Seth Godin, GenY, Career Brainwash

Today I’m doing my first Habitat for Humanity project in New Orleans!

I just read this on Penelope Trunk’s blog and thought is was intriguing/brilliant.  Penelope is announcing a webinar where she’ll be at Seth Godin’s house (pretty cool!).  Here’s what Seth says about careers and GenY:

My take is that [generation Y] is the last one that will be as totally brainwashed by the system, by the schools and by companies and by society to believe that the industrial age (and compliance) is their ticket to the carnival. The smart ones will see that and play a different game, and the sooner they realize how bad the scam is, the faster they’ll recover.

WOW. Some interesting points:

  • We are all brainwashed, including GenY (even though they are the tail end)
  • Schools and companies and society are brainwashing us
  • Compliance to the “industrial age” is not good – we’re blinded by whatever their promise is
  • Look for the different game… perhaps a different way to manage your career (income security?) and start moving forward in that direction

Link to Penelope’s webinar is here.

1 thought on “Seth Godin, GenY, Career Brainwash”

  1. I know Seth Godin is supposed to be brilliant, yada yada yada. However, you might want to reconsider paying any attention to him. In his blog post entitled The Coming Melt-Down in Higher Education (As Seen by a Marketer), the second sentence begins: “From Harvard asking Galileo to be a guest professor in the 1600s….” This is, at *best*, a ludicrous misstatement. Really, of course, it is a lie, a lie told by a marketer to further his real purpose, which is self-promotion. In short, Seth Godin just makes stuff up, in order to get attention.

    Information about the early years of Harvard can be found in American Education: The Colonial Experience, 1607-1783, by Lawrence A. Cremin (New York: Harper & Row, c1970), especially pages 212-219. Although the legislature of Massachusetts authorized money “towards a school or college” on October 28, 1636, not until the end of 1637 was Nathaniel Eaton appointed the sole “professor of the said school”. It is “likely that instruction commenced sometime during the summer of 1638.” It was not even called Harvard College until March 13, 1639. Eaton did not prove satisfactory and he was “dismissed on September 6, 1639, and the college was for all intents and purposes closed until the following August 27, when Henry Dunster … was appointed president.” Cremin describes, on page 216, Harvard College as “small in size and collegial in character, embracing at any given time the president and two or three tutors, a steward, cook, butler, and several servants, and from 20 to 50 resident scholars.” Finally, he illustrates “The Times and Order of Studies, 1642” on page 214. It is nothing like modern college education. A large proportion consisted in reading Christian scriptures and in studying Greek, Hebrew, “Syriac”, and “Chaldee”, as well as “catechetical divinity”, “commonplaces”, “declamations”, rhetoric, and so on. In the third (and last) year, one hour on Mondays and Tuesdays was spent in studying “arithmetic; geometry; astronomy”.

    There really was no such thing as “a guest professor” at Harvard “in the 1600s.” However, even if there were, if you consult an encyclopedia — Wikipedia will do — you will find that Galileo was under house arrest near Florence, Italy, from 1634 until he died on January 8, 1642. Furthermore, he had become completely blind in 1638.

    I prefer not to help support such intellectually irresponsible self-promoters as Seth Godin and Penelope Trunk (don’t even get me started on her lack of substance). I realize that my opinion is novel, if not unique. Still, pointing out the truth has to start somewhere.

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