This post originally appeared in PRWeek.
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. They don’t think long-term. They feel entitled. They ignore some forms of punctuation – and overuse others!!!!
I say knock it off with the youth-bashing, folks. Every older generation since the beginning of time has looked down their respective noses at the shenanigans of “young people.” That’ll never change.
But you can. Take your resentment, if you have any, and convert it into opportunity.
As the CEO of a growing PR firm with 60+ employees and 50+ clients, I can say with a straight face that 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.
No, they don’t know everything, and yes, they sometimes act as if they do. But ultimately I hire people who are confident, connected, willing and able to convert new thinking into tangible business results for clients. I don’t care if those people are 24 or 54, if they’re recent grads or new granddads. It’s the results that matter.
The beauty of an uncensored organization is that everyone is encouraged to have a voice. But my advice to the younger crowd is to be careful how you use it. See, just because you’re encouraged to voice an opinion doesn’t mean you should, and it certainly doesn’t mean that opinion will be valid, helpful or actionable.
And that can cause a slight disconnect, since the younger set is accustomed to saying what’s on its mind on social channels – often without the filters we older folks have learned over the years to prevent unhelpful thoughts from escaping our mouths.
Here’s the good and bad news for millennials: A company like mine is open-minded and willing to embrace new ideas. You’ll get a fair hearing. The bad news? Good ideas and common sense win the day, and if you possess neither, your PR career will be short.
I’ll never bash young people ready to take on the world, and you shouldn’t either. But neither should I – or you – shoulder the burden of working with people who can’t bring results.