Sunday, January 15

Have we short-changed ourselves by removing the draft?

About a month ago, I was having a conversation with a friend about the perceived state of younger workers. The refrain I heard was how the new employees were not prepared and often seemed to want to extend their college days into the work life.

Two weeks later, one of my mentors was discussing how he watches the new crop of entrepreneurs in the Silicon Valley and how they tend to be incredibly cutthroat, eschewing concepts of honesty and loyalty and integrity in favor of libertarianism and capitalism.

And then this last Friday, I was having a discussion with Emma Vites, founder of The Apprentice Project, on what were the challenges I faced when hiring new graduates for roles in Engineering and Sales and what would be a solution to any of the perceived shortcomings I might have seen.

In all three of these conversations, something had been bouncing in the back of my head - something about the maturing of a boy to a man. In the past, our civilisation has always had some form of ritual to help understand the transition from boys to men and (I assume since I am not a woman) from girls to women. I remember reading about the original purpose for the Jewish tradition of the bar-mitzvah where a boy demonstrates to his community that he is ready to be responsible for his own actions and will carry on the Commandments under Jewish law. By becoming a man in this fashion, the boy is now party and responsible for keeping the Commandments - which are paramount in the Jewish Community life. Violation of these Commandments could have dire outcomes in terms of being separated from the family and the community at large.

Going back 100 years, this kind of ostracism would be almost tantamount to exile since Jewish communities were disbursed around the globe, so acceptance in the community was incredibly important to have a successful life.