Why Would a Millennial Try to Pass as a Gen-Xer?

Agencies, Clients Aren't Quite Ready to See Us as Managers

By Published on .

Sarah Ewing Sarah Ewing
The advertising industry is now crawling with millennials. Yet, without age knowledge, can you find us in your sea of employees? In contrast to my colleague Kelly Eidson's post regarding the advantages of youth, I feel a millennial must blur her age to succeed.

We live in a world wherein agencies value millennials' ability to fuel digital advertising growth yet do not trust us with their strategic checkbook. Americans, after all, associate business intellect with age: The greater your age, the greater your business intellect and vice versa. As the oldest of my generation start to assume management positions, we feel our success depends upon our ability to appear to be young and uncharacteristically tech-saavy Gen-X account managers rather than older but slightly less managerially experienced millennials.

Few agencies want to tell their client that a 26-year-old is managing the account, regardless of that person's education and experience. We use "Wizard of Oz" tactics to conceal ourselves behind the veils of technology. It is more difficult to detect an account manager's age if he or she is never seen. Yet we cannot remain that way forever. At some point, managers have to meet their clients.

As a result, advertising agencies need to train us on how to position our youth to our clients. Advertising agencies also need to support us and push us into the spotlight. We aren't just any account managers. We are millennial account managers. We are helping to drive a digital revolution, and your advertising account checkbook and strategy couldn't be in more capable hands.
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