Millennials Have Gotten a Bad Rap in Our Industry

Hardworking Young People Are an Asset to Your Agency

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Bart Cleveland
Bart Cleveland
I have a couple of creative teams that are fresh out of school. They make me love my job because of the amazing attitude they have about learning. They are big sponges soaking in everything they can from their seniors. The growth I have seen in these young people, over a relatively short period of time, makes me feel very smart for hiring them. They are stars shining brightly.

Many of our star employees were hired immediately after they graduated. Several were interns with the agency while attending school. There is a huge benefit to hiring the young that has nothing to do with affordability. It's about attitude.

Much has been written about millennials that has been less than encouraging to we "more experienced" folks. Corporations are hiring consultants to teach them how to deal with a new generation that doesn't like the word, "no."

Personally, I am glad that I didn't grow up in the generation that played in a Little League where everyone got a trophy and no team won or lost, only to have real life later supply the brutal lesson that if everyone gets a trophy, it's not worth holding a door open with. Still, I never worried about millennials working for me because I figured if I raised my kids in the real world and let them skin their knees to learn how to survive in it, so did others.

I was right.

I have a hard working, practical and genuinely responsible group of millennials working for me. They are not crybabies who don't like to be told what is expected of them. They respond to guidance, structure, mentoring and supervision in a refreshingly positive way. They can handle the truth as long as it's delivered with respect and encouragement. (Which is the way all instruction should be delivered.)

Granted, millennials were coddled by their parents. Yes, I am guilty of coddling more than I want to admit. But compare the Woodstock generation to the iPod generation and you will see that we are two peas in a pod. Both groups are motivated to make the world a better, safer, cleaner place to live. There is no way we're not going to work together beautifully.

So I don't buy the bad rap given to the millennial generation. If you ask me it came from an experience with a few bad apples. The same can be said of my own generation. My dad thought we were going to burn the world down. But the lessons he taught me remained in my head, even as the long hair on it drove him crazy.

This is what I see in the young people that work for me. They were taught to work hard and be responsible. They take a great deal of pride in their work and they will blow you away with brilliance with a little encouragement and support. If your experience is different, I suspect that you just have bad apples. Toss 'em. There are plenty of good ones in the basket.

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