The millennial “Girls” in HBO’s series are confused young adults. And like every generation, millennials have a mixed reputation. They’re often viewed as feeling entitled to success; they’re mediocre writers with short attention spans and poor critical thinking skills. They’ve been coddled by “umbrella” parents and constantly need to have their hands held.
Steve Earl of PR Week believes the 21-25 year old employee has to overcome the millennials’ reputation for feeling entitled. In his blog post “On PR First Job Tips and Millennials,” he wrote, “First and foremost it is you that have to make career development happen, not your employer. If you’re not driven to succeed, expect to spin your wheels for a long time. It’s a two-way street, so don’t sit there bitching… Be ever-keen, eager to take on more responsibility and ever-ready to help others out.”
On the other hand, in a PR Week article, “Stop Bashing Millennials, Especially in PR,” Scott Signore wrote that older generations shouldn’t look down on the new generation of employees. “It’s become something of a sport for social media and business types to beat up on the youngsters joining the ranks of PR: They’re too self-absorbed…,” he wrote. “…They don’t think long-term. They feel entitled…I say knock it off with the youth-bashing, folks.” He goes on to say, “…the younger people in our ranks continually challenge our managers, and me, to be open-minded and fluid in our approach to public relations and social media. They help keep us fresh, and a step ahead of our more complacent peers.”
While the PR industry is experiencing faster-than-average growth, there are many new graduates competing for a limited number of jobs. Young people have to find ways to present themselves as unique and stronger than their competition. Some will struggle to overcome their shortcomings while others are creatively brilliant and driven to succeed. But isn’t that true of every generation? So my note to PR’s next generation: Don’t let us baby boomers upset you; you have so much to offer. But you’ll have to prove it, every day. Your thoughts?