Friday left off with my proclaiming that Millennials aren’t all narcissistic losers. If you intend to be a successful entrepreneur or executive over the next 20 years, now’s the time to jump off the Gen Y bash wagon.
Isn’t it hypocritical to dismiss everyone who’s 18-29 the way your parents did with your generation? And their parents did to them, etc. Mind the Generation Gap before wagging your finger.
A very wise consultant explains it best. All of us over 30 were brainwashed to essentially do as we were told. Gen Y was raised to question authority and believe in the sovereignty of self. Are we dismissive because we’re jealous?
The DSPR Training Program
David and Sam PR’s award-winning culture is built upon the philosophy that someone trained and promoted is more likely to flourish than someone hired from outside. As a result, we have a Training Program not an “intern program.” Semantics? Hardly. Do trainees answer the phones, pick up supplies at Costco and wear the Dunkin’ Donuts Cuppie costume at 5:00 AM for media drops, exactly the same way “interns” would? You betcha’ Marge.
But what trainees also do, that interns don’t, is actively participate in brainstorms. Trainees attend new business pitches. They are assigned to account teams. Trainees take notes at client status meetings. They write press releases. Trainees do critical research for PR and marketing plans while also ensuring the bamboo on my desk is properly watered.
Some trainees are earning college credit and some have just graduated, while others are years out of school needing agency experience and/or changing careers. What all of them crave is a job at DSPR or at least something more impressive on their resume than shifts at The Cheesecake Factory. And they do this for 20-40 hours a week, unpaid, because they know DSPR is as committed to them as they are to us. Don’t be a cynic.
Given the economy, the depth of the trainee applicant pool has been staggering. We’ve had two Thunderbird School of Global Management MBA’s, the former PR Director for a sports team and a program director for a top-rated radio station. We’ve also had honors students, sorority girls, pimply-faced freshman and community college drop-outs(the latter being one of our best.)
In almost five years, more than 1,500 resumes have been screened for our training program.
I have interviewed easily 400 of them.
We have accepted 120.
Several have stayed a year, one lasted two hours. Elena just couldn’t cope with picking up bagels at 7:00 AM for a big meeting. You may hang the honorary Gen Y Stereotype Ribbon around her neck, if you must.
Eight of that 120 have been promoted to full time, salaried positions — four of whom are DSPR’s current team. Two of those have been with us since we founded the studio in 2005 and another is soon celebrating three years. The associate most recently promoted, after 10 months as a trainee, is a whip smart, sassy 23 year old woman from Michigan, who’s so composed she could take the mound in the ninth inning of the 7th Game with the bases loaded, none out and mow them down.
They are dedicated, diligent, reliable and talented workers. Compassionate, communicative, collaborative, creative souls and yes, some have tattoos.
The number that means the most to you are “The 20” or so who we would have hired had the timing been right. Think of it like the list in LOST without the whole break apart in mid-air thing. We help trainees write their resumes, compose their cover letters, locate and interview for jobs. For the great ones we call upon relationships to open doors and make proactive reference calls to prospective employers.
Our Training Program alumni are currently with Ketchum, Domino’s Pizza Corporate, Go Daddy, IBM, the office of a US Congressman and The Phoenix Chamber of Commerce. They are working, or attending graduate school, in Phoenix, New York, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Denver, Dallas, Las Vegas, Ann Arbor and Cincinnati. My apologies to anyone I missed.
So if all of these great young professionals were born between 1982 and 1992, maybe Gen Y is not so much a generation of whiners as a generation being whined about?
Tomorrow we will look at how these trainees are selected.