On My Soap Box

Kyle Reed // @kylereed

If you missed it earlier, I gave you a chance to stand up and speak.
Feel free to get on your “box” and let it go.
I feel in someway I might come off as a whinny 20 something, but it is fair that I have said that I am on a soap box, so don’t knock me down. Lets get this party started.

20 somethings have been trained to be cogs instead of leaders.

A Cog is something that Seth Godin describes as “a faceless cog in the machinery of capitalism.” Those seem like heavy words and yet very applicable to what the word “cog” conveys. I feel like 20 somethings are constantly being thrust into the system and left there until they hit 33 (you know,  Jesus age). And to be honest I am getting sick and tired of being a cog. From every 20 something that I talk to online or in person I hear one thing—>I want to learn. Whether that be in school, from culture, or more specifically from a person, 20 somethings want to learn and experience. Unfortunately, the common response is get in line and wait your turn. I hate that. You can see why the line that is forming looks more like robots going in for training on how to do and say the right thing instead of a line that is filled with dreamers and leaders looking to change the world.

I have been in several “mentoring/intern” roles that seem to be an opportunity to grow and learn and instead turned into a chance for me to do all the work that no one wants to do. I get that feeling of a dog waiting for scraps to fall on the floor instead of a member of the family sitting at the table conversating. Sure I might be naive, dumb, and idealistic, but it is better then pessimistic, haughty and uncaring. It seems like the idea is that you have to wait your turn to do something. Why? Because we (the 30 and 40 somethings) had to, and so should you. The problem with this, is that time we spend waiting we tend to learn to be reliant on the teat of  others instead of leading others. Maybe that is why Hebrews 5:12 is very relevant to this discussion. The apostle Paul lays down the challenge of craving meat over milk. Sometimes I think we are told the only option is milk.

There needs to be a time learning, experience, and proving yourself of the calling that you are after. This time of training is invaluable, and needed to be a leader. It just seems that you cannot do anything until you hit a certain age because you have no experience. What a shame. I guess I am ready to do something now, not wait until I am 33 and old (that was a shot at all you 30 year olds).

/rant off/


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Kyle Reed

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Kyle Reed is a connector looking to connect with others. A 20 Something that is blogging his way through life and looking to connect through community. Also a team member of the 8BIT Network and brand evangelist. Find me on twitter: @kylelreed, lets chat.
  • http://jskogerboe.com Joshua Skogerboe

    Hey brother! Thanks for being honest. I think you already are wielding influene and showing leadership, BTW, but you may be justifiably frustrated at the pace of influence at this point. However, I have some grace-filled admonishment to kick you in the butt. In the spirit of Christian love, of course. Here’s advice from an “older and wiser” 30 something. Well… at least older. :-)

    1) Figure out what God has given you passion for.

    2) Go do that.

    /end advice//

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com Kyle Reed

      Fair enough.
      Good advice and yes I do need to go.

  • http://tyhuze.wordpress.com Tyler

    So do you want to learn something or get out and do something? It seems like you are saying that learning and growing is needed before you can lead. But then you are also saying that you hate waiting around for your turn to do something. Are you saying you’ve done your time learning and you want to lead, or are you just saying you want learning and leading to go together?

    Before Mr. Miyagi taught Daniel karate, Daniel first had to learn to paint the fence…know what I mean?

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com Kyle Reed

      I want to do both.
      I want to learn from someone, but I also want to be in the conversation and lead.

      I know exactly what you mean, I hate painting. Its boring

  • http://mcblake.com Mark Blake

    Regarding mentorship opportunities that have turned into placements where you do the grunt work:

    I don’t think that those two things are mutually exclusive. I think that part of being mentored IS doing the work that no one else wants to do, because when you are the leader, when you’re in charge and you’re doing the mentoring, there will be people in your organization who have to do the work that no one else wants to do, and you need to be able to relate to that position.

    Coupled with that, while you are doing the grunt work, I certainly believe that you / mentorees need to be included in what’s going on, you need to be mentored in whatever capacity the leaders are able to do.

    I believe that it it a marriage of the two: Doing the boring work so that you can say you’ve done it and so that you can relate to the people who do the boring work in the future AND being closely mentored and taught how to do the big-picture things.

    I also believe that not every opportunity does it perfectly, so don’t take this as me saying that you are in the wrong and that you need to start looking for the marriage of grunt work and teaching.

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com Kyle Reed

      Yes I agree, but the problem with this is that often doing the grunt work there is no mentorship.

  • http://www.jordantwatson.com Jordan Watson

    I really enjoyed “Linchpin” by Seth Godin. Because when I look around at a lot of my friends I see them walking around brainwashed by a system that says… “if you want to make an impact you better at least go back and get your Masters.” I’m not knocking graduate school, but I see a lot of people our age holding off on their passions until they have a piece of paper for their wall. I think Seth’s emphasis on everyone having an “art” is awesome. Art being what we give freely to humanity. While I see the value of training and experience I’m not going to hold off on giving my art to humanity until I feel trained… instead I think the REAL training comes from the journey of giving my art for years and years. Starting now. Great thoughts Kyle. Thanks for sharing.

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com Kyle Reed

      Great thoughts