Weekly Challenge: Kill 'Em With Kindness
Empathy – The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
At first I couldn’t believe it. There must have been a hacker. “The GoFundMe Team donated $1,000 to ‘Savannah to Antarctica.’” I frantically revisited my GoFundMe campaign page, and there it was, amongst the several other friends and colleagues that have supported my next great adventure.
The next day, I received another email that allowed me the pleasure of putting a name to the surprise. Justin Ricci, Head of Technology Operations for GoFundMe, informed me that he was the one who nominated my campaign for the company’s February employee Gives Back. He explained that every month, the team selects a bunch of campaigns to give $1,000 back to. It’s a pure bona-fide donation in kind to the spirit of the company’s platform.
“I picked yours because adventure is the thrill of life and when I saw the Sir Robert Swan trip, I knew I found the one! I hope you have the best trip ever and am looking forward to lots of pictures and stories! Keep us updated!”
The team would have had no idea that $1,000 was the exact sum of money I needed to make up for the rest of my travel funds. I explained to Justin that as an aspiring environmental advocate and writer, I have found that the ability to offer kindness to a stranger is something that is unequivocally millennial. I am so thankful for Justin and the rest of the GoFundMe family’s trust in investing in my mission. And I agree. These trips are the ones that can fuel our collective preservation of the dwindling natural beauty we have left. I fully intend to document every moment.
And the best part is that these kinds of corporate initiative are no longer uncommon. “Corporate social responsibility,” and especially “social enterprises,” are both picking up steam amongst millennials, and millennials are picking up steam in the workforce. According to Jamie Gutfreund, chief strategy officer for the Intelligence Group, a full 86 million millennials will be in the workplace by 2020—representing a full 40% of the total working population. In 2014, The Intelligence Group did a comprehensive study on the curious case of milliennials —who, until now, have been cast off as distracted, narcissistic, unaccountable, and demanding. Here’s what they found:
· 64% of them say it’s a priority for them to make the world a better place.
· 72% would like to be their own boss. But if they do have to work for a boss, 79% of them would want that boss to serve more as a coach or mentor.
· 88% prefer a collaborative work-culture rather than a competitive one.
· And 88% want “work-life integration,” since with enhanced technology, work and life are almost completely fused.
Although I will admit that we can be a little distracted…and possibly a little egotistic…my generation wants to work for a purpose and not just a metric. The numbers show that we strive to be leaders and innovators. We want support systems and collaborative environments. And we want to surround ourselves in our professional environments with the same global dialectic we are already experiencing within our virtual realities.
My challenge to you is this: offer kindness to a stranger. I dare you. Whether by purchasing a bouquet of flowers to the girls in the grocery line; by holding back rather than speeding up while the Honda desperately tries to merge; or by offering a pure and simple compliment; let us continue to define our generation as one of empathy, not indifference.