The Slash Generation


I spend a lot of time with Millennials. I knew many when they were teenagers. Some younger. I have used smart, paid interns for over a decade. My first intern now works at Oakley. Another intern that worked for me in the past recently got married. His new bride works for Oakley as well and reports to my first intern.  Yes pretty crazy. I have written about some ideas in this area in a post called Why Graduates Are Looking for Jobs in All the Wrong Places.

I recently went to a New Business Conference up in LA sponsored by Think LA. One of the closing panelists was Mike Sheldon the CEO of Deutsch LA a very large and successful agency.

He shared a comment that resonated with me. Not totally sure about the context but he talked about using the power of account coordinators/slash video people and using their passion to get things done at the agency. As I remember they used them for research or interviews. They were hired to do one thing but their passion skills were also being utilized in other ways. That only happened because they were recognized. Somebody saw the slash skills.

Now CEO’s of major agencies rarely talk about harnessing the power of entry level people but that has been something I have doing for years. Maybe I live closer to them. I bet Mike has children. I bet he has a daughter. I could be totally wrong.

I believe that we can do great things by capturing the power of the Slash Generation. It is a win win opportunity. Many young people have a hard time entering the work force and many employers often try to evaluate young people by old rules and need to change their hiring lens. I am not talking about the advertising industry here. It has always embraced outliers to a degree. Few companies today would hire somebody with no college degree that studied calligraphy like Steve Jobs.

I believe that the Slash Generation also needs to bring their slash skills to the forefront more and not neuter them. Conformity shouldn’t be the aspiration of youth. It is the compromise of later life. Forget your parent’s resume template. That is from the Old Normal. The resume, bio, curriculum vitae of the Old Normal has to become an infographic of you. Can’t do an infographic then make it highly visual. Young people don’t read and old people are tired of reading. It should outline both your achievements and your passions. Do not suppress you passions. Photography, building computers, being a DJ can be valuable to the right company. If companies don’t get it they aren’t right for you.

If companies want to hire their potential future success based on the criteria of the Old Normal they will be left behind. Company growth doesn’t come from rigidity. It comes from adapting and reinvention. Who better to reinvent you that the future generation?

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Watch: Networking Tips for Young People.


Graduating Into a Recession

The New Glass Ceiling.

Why Young People Shouldn’t Try to Find a Job.

Networking Tips for Young People Who Hate to Network.

Why MBA Schools Need to Teach a Course On What To Do When You Get Fired.


12 thoughts on “The Slash Generation

  1. That is a very important insight, Hank!
    I’ll never forget when I was a creative department secretary, trying to work my way into a copywriting position. One of my trial projects was a small space ad for a women’s college. The brief was very adamant that we not highlight the fact that it was all women, because that was perceived as a negative by the client and the agency. As a 20-something in the 70s I knew that an all-female college would be very appealing to those who were embracing the new liberation movement. I got pushback from the Old Normal account people, but I persisted and they let me try my idea.
    The college had to pull the ad because it got too many applications! From that moment on, my agency stopped insisting on the Old Normal and began to listen to us baby advertisers. We knew the market and knew how to talk to them. (And, of course, I got my promotion.)
    The Old Normal seems to change every seven years or so, and keeping up with these changes is critical. I hope your wisdom will be taken to heart!

  2. Chris Marocchi

    Great post Hank. I’m just coming off participating in a Gen Y session at Product Camp, let by two CSUF students. They did a great job, and your post reinforces the skills and passion I witnessed in their presentation. I’m going to forward your post to both of them.

  3. This post has actually given me some encouragement. Right now, I am applying to graduate schools, but I was also offered a full time job as a manager at a clothing store I’ve worked at since I was in high school. I was getting discouraged that taking a job there would deplete my chances of possibly going into a profession in book publishing. In actuality, I’ll be adding a slash to my personal profile. Yes, I like to read and have a knack for syntax, but hey, I have great customer service skills, fashion sense, and can put on “bossy pants” when I need to.

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