Frank Moldstad is the only 50-something at a west coast digital marketing firm comprised almost entirely of 20-somethings. This is the ongoing story of his travails....
I like my alone time. This is when I think of brilliant ideas to present to my colleagues at our staff meetings. But the millennials who run things around here are like the Borg from Star Trek. They believe in the power of groupthink, and resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.
Still, I resist, clinging desperately to my humanity. Sometimes, when I have an idea that excites me, I try to enlist the support of my Gen Y cube-mate Evelyn. Sometimes, she humors me. But not today, as I look over my ideas for helping one of our clients promote a new streaming service.
"What do you think of a contest?" I ask her.
"I don't know, maybe," she says. "We'll have to wait and see what everyone else thinks."
"Does that mean you don't like the idea?" I wonder.
"No, it's fine," she says. "But until we get together with the team, it's kind of a waste of time to think of all these different ideas."
Alas, the team. I am all for teamwork, except when it breeds mediocre ideas. It is a fact that inspiration comes from individuals, not teams. Did Einstein develop his Theory of Relativity with a team? Not that I'm Einstein, but you get the point.
I use this line of reasoning on Evelyn, pointing out that our boss, Marci, has expressed disappointment in the ideas that came out of our last few meetings.
"Wouldn't it be great if everybody came to the meetings with different ideas?" I ask Evelyn. "That way, we could have some really creative approaches for the team to talk about. Why don't you try it?"
Evelyn considers this, and then picks up her phone to call her friend Jane in the next cube.
"Hey, do you think we should come up with our own ideas before the streaming meeting?" she asks. "OK, I'll be right over."
I can hear them over the cubicle wall debating this new strategy. They call a couple of other people to confer. Soon, it sounds like a party. In about 15 minutes, Evelyn returns.
"OK, we're going to try it," she says. "We're all going out to lunch to come up with some ideas."
"Together?" I ask. "But that defeats the whole purpose. You might as well wait for the meeting."
"You come up with your ideas your way, and we'll come up with our ideas our way," she says. "We'll see who's got the best ideas. Just remember, two heads are better than one."
Uh-oh, says a little voice in my head. The gauntlet has been thrown. I still have half a day to stumble across a killer idea. What would Captain Picard do?