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Dallas Morning News Article : "Millenials need to get real, bosses say" » 05_11_2008

Millennials need to get real, bosses say

Dallas Morning News by Cheryl Hall

Millennails. Can't live with'em. Can't live without 'em. That's what many employers tell me about the youngest generation in the workplace.

Advertising executive Owen Hannay, for one, has placed a moratorium on hiring people fresh, out of college unless they've done a work-related internship or have an advanced degree.

That's quite a shift for the 45-year-old principal of Slingshot LLC, whose Dallas agency is known for its leading-edge marketing.

It's not that millennials lack the creative genius or technological know-how tht he's looking for. Far from it, he says. It's more that they lack the real-world grounding it takes to deal with responsibility, accountablility and setbacks. "They wipe out on life as often as they wipe out on work itself," says Mr. Hannay, who let go more than a dozen millennials from his 130-person staff over the course of 2006.

"That's when he stopped hiring them. "They get an apartment and a kitty, and they can't cope. Work becomes an ancillary casualty. They're good kids with talent who want to succeed. That's what makes me nuts."

He turned to Dallasite Cathie Looney, a nationally known speaker and generational expert, to help him understand this age group, the oldest of whom are 27 and just entering the workforce. He's still not hiring them, but she's tecahing him and his largely Gen X and late boomer staff how to work better with the younger folks.

"The biggest thing she does is help us understand where these kids are coming from," Mr. Hannay says. "Their orientation is so different from Gen Xers, who were the latchkey kids and are self-starters. These kids are fabulous at building teams, but they're challenged by responsibility and accountability."

All true, says Mrs. Looney, a Certified Reality Therapist and retired Director of Children and Family Ministry at Saint Michael adn All Angels Episcopal Church. And many employers are backing away from hiring them because they're so high maintence.

"They've been overparented, overindulged and overprotected," she says. "They haven't experienced that much failure, frustration, and pain. We wre so obsessed with protecting and promoting their self-esteem that they crumble like cookies when they discover the world doesn't revolve around them. They get into the real world and they're shocked.

"you have to be very careful in how you talk to them because they take everthing as criticism."