“Your invite to connect is inappropriate, beneficial only to you, and tacky. Wow, I cannot wait to let every 26-year-old jobseeker mine my top-tier marketing connections to help them land a job. I love the sense of entitlement in your generation. You’re welcome for your humility lesson for the year. Don’t ever reach out to senior practitioners again and assume their carefully curated list of connections is available to you, just because you want to build your network.”
Yikes. Are you blushing with empathetic embarrassment after reading that? Because I am. Twenty-six-year-old Diana Mekota sent the LinkedIn request heard ’round the world to Kelly Blazek, Cleveland’s “Communicator of the Year.” Blazek responded to the request by berating Mekota with the above along with the fact that she felt Mekota’s request for connection was self-serving and only for networking. But guess what? That is what LinkedIn is for.What makes it even worse is that Blazek actually prides herself on being a source for young job seekers. This is exactly how young people network.
Blazek was on the receiving end of terrible public backlash when the message went viral and she has since apologized. But what do we learn from this? Besides the fact that some people are bullies. Our generations need to find some commonality, some mutual understanding of our differences.
Entitlement of millennials — business people in older generations actually conduct conferences on how to deal with it (us). Millennials are cutthroat, fiercely motivated, tech savvy, and kind of annoying. We are entrepreneurial and start up new ventures much more frequently than those before us. We don’t have the same boundaries as the generations before us because we were born into the social media world of instant communication and technological gratification. We email instead of call, and text instead of email. Some of us don’t know how to say “thank you” or how to follow up on a job interview appropriately. We were raised to think that the world can be ours, that it is owned instead of earned, and that it should be easily achieved.
The thing is though, the economy hasn’t done so well for us. The job search is harder than ever. Technology has its downsides — it takes forever for an automated system to sift through resumes. Competition is tougher than ever because we’re all fighting against other millennials who have similar qualifications. It’s rough out there.
But is it all our fault? Are we the only ones who need to adjust and accommodate? Yes, millennials are entitled, but we’re also the future. We also have the drive, gumption, and creativity to drive business and to really be an asset to a company if given the chance. The net-net is: don’t judge on either side. We can learn from each other. Because, if businesses are going to succeed, we’re going to have to.
If you’re thinking about starting a business or launching into any entrepreneurial venture, it is of utmost importance that you bridge the gap. If you’re older and starting a business, you’ll most likely hire a millennial at some point. If you’re younger, you’ll probably have someone as a client who would prefer an email to a text. Try to see from the other side, use your instincts, and avoid judging someone who might not have come of age in the same professional climate that you did.
Alexandra Saville (@CapitalistaBlog) is the Media and Writing Specialist at Law Street Media. She has experience in the publishing and marketing worlds and started her own publishing company right out of college. Her blogs, The Capitalista and Capitalista Careers, focus on the young and the entrepreneurial.
Alexandra Saville is the Media and Writing Specialist at Law Street Media. She has experience in the publishing and marketing worlds and started her own publishing company right out of college. Her blogs, The Capitalista and Capitalista Careers, focus on the young and the entrepreneurial.