To cope with the incoming strong influence of Millennials is critically important not only for the society, business and education realms, but also for any Military. The reason is, that the Millennials seem a little bit detached from such matters, but concurrently, they will soon become the members of Parliaments and Governments, they will even take the high positions of Ministers of Defence, where they will directly influence and even control State Defense structures, including Defense budgets.
Therefore, for any Military, in order to maintain its readiness for the most crucial tasks of the state for the upcoming years and decades, to establish a good relations with the Millennials seems the most reasonable thing for the future. However, as the Military in general is often slow to change and to adapt to the new conditions and challenges, it seems, that only a few NATO armies perceive this challenge as significant today. But there is a prize for any early adopter, and I am proud to announce to the world, how this task could be achieved smoothly, if you are inventive, and if you use a suitable asset. Like Mr. Josef Svejk, for example…
Note: all depicted persons, subjects, events and military operations are fictional. This article is connected with my book “Svejk 2: The Army Elite”, an artistic work about modern Military Affairs and Information Warfare.
As the mutual relations between the Army and Military Counterintelligence were deeply tense in the 2014, the Army decided to accomplish some special missions by establishing their own tool for gaining social power and influence, completely out of military jurisdiction and even governmental control: “Special Unit C102: PSYOPS”was a shell corporation in practice, called officially “Agency for Special Projects”, operating in the civilian environment, with one basic task: to achieve the desirable status, when “the people will like the Army more”.
Mr. Josef Svejk was one of the most distinctive figures there. Although many high-ranked military officers doubted righteously about his qualification for the most sensitive and even delicate missions the Unit executed, this man was able to prove his value on many occasions, including missions in deep cover, in the name ofhigher state interests.
He was just having a healthy lunch, consisting of really unhealthily looking salami, and two bottles of beer, that he drank covertly under the table, so the office culture was not harmed. But the First Lieutenant, his direct superior and officially the director of their corporation, was out of the office at present, visiting local military headquarters for consultancy about the latest developments. Of couse, unoficially.
To Svejk´s surprise, the door opened, and his two female colleagues entered with a big cake. “Happy Birthday to you, Mr. Svejk, our beloved colleague and friend!”
“That is so touching, I can barely speak,” Svejk smiled at this proof of good team relationships. “Thank you so much, ladies! It´s so good to work here, and to bring something good both to the Military, and to the society! I always knew, that there is something more in me, and look at me now! I am somebody, and I even have good friends! So the fact that my long-time girlfriend left me a few weeks ago is easily forgotten – because of you! Come closer, so we can hug!”
“We heard that you are leaving us soon, Mr. Svejk. And that makes us very sad,” Denisa said. “But we understand, that the famous McKinley corporation is a good career move for you, so we won´t try to hold you here. But you should know, that without you, our team will never be the same,” she flattered.
“When the duty calls, everybody has to go, you know the rules! And you also know very well, that for our purposes and interests, infiltrating McKinley can bring many unique opportunities, how to influence the business world. But I promise you, that I will return from the Wall Street as soon as possible, of course, with the U.S. medals on my proud chest!” Svejk assured them.
But the First Lieutenant disrupted their small celebration ruthlessly, when he came back to the office, loudly, with anger in his face. “Svejk! Where are you, you miserable and treacherous fool!”
“Hier, Herr Oberlieutenant,” Svejk stood up. “I report obediently, that during your absence, nothing special happened! Only a salesman from a cellular service operator called, whether we want some cheaper voice calls, but when I told him truthfully, what kind of the most secret operations for the higher state interests we are manufacturing here, that their Surveillance department personnel would soon disappear without a trace, he just stuttered and hung up the phone without saying goodbye. Just another cowardly loser, absolutely unfit for the military service!”
“This is the famous day, when I will really slap you into that dumb face of yours! When I will crush you like an annoying insect! I should do that long time ago! You foolish man, what did you do, again? Do you know, what just happened at the military headquarters?”
“I don´t know, you haven´t told me yet, Herr Oberlieutenant,” Svejk replied calmly. “But I am listening with the maximum attention possible!”
