It’s a Millennial Thing. You Just Couldn’t Understand.

Here’s a somewhat soapy story that for whatever reason didn’t shock me: A recent college grad applies for a PR job, has a so-so interview, lays a fat egg on the writing test, and then goes psycho e-ballistic on the interviewer (who is having his own issues) and, by extension, the prospective employer. Bonus: this linked yarn contains a subtle threat of regional blackballing!

I can’t even say I fault the young woman because her attitude reflects present-day society’s increasingly pervasive philosophy that if you want something bad enough, it should be yours, simply because you want it and, ipso facto, deserve it; your talent, ability and knowledge are secondary factors, if they’re even factors to be considered at all.

The core issue here is what will be more valued going forward: competency or confidence? The two appear to be on the verge of becoming mutually exclusive.

At the end of the day, though, this tale—and what’s going on not just in PR but in media in general—is mostly just another battle playing itself out in another classic generational war. Hey, “Jane”, I waged these battles myself back in my day, so I feel ya, boo. However, my Gen X workplace struggles against the dreaded Baby Boomers somehow felt a bit more noble, purpose-driven, constructive and, ultimately, uplifting. But what do I know? I mean, seriously: what do I know? I can’t even remember what I had for breakfast yesterday. Getting old is a heck of a drug.

On an unrelated note, if you didn’t see The Daily Show Tuesday night, Jon Stewart dressed down CNN for relying increasingly on Twitter and other unsubstantiated, subjective sources for its news coverage. I won’t turn this into a morality play or a lecture on the merits and demerits of journalism in a Web 2.0 world. Instead, I’ll kindly point out that CNN’s behavior provides a great example of how powerful social media has become as a method of shaping perception, getting attention and securing coverage. As a PR person who traffics in truth-telling (it’s a curse, I know) on behalf of his clients, this continuing development is exciting. But less ethical people in the PR sphere should be careful not to abuse this method of communication, because the backlash justifiably can be swift and severe.

Posted by Joe Paone

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3 Responses to It’s a Millennial Thing. You Just Couldn’t Understand.

  1. Audrey Gray says:

    I think we GenXers have always been more likely to second-guess ourselves, to see multiple perspectives, to question what gives us the right to claim our skill or credibility, to soft sell. Sure, we could use a confidence boost, and maybe the Millenials will show us how to achieve a bit more through strutting, but we’ve got a hard-earned authenticity that is valued in the real business world where things actually have to get done. (Who here is turning 40 in a month?! That’d so be me.)

  2. castercomm says:

    Audrey, I couldn’t agree with you more. That describes both you and me to a T…

    I can’t believe we’ll both be 40 by this time next year. I never pictured 40-year-olds as people I’d ever have liked to be around… or be, for that matter. But it’s not bad, really.

  3. […] colleague recently wrote a post called It’s a Millenial Thing, You Just Couldn’t Understand detailing the exploits of a young, aspiring PR jobseeker who basically went nutty on the person […]

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