Britten Wolf has become a great friend after meeting through Twitter and maintaining weekly calls about PR, social media and how to best take over the world one day. We cannot recall the first time we discussed the opportunity for a guest post, but I’m excited the day has finally arrived. My conversations with Britten bring new perspective to my everyday and leave me motivated to push on in this thing they call the real world.

The world has changed. Cable television, the internet and smartphones have transformed the way we live and do business. Today’s world moves fast. We, as millennials, have been raised in the fast lane and totally immersed in this technology since we were born.

We helped our parents, the baby boomers, set the time on their VCRs, showed them how to use email and explained to them that Twitter is more than a place to tell people what you are doing. They have had to adapt and learn to use this new technology. This technology has come into their lives at an alarming rate, bringing a learning curve and skepticism for it.

New technology brings new expectations. We expect we will never get lost because of the GPS in our cars. We expect that we will never be out of contact because our smartphones connect us to anyone with our phone number, email address or Twitter handle. We expect everything to move as fast as a Google search, but