This Silicon Valley/hipster beard thing bugs me.
It probably shouldn’t, since I have a beard. And mind you, when I was in my twenties I had a scruffy blond beard. I just had to. In those days, it was the closest thing to a “freak flag” I could manage. But when I see these young guys with the well-groomed, pseudo-Lincoln beards, usually my first thought is: “seriously?”. This was nailed in Ben Stiller’s “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty“, except that those guys are “business beards”. If they were wearing T-shirts and leather jackets they would be “Silicon Valley beards”. (You could insert a photo of Jack Dorsey, here, but I only know him from his Twitter feed, so I won’t.)
Does it bug me because it seems these REALLY young guys are trying to grow really thick dark beards to appropriate our symbol of wisdom and experience (normally associated with age?) Are these just the huge antlers of the “young bucks”. Are these guys broadcasting their virility? It’s probably all the same thing.
From a professional perspective, it’s both.
These really young guys are replacing us in the workforce; their ideas and creativity and drive (and businesses) are valued in the billions of dollars, while our own may be overlooked or worse, because our age and experience can actually disqualify us without consideration. AND…these guys can grow thicker, darker beards than we can!!
And so, we repeat the dance of the generations… We have no choice—we dance whether we intend to or not. But we don’t have to resent the young men who are not just “stepping into our shoes”, but sometimes, booting us out the door. Let’s not resent them, please, let’s try not.
Which reminds me, Mark Zuckerberg, we don’t agree about much, but thank you for shaving. Thank you.