“I bet there were people in the Bible walking around complaining about kids today.” Roger Stirling, Mad Men.
Whatever generation we’re from, I think we’re all probably guilty of underestimating or misunderstanding the next lot of folks coming through.
It’s human nature to think you’re part of a golden generation and that everything behind it is a useless, lazy, feckless waste of space that “wouldn’t have happened in our day”.
Roger Stirling had it right in the excellent TV series Mad Men, because people have probably been moaning about the younger generation since time immemorial.
Having said that, I think youngsters today are demonised in a way like never before. Working for a local authority we see it firsthand in the media every day: hoodies, broken Britain, ‘exams much easier than they used to be’ and ‘pointless degrees’.
On top of that, the current recession means that graduates looking to start a career in PR are probably facing the toughest market for years – certainly much harder than when I was starting out.
That’s why I decided to set up a paid internship that would help someone take that vital first step, gain some practical experience and spend some time in a busy workplace.
In return we’d get an extra pair of hands in the office, tap into some new thinking around communications and access that precious commodity of youth: enthusiasm.
That was the deal, but with all my stereotypes fully formed I have to admit that I approached the interview day with more than a few nerves.
How wrong I was.
I was totally blown away by all the candidates sent to me by the two universities and every single one was more than capable of doing the job. It was one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever have to make because each candidate was so confident, enthusiastic, passionate and interesting to talk to.
All the people I saw had done bags of detailed research, knew their subject inside out and were all communications experts in their own right. Even more annoyingly they were also funny, relaxed, urbane and polite.
The biggest problem facing the industry is now is finding enough jobs for these highly skilled graduates. The future’s in good hands, the kids are alright.
*This blog first appeared on the CIPR North East website