October 3, 2012
As one of the 46 million Americans referred to as a “Gen X’er,” I often become weary from the media’s over-analyzing of the needs, wants and desires of our predecessors, the Baby Boomers, and our successors, the Millennials (Generation Y), while my generation is all but ignored.
Seventy-two million Boomers born between 1946 and 1964 comprise the largest number of births in a generation. Their children, the Millennials, born between 1982 and 2001, make up close to 90 million births in a generation.
These are numbers that keep advertisers and marketers up at night thinking of ways to appease and entice these potential consumers.
What I find most interesting about these two generations is: While statistics show that more than 10,000 Baby Boomers will reach the age of 65 every day between now and 2030, Millennials are simultaneously entering the workforce at a rate of about 3.4 million per year.
So who do you think has been mentoring, teaching and guiding these Millennials as the Baby Boomers set off for Arizona? You got it — Gen X.
Within the workplace I’ve managed Millennial staff members and, for nearly a decade, I have taught hundreds of Millennial students who want to have a career in public relations. I truly love working with this generation and find that they are eager and willing to learn and grow within the profession as long as you are willing to be honest, engaging and communicative with them.
In the classroom, I am transparent and clear about my course goals. Specifically, I inform my students that my job is to prepare them for success within the PR profession. In all of my PR courses, I set forth several learning outcomes for my students:
As students yearn for leadership, guidance, structure and transparency, I provide a detailed roadmap for my courses and explain how and why what I teach them will be useful in the “real world.” The ultimate measure of success for me is when my students write to tell me that they used tactics from my class to successfully land internships and jobs.
Through the years as a professor, my interactions with Millennial students led me to realize that they needed more mentoring. So I’ve spent many hours counseling students and graduates about how to find a job, how to network, how to land an internship and the like.
As a result, I’ve created a Facebook fan page, Your PRMentor, and I use my Twitter account to provide advice and guidance about the PR profession and to share internship and career opportunities with them. I’ve found that the more often I can help serve as a willing resource for this generation of PR pros, the more likely our profession will become the strategic management function that it sets out to be.