An Excerpt on Entitlement, Millenials and Fashion Options

The below is taken from Peter Shankman’s blog. Mr. Shankman is a very highly respected and regarded expert in the fields of Customer Service, Social Media, Marketing, Advertising and PR. What he has to say typically encourages dialogue and debate. We feel what he has to say in this blog post is spot on. We wanted to share it since we deal with a lot of young people in our business. It is excellent advice. (WARNING: May contain language offensive to some.)

by Peter Shankman –

Quick background on this post: I appeared on FOX Business last week as part of a panel commenting on a new study showing that a fair number of hiring managers believe that millennials don’t have basic skills needed to get their first job out of college. I was joined by communications strategist Rachel Dealto, and representing the millennials, a smart CEO of a startup called Sumpto, Ben Kosinski. Before the segment, Ben and I chatted, and even though we had some differing views on how college grads should apply for a job, I was impressed by him and the company he founded. Anyhow, the segment aired, and it was a fun, lively debate. Today, a week later, I get a Google alert on my name – A blog on the website Bostinno had gone live and mentioned me – The title was “Dear Baby Boomers: Millennials don’t suck.” I was surprised to be mentioned, because I never said they did. My bestemployees have all been millennials. The Bostinno post basically said that I just don’t get the way the “new world” works because I expect college grads to want to make an excellent first impression, and I’m old. (For the record, I’m NOT a baby boomer, I was born in the early 70s.) Anyhow, I watched the comments on the article come in, and it prompted me to write my comment, pasted below.

I have no issue with millennials, or boomers, or any other generalization of a generation. There are stars and idiots in every age group. What I DO have a problem with, and always will? Entitlement.

So I offer below, the comment I posted on the article. When I finally clicked “submit,” I realized it wasn’t so much a comment as a full-on blog post, and I’m proud of it. As always, I’d like your thoughts in the comments, if you so desire. And as always again, thank you for reading. 🙂

The most annoying thing here is that the comments (via the direction of the article) have mostly centered around clothing. That’s SO not the point. (Lengthy comment coming up. Apologies in advance.)

The point is this – I don’t care what you wear to the office, and I don’t really care how/where you get your work done, so long as I can trust you to in fact, get it done. Coming out of college means this: You’re just starting out, and to get huge, you need to do two things: You need to earn the trust of whomever hires you, and you need to pay a price to do so. If you base the experience you’ll have right out of school on what happened to Zuckerberg, you’ll be in for a rude awakening.

I went to High School of Performing Arts – We were all “awesome” actors/musicians/artists in our respective Junior High Schools, all the stars of our middle schools. When we got to LaGuardia HS, the first thing were told was a massive smack-down: That we probably wouldn’t make it as a successful actor/musician/artist, and while we should definitely continue to hone our craft because we had enough talent to get into the school, we more than likely weren’t going to become the next breakout megastar. And that was PRICELESS advice. With the exception of Marlon Wayans and Omar Epps, my high school graduating class of 1990 went on to college, and all live their lives in tons of different professions – But we all had to pay our dues – in unpaid college internships (I worked midnight-8am as a security guard to make money so I could take an unpaid photojournalism internship), in first jobs that paid shit, where we got coffee and filed papers as we leaned the ropes… So we could move up. Some people stay on that path and achieve happiness within the corporate world, while others, like me, take the risk and go out on their own, with the foundation of what those years of dues-paying taught us. It’s nothing new – it’s a system that’s been in place for hundreds of years. And it works because of one simple fact: When you get out of college, no matter your GPA, no matter how brilliant you think you are, YOU DON’T KNOW EVERY FREAKING THING YET.

Want to launch a startup, go public, and make billions right out of college? GO FOR IT!! That’s the power of the dream, and I’ll wholeheartedly support anyone who takes the risk. The problem I have is when that person assumes that it should just “happen,” because they saw Zuck or whomever do it. That’s like the mediocre HS basketball player expecting to be drafted as a sophomore because ONE PERSON in a MILLION did it. And THAT was the story on FOX – That a study showed that today’s college graduates are lacking in the fundamentals, including the fundamental of humility, a must if you’re ever going to succeed in anything you attempt.

At the end of the day, no matter what path you take, the key to success is working hard, volunteering to do the shit jobs no one else wants, and an understanding that success tends to come most easily to those who bust their ass to get it.

Insofar as what you wear? Well, I had a boss back in the beginning of my career, Lou Lamoriello, who told me that I should always dress like I’ll happen to meet the most important person in the world that day. While I rarely wear a suit now, you can bet your ass that when I’m meeting someone important, someone more established, who’s been gracious enough to take time out of their day to grant me a few minutes? Well, I’m going to pay them respect by caring enough to present myself well. Even if the first thing out of their mouth is “Take off that fucking tie!” (Which has happened,) I’ve simply NEVER gone wrong by dressing up – It implies respect. And that’s sorely lacking in this world today – from the world as a whole. Not just millennials. From everyone. And if 30 people apply for a job, and you’re the only one who takes the time to respect the position, well, you’ll get the job because you positively stood out. It’s about first impressions and presentation. Why wouldn’t you want to stand out?

Sorry for the length of this comment, but I wanted to clear up any misconceptions. Ironically, I happen to think Ben is on to something with his startup, and I mentioned that twice during the FOX piece. A fact conveniently left out of your article.

I was serious about reaching out to me when you’re next in NYC, Smit. I look forward to it.


-Peter Shankman

PS: FYI, Boston connection: I’m a proud Boston University Graduate, who wore a tie on his graduation day. What happened? I wound up spending ten random minutes one-on-one with our commencement speaker, Ross Perot, who gave me a card and told me to call him if I ever wanted a job. That tie is now my lucky tie. I still have it.

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