“The new orders came, that is what happened! And you will really like them! It´s your birthday today, isn´t it? So, I have a very special gift for you, fool!
Imagine the strange coincidence! Last week, you came to my office, and you told me about that Millennials, that we should take them seriously. I told you to forget it, that we have another duties. And one week later, suddenly, I have the new orders to execute some foolish “Operation Fountain Of Youth”, and it´s all about infiltrating and influencing the social structures of Millennials!
Do you want to pretend, that you know nothing about this affair? Do you even want to try to make a fool of me??? Confess immediately, you traitor, or things will be yet much worse for you, and you will end in front of a military court!”
“Yes, I confess to everything, Herr Oberlieutenant,” Svejk almost started crying. “But I just wanted to do something good for us, so they will appreciate us above eventually, they will give us some medals… they doubted about us, but we never gave up, and I always tried to do the best… but I made this mistake, by not consulting this matter with you, as my beloved and respected superior! Judge me strictly, I will accept any punishment, both military and civilian!”
“Stop that ridiculous show, Svejk! I know that you are just playing your favorite performance, as you always do! I really don´t know, what to do with you! I am such a lucky man, that I will get rid of you soon! I will gladly let that McKinley elite to be plagued by your infamous presence! I just pray that they won´t return you back to me! I would have to desert, to get out of this nightmare, serving with you!”
“What horrible things are you saying, Herr Obelieutenant? Our team is working perfectly, and mishaps happen all the time, and everywhere. Just be generous a little bit, find an inner peace, let go some tiny details to see the big picture! By ruling the Millennials, we will become the kings of the present and the future, as I told you last week!”
“Silence! I order you to read this paper, and to prepare to leave for the town of Brunn at once! And promise me to stay out of my eyes at least several days, so I can recover a little! Do you need something for your mission?”
“Yes, just five hundred dollars for my personal expenses, Herr Oberlieutenant. This will be a long journey, and very important. If the high military command approved my modest suggestion for this operation, they indicated, that they are well aware about the critical importance of the Millennials for the Military. And I assured them, that I won´t disappoint my team. I will do it perfectly, and tomorrow, all Millenials will eat grain from our palm,” Svejk said decisively.
“This will be another disaster, I know that in advance,” the First Lieutenant doubted this courageous statement. “But tell me, Svejk – why exactly Brunn? What is so special there?”
“In Brunn, the start-up scene is massively developed, Herr Oberlieutenant. In other words, all important things happen there, and the start-up scene is a central point to enter the Millennials structures. That is the reason to go there. I know exactly, where to go, and what to do. Honestly, I think that the Millennials are just another hype, likeGeneration X and Generation Y were. Just empty words and too much noise around them, without any serious content. I even don´t know, what generation am I myself? X or Y? I have to have a look at the Wikipedia… the government should add a note to my personal identification card, so I could know, where I belong in the sociological sense!”
“Your immense foolishness is out of any charts and comparisons, so you don´t belong anywhere, Svejk! Save your useless efforts, take the money and get out of here already! And please, avoid all pubs on the way! I want all expenses to be proved, do you understand, you bad example? Every single dollar spent must be in account!”
“As ordered, sir! I will drink only a lemonade during this business trip! I promised myself to stop drinking anyway… I mean, from tomorrow!”
At the train station, Svejk visited a local pub, to refresh himself before the long journey, and he quickly forgot his promise, ordering a beer, and not only one.
All that hustle around was very exciting. Svejk watched all the people, rushing in all directions, with luggage or empty-handed. But they all had very serious and determined faces, and Svejk was glad to be a part of this big travelling action.
Later, he approached to the counter and said with very important voice: “A train ticket to Brunn. First class!”
“But that will cost you forty dollars, sir,” the female cashier tried to be economical.
“No problem. Our glorious Army pays the bills today! First class, with no hesitation! I have a special military mission in Brunn, and I need to come there perfectly relaxed. Have you ever thought about a military career, madam? There are many good opportunities for women, for example in our classified Unit…”
She gave him the ticket with a suspicious look in her eyes and kicked him out. “Next, please!”
Svejk proved his deep sense for orientation, when he found the right train platform only after a half an hour of wandering around. The train was already there, prepared to leave.
“Let´s go, to the medals and public recognition! And you Millenials, prepare to have a new masters!” Svejk toasted with a small bottle of liquor.
In Brunn, there is really a centre of the Czech start-up scene. Thousands of projects are cooked there and the municipality of the town recognized correctly a great chance to surpass their old competitor Prague, so they support this entrepreneurship widely, including establishing so called “hubs”, where the start-ups like to gather, so they can share thoughts, ideas and also to network with others, to get more opportunities.
Svejk entered the “Star Hub” at two o´clock in the afternoon, and he liked the building immediately. Only a steel, glass and concrete, pure, simplistic modern architecture… he agreed, that the EU money are well spent there.
In his 38 years of age, he was the oldest person in the range of kilometers. Close to the Star Hub building was a very large student campus, full of young people… all of them Millenials. So he was at the right place… only not completely fitting in. But this detail couldn´t stop this experienced operative.
At first, nobody took notice of him. But he knew, that sooner or later, a person will come. And this will be the crucial person for his mission.
A young female receptionist was just talking to her boyfriend on the phone, and they just had an exciting conversation about their evening plans, but eventually, her sense of professionalism won, so she said goodbye with kisses, and she approached Svejk, smiling pleasantly.
“How can I help you, mister? Are you looking for somebody? Or are you thinking about setting your own business here? We have very advantageous conditions…” she offered without any prejudice to Svejk´s age. He appreciated that, and he was absolutely sure, that she is the right person to help him.
“Actually, I am looking for somebody. I represent a powerful investor, and we would like to find a new business partner here. But we don´t know exactly, which start-up to choose, because they all seem so attractive, with high potential. So maybe you could give me some directions, madam,” Svejk was quite honest.
“You came to the right place, mister! We have many interesting projects here. And what kind of project do you have in mind?”
“The branch is not primary for us, but we seek the highest personal qualities and skills. But I was told, that so called hipsters really rule here. Can you introduce me to some hipster, please?”
“Well, mister, you should know, that hipsters don´t like to be called this way. In fact, more is a person hipster, more he or she denies to be a hipster. Strange rules, aren´t they?”
“OK, so, can you tell me, who is the absolutely not hipster here? I would like to talk to him or her, about a serious business proposal, in the value of millions USD. You seem very capable, madam, and you seem to know the people here well. So I would like to leave the choice in your hands. I trust you, that you will choose the best business partner for us. And remember, we won´t forget your great help. I will pass your name to the higher and influential places, so your promotion and career will grow quickly. You help me – we help you.”
“I can try,” she promised. “Just sit there, in the sofa, and relax. A coffee for you? I will talk to some people, and I will get back to you soon.”
“Great! Please, three cubes of sugar and a cream. You are a real asset! Thank you for your help!”
Svejk was a highly experienced person, who saw many places, and met many people in his life. But when he was introduced to Pavel, 26, a local start-up star, who was predicted by many to become a new Mark Zuckerberg from Facebook soon, he fully understood, how wide are the differences between their generations.
Pavel was really fast in everything he did. He demanded a lot of information in any minute, to process it and decide. No wonder, that he used Google Glass, so he had a quick access to all communication, right in front of his eye. The time effectivity and smoothness of business operations were the crucial values for Pavel, and the reason of the fast growth of his start-up, directed at using the new technology in health care.
Pavel started his presentation immediately. He was trained to make his “pitch” in one minute, to catch the immediate interest of any audience.
“…I believe, that the appropriate using of Big Data could bring tremendous opportunities not only for the quality of health care, but also to save millions, which would be otherwise lost, if the labour force would have to leave work to overcome their illnesses. You can imagine, how this could help to the GDP, mister… Svejk?”
“Yeah, Svejk, that is my famous name! Your business plan seems very interesting, Pavel. Believe me, we can appreciate that. But we believe mostly in human qualities and potential. Projects come and go, but if you have the right people, everything is possible, and the world can be changed. And the world of health care? How great would it be, to save many people from suffering and pain? And you are the person who can help them. You are important – we know that, and you know that. So, let´s talk about the possibilities of our mutual help.
The organization I am representing has in fact unlimited funds. So you can guess, that this subject is positioned quite high in the economic and even social structures. So we can help our people to grow, and to fully realize their potential in their projects. Does it sound interesting for you?”
“To make things clear, Mr. Svejk – I am very picky, and not hungry. I have offers for a partnership almost daily, but I don´t plan to sell my company. I want to keep control, and to finish what I started. It´s not the matter of money for me, but I feel it as my personal mission, to do something good, and big at the same time. Maybe to change the world a little, to make it a better place. I am in no rush, and the question of money is not crucial for me. I have secured 150.000 USD of start capital from a business angel, so my current operations have the necessary financial cover. And as you could hear about me, I am stronger every day.
So you can talk, but don´t expect me to be too friendly and eager to do business with you. I see my future in the United States anyway, in the Silicon Valley, and I will move my operations there soon, to be depicted in the “Forbes” magazine as a rising star. So you can imagine, how big will be the opportunities there.”
“I understand you, Pavel. You are young, and you have this attractive feeling, that the world is yours, that the opportunities are unlimited. Look, I am older, I am a loser in comparison with you, but let me tell you about one variable you forget to count in your equation.”
“I really don´t like your tone, Mr. Svejk. Change it, or I am leaving. I have much work to do, and you are stealing my time by telling me this crap. I am not frightened of you, or your mysterious employer. You should note, that the start-up scene is well covered from the high places. So we all here are in fact protected from… questionable efforts like yours, to gain advantages and steal our unique technological inventions. We are important, and the state knows that… including the security structures.
You know, a lot of money is circulating here, right in the air. We all pretend, that this all is a game, that we are just a bunch of clever students, who are playing with technology toys, but the world knows well, what is our real value, including state defense. This is a restricted zone, remember that, and behave yourself according to his fact. We don´t want to be disturbed by any outside influences, so we use the protection from above, for mutual advantages.”
“I know all of that, Pavel. And still, look at me – I am right here, and I am rude to you. So you don´t have to guess twice, where am I coming from. Or do you? You said, that you are a clever student, and I believe it. But on the contrary, you should believe me, that you are the weaker side in this negotiation. You can go away, return to your work, of course, but we know your name, and we won´t let you go so easily to the States. Have you ever heard the expression “brain drain”? Are you so naive, that we will wave you on the airport with our eyes wet, so sad, that you are leaving us, your beloved motherland, who was unfortunately not good enough for you?
No. And that is the reason, why we need to talk. To make our relationships and our mutual future clear. You are a part of it. Accept this fact. That is the message I was told to hand over to you.”
“Impressive, Mr. Svejk. You could be a salesman tomorrow!”
“In fact, I actually was a salesman, friend! That is a completely different world than you know. You live in this air-conditioned paradise, nothing is impossible here, any idea counts, outside world means nothing to you, you are pampered, and you know that well, so you are highly self-confident.
And the style of yours! Your strange dress, your hairstyle… you are the elite of Millenials. And we need Millenials, so we need you. Simple and clear.
What we offer you, is not only some generous investment to support your business. We also offer you a value only a top 1% of the society can taste: the power. You will be able to influence your vicinity directly, and you will taste, what the real life means. You won´t be a puppet like everybody else…”
“This is just boring rubbish! You are not the first, who promises me such things. But I am not interested, and nothing can change that! That is what I told to them, and I am repeating to you: I am not interested! Keep your money and your power, and get out of here!”
“It´s not about what you want, or what you refuse, friend. If you are important, then your freedom shrinks, it belongs to that position. So wake up, you are just a small part of the whole. Sooner or later, they will find a way, how to change your opinion, be assured of that!
But you could save all that problems, just by cooperating with us, just by being clever and choosing the right partner. We need you to promote something unusual between your contemporaries. We will provide influence to you – and you will provide influence to us. We represent the higher interest, so you can fulfill your words about making the world a better place.”
“This really sounds like some action movie about the post-apocalyptic world, where a hero is trying to establish a new epoch of humanity,” Pavel smiled.
“But that is your plan, not ours. This is what you start-ups do. This is your dream, your effort. But you can´t change our world without our approval. We are the strong ones – and things will stay this way. If you will cooperate, you will become one of us, with all related perks and advantages, but that means to follow orders and rules. If you will refuse us, you will become weak and vulnerable to all the vultures out there, who will lead you to the darkness. We are the only trustworthy force, where you can count with the respect, and firm rules, valid for everybody.”
“This is just getting beautiful! And what is this dreamy place, where any human soul can find eternal peace, even money and power?” Pavel joked.
“It´s a good place,” Svejk changed the tone of his voice finally, softening it. “I found my life role there too, and I was a real loser previously. Yes, you could say, that my soul was saved there. So I would like to ask you personally, to think about it. You could find some special values there, even if you don´t believe in them now, and you rely on your professional abilities and technology. But that is not everything in life, you know.
You Millenials are enchanted with technology, with vast possibilities of Internet and communication. But you are losing your soul in all that wires and machines. We offer you a way back to the grounds, where you can find peace and the purpose of life, and these are the crucial values for everybody, regardless of his or her Millenials status.
You Millenials feel pampered and predestined to change the world forever. But isn´t that just an illusion, that somebody inserted into your minds intentionally? They said the same thing about my generation, that we are special, like no generation before, blah blah… and in the end, we were just the same as everybody.
It means young, wild and dumb, so we made a lot of wrong choices, including me. We bought their tale, and we bought all the overpriced stuff they wanted to sell us. We became exactly, what they wanted us to became. We lost our identity, our authenticity. We were fooled. We tried to be different, original, free, fresh… and still, we were just getting mainstream, consumed with opportunism, leaving our ideals and beliefs. It was all just about the money, and the power, always. The rest was just a marketing sauce.
We offer you a real freedom, Pavel. This is the value you won´t find in America, or anywhere else. Wake up from your dream about some augmented reality and the exaggerated importance of the information flow. It just distracts you from the real life, and real values. Real freedom, real happiness and real love.”
“I need to think about this. There can be something truthful in your words,” Pavel admitted.
“You do that. And then, finish your work for today, take off your cyborg glasses and find me in that bar nearby. Let´s have a drink, and let´s have a chat. We have much to discuss. Much work is ahead of us all. Regardless if somebody is dumb, like me, or clever, like you, we are all part of the team, and you should taste this feeling. We share something together. we belong somewhere, we have always a place to go, where we can find a warm embrace, and all your effort will be appreciated properly. This is what I call home.”
Later that evening, Svejk, laying on soft bed in his four star hotel room, made a call.
“So, how it went, Svejk? You failed, as always, I presume? I told the command, to send someone else! So, what are you waiting for, start whining and crying already! That the operational conditions were unexpectedly hard, but you did all you could, for the team, for the higher interests… you see, I know all your excuses in advance!” the First Lieutenant said with scornfulness.
“Honestly, Herr Oberlieutenant… these Millenials are much weaker, than I presumed. They are just a bunch of lonely, lost souls, like my generation was… and we will become their masters too easily. So I am afraid, that this mission was too easy to accomplish, and the command will refuse to give me a medal. I don´t deserve it… this time.”
“And that McKinley operation, Svejk? Also too easy for you?”
“They think, that they will put me away to the canteen, but they don´t realize, that it´s exactly what I wanted, to have full and informal access to the top management,” Svejk said courageously, a little bit drunk. “You all underestimate the power of an experienced salesman like me. We are the real business elite. We rule the business world. Who survives the sales department, who is successful there, he or she has all doors opened, anywhere.”
“Be careful with your words, you fool! The public is not prepared for this kind of information. And what about that poor people in the Surveillance department, who are tapping us now, and soon, they will disappear without a trace, as you warned them!” the First Lieutenant joked, when his subordinate became too serious.
“I am back at the office tomorrow, Herr Oberlieutenant, ready for duty,” Svejk said instead goodbye. “I will take the first train in the morning. After all, what would you do without my help and consultancy? The team must be complete, and with our diversity, we will conquer the military, business and social worlds, in one big offensive! And after today, we have a new asset to use for achieving our goals: the Millenials!”
Download as PDF: Svejk Goes To Millennials by Alan Svejk