept yet. You see, the one metric employers care about the most these days is employee retention. Basically, it's a metric that measures how long people stay in place. This is conflict of interest, 101. Conflict of interest, well chapter and strive to move forward and learn new things. Employers optimize to holding them back, but employers are not to blame for this. If you want to really understand our employment system, we need to take a step back. Allow me to read to you a few sentences max. Weber, one of the greatest sociologist of the 20th century wrote more than a hundred years ago about employment.

Okay. [inaudible]

"The individual bureaucrat is only a single cog in an ever moving mechanism, which prescribes to him a fixed route of March. "

Just want to stop you for a second and make sure I show you what a cog looks like. I think most of us know this as settings. When Weber's essay was published, machines actually had cogs. It makes sense for steam round machines, right? And external forest like steam, wind or water moves one cog that moves the other in a never ending cycle. When this book was published, manufacturing plants, recopying, Henry Ford's production line vision, they pretty much thought a factory is kind of like a big machine, so every worker is kind of like a cog. Every person should have one tiny preplanned part of the process.

Think of a worker in the clock factory, for example. He would stand next to the production line. A clock would come his way. He would twist the screw or assemble a piece and then move on to do the same in the next clock that comes his way.

Is this really that different than what our organizations are designed to look like today?

Our employment system is based and methodologies built a kid or with the industrial revolution, it pretty much assumes that we all hold a stationary position next to the production line. Maybe that's the way in English we address having a job with the wards holding a position. Now, if you said to do the same job for years, why would you learn more than once? Makes a lot of sense. Right? 200 years ago, this made sense. You learn how to assemble clocks and then you assemble them.

The funny part is our system is still designed to be that way, today. For most of us, we have this one bump of proactive learning in college and that's pretty much it. So when I started my own company I thought, how would the employment look like if we were to reinvent it today?

Now if work was a product, we'd probably start by asking our clients, in this case, mostly millennial job applicants, what they want. So we did just that. And turns out millennials, chapters, they want three things they want to learn at work. They care about personal growth more than they care about monetary compensation and they don't really want to do anything for more than two years.

So I thought, what if instead of offering workers a position we'd offer chapters - a chaptership. So, a chaptership, is a 24 months long mission its core value proposition is you give us your most valuable asset, your foreseeable future, and in return we'll help you prepare for your next chapter, beat whatever you want it to be. We'll invest tremendous resources in building a customized learning experience based on your unique qualities. Work, will be part of it.

Now, after you're done with your mission, you can either pursue another mission at the same company or get help graduating to another opportunity elsewhere. So this might be the first job you had that doesn't end, neither you quitting or being fired. This might be with the interest of the millennial workforce and employers actually align for the very least two year work cycles should help create reinvention.

I don't know about you, but when I started a new job, I have this primitive instinct to prove that the person before me was a complete idiot by doing everything 10 times better than them. You know what I'm talking about, right? That's the good part about new people. They bring in change and I think today it's safe to say that change is key to innovation and that innovation is key to business success.

So as I mentioned, I started with trying chapterships in my own company. I started with asking one of our key engineers, Roy, what do you want to do in two years? He said, I want to lead my own company. At this point I was supposed to slowly distract him from his dream with more money or perks. Instead I asked him, what do you need to learn to achieve that? And he said, you know, I feel like I'm not confident and outspoken enough. How do you help someone become more outspoken and confident quickly? Well, I think it's safe to say we're the first startup to stand, an engineer to acting class [inaudible]

Now instead of building a golden cage around him or trying to slowly kill his stream, we helped him prepare for what's coming next. And you know what? I bet it'll actually make him stay longer with us. I bet he'll stay with us for as long as he learns.

Now, chapterships definitely isn't perfect yet, but it's just the start. As millennials take over the workforce, we need to reinvent the employment deal itself. And it starts by connecting, learning with work. Thank you.

[inaudible].

So why do so few of us have creative breaks?

Because almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes. Including you.

Charles Darwin took long walks around London. Kurt Vonnegut made listening to jazz a daily priority. Fiona Apple disappeared for 6 years after the release of her third album.

So why do so few of us have creative breaks?
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I ask because I can often be found agonising over the "more". If only I posted on Instagram more, I'll think in the bath. I'd have more followers if I pitched to more publications. I need to post 2 more times a week, minimum. I could go on...

Between you and me, I've got frustrated with myself for browsing Facebook or watching too much TV more times than I can remember.

And I'm not alone. So many of us are terrified of taking a break, creatively speaking. We won't let a moment pass without listening to a podcast, consuming an article or sharing something.

The cognitive load is real, y'all.

But like Vitamin D, sleep and good food, it's not only ok to take a break, it's essential.

Living a successful life is also about knowing when not to work. For your best output, you need to focus on your input, too.

The world won't end if you disappear from the internet for a week or so. Your creativity won't suddenly stop. Your time is now, but your time was also then and it will be again.

Your dreams don't have an expiration date.

Many of us confuse being "busy" with being constructive. But you can only do your best work by taking breaks.

And science backs it up, too. The brain requires substantial downtime to do its most innovative thinking. The ideas you have while driving or in the shower aren't coincidental. They're a result of you taking a step back, whether you're aware of it or not.

Here's a challenge for you

Let yourself take a wonderful and indulgent break. Several breaks. Hell, get downright bored.

Put airplane mode on for a while. Sit down. Lie down. Be still. Do nothing. Observe. Listen to your mind. Let it do what it does without judging it.

Wallow in it. Don't be afraid of it. Push it as far as you can.

When you leave your laptop behind, something always happens. A new idea or a fresh perspective appears.

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"A spark of inspiration needs an empty cave."

Take proper breaks, often. Completely clear your mind. Your next best idea depends on it.

Could you get to the top 1% of your industry?

Empower your team to go and shine.