The Burn Is Real

This weekend I wrote a blog entitled Millennial Damage? and posted it on LinkedIn. Then I did something I’ve only done a handful of times concerning any one of my blogs – I deleted it. Not for fear of backlash or anything related, that I can always take although I don’t normally write to provoke, I normally write with well-thought message in mind. While this particular blog I had written had to do with something that is highly concerning right now in the business world, after some great thought I felt like I missed a real point, a focus on something that I did not pay enough attention to as it has immediately affected my own life as well.


The New York Times article I had read on which I based my blog was “What Happens When Millennials Run the Workplace?” about a 28 year old CEO who allows for a freewheeling environment of Nerf-darts, hoverboards (as I said in my blog don’t those things still catch fire?), megaphones blaring daily in-office news and constant SnapChat-ting. Yes, there is a company pet who patrols the halls and stops at desks to snuffle. Say what you want without repercussion, all ideas and concerns public, known – and encouraged. Sounds a bit out there?

Check this out:

The company is Mic, located in New York City, an online Millennial-focused news provider co-founded by that 28 year old CEO Chris Altchek, which gives you opinion and edge as well (sound familiar?) – new wave and new age media. And yes it has competition (just like here in the good old AV industry) like Buzzfeed. Where the NY Times and other such online news sources will give you the “opinion,” Mic drives it through your forehead. Of course that being in the likely Red Bull induced stupor that they work in. “People are here from morning to night and we don’t want to leave, said Elizabeth Plank, 28 – described as a high energy reporter who lives in the East Village. Now she does appeal to me as a true go-getter, not the lazy, entitled and further labeled personna given to Millennials in general – mostly unfair, yet I have seen evidence in certain situations of the entitlement, and yes it has been somewhat bothersome. I have many good friends in the industry who are among the Millennial age scale, they bring it every day and I’m damn proud to know and be associated with them.

Mic office

However, I included something from the article as a part of my original blog conversation, instead of being the true focus (as was described at the very beginning of the NY Times article) – this being the main reason for the deletion of the blog and the re-focus here. The article begins:

Joel Pavelski, 27, isn’t the first person who has lied to his boss to scam some time off work.

But inventing a friend’s funeral, when in fact he was building a treehouse – then blogging and tweeting about it to be sure that everyone in the office noticed? That feels new.

Now, how is it possible that a young man in a situation where you can play your game, speak your mind and basically have it your way have to lie to get away for some R&R? And upon that, let the online world know where it’s possible that the boss could find out?

And yes, the boss did.

The boss’ overall office philosophy was indeed tested when Pavelski, Mic’s Director of Programming, requested the week off under what resulted in false pretenses, even though the symptom leading to “the lie” is very real. Of course what boss wouldn’t feel the sensitivity for the made-up situation and grant the time off. This is what Altchek did, and here is what he found several days later written by Pavelski: How to lose your mind and build a treehouse.

Here is the main and highlighted line from the blog:

Palevski quote

Now – I’m not having a nervous breakdown, yet this is the reason I am writing this blog in that I have felt some great burnout and stresses of my own, which have also occurred the past couple of years at around this time. Could it be a result of InfoComm and the load carried there, some of which I create on my own? Two years ago I went as a consultant with an exhibitor and wrote for rAVe as well. Last year I went with rAVe as media and this year I went with rAVe as a part of the team as well as media, and of course year after year I try to create a bigger bang. This year I did my Disruptive Top 10 which I have done three years in a row and decided to make a bigger production of it by including structured booth videos, one in which I traversed a large booth while continuing to shoot (almost being knocked aside at one point by someone walking in the booth) and another where I would cross the floor to another booth, almost waiting a half hour for the other part of the interview to be ready – like clear the area of potential customers to do the shoot.

Then came my podcast “AV Power Up” and all that went into doing it two days at the show – which is a total team effort. Last year we intended to do one show, however for reasons that are legendary now (and we like to joke about it), we ended up doing an impromptu second show. Never to be outdone (especially by myself), I created two shows this year prior to InfoComm – the first involving over 20 guests along with Crew members which I started planning almost three months before. That was Wednesday and then after it was finished (at about 5:30) I hung around to help people who had done another podcast recover what they thought were lost audio files. I stuck around for an hour or so afterward, after I had planned to go party and helped find them, having to calm people down in the process as well. The audio files were found and posted. What did I end up doing that night? Go celebrate at one of the many parties? No, I actually went back to the hotel room, ordered room service and then eventually went to bed – exhausted physically and somewhat mentally. I guess 105+ degree heat over two days can contribute to that as well.

On Thursday came another almost full day of meetings – rAVe related as well (as was the case Wednesday) and the second AV Power Up with exhibitor executives – one segment with Ashan Willy of Polycom can be seen here on video. After that show was over though, I went to the room, showered and then went to a tremendous party. No, it was not thrown in a large venue by a major manufacturer (I’m actually getting tired of those), this year I found a great one and many thanks to my good friend Bill Nattress of Biamp for inviting me.

Chrissie Hope

Friday was my day to complete my Top 10 selections, do the videos, bring my young rAVe camera person to the Drones Pavilion (as a reward for her excellent work – see picture at left) as she received a wonderful tour given by my friend Christina Engh, and then – yes – walk the floor a bit as well.

I returned home from InfoComm on Saturday, a bit exhausted but functional. However as the week went on, I started feeling it. It crept up, but it was certainly real – the exhaustion that resulted in what appears to have been burnout. I didn’t blog about it, I just let it go. Now – I felt like it was a good time, based upon the New York Times article I read where a young 27 year old, who you would have thought had all the energy in the world to face any challenge, including burning the candle at all ends like his fellow employee who works through the night, would never face the challenge of exhaustion and burnout. And yes in a measure, I have too.

I am coming back to post-InfoComm earth now after doing an outstanding InfoComm-related Science Behind the Technology interview with noted industry technologist Dr. Roger Hajjar of Prysm (one more to come this week) and one incredible AV Power Up show with a great Crew (many thanks to my friend Mike Shinn for stepping in to Crew at the last minute!) and four of my Disruptive Top 10 companies. We’re setting up to do our next show this week with my Crew and four more from my Top 10. I am also working on personal endeavors as well which have drawn great focus.

The burn – or burnout – is real. Take care of yourself, take a break if you need and heck, build a treehouse if necessary as this 27 year old did. Or just write a somewhat personal blog – works for me.

New York TimesWhat Happens When Millennials Run the Workplace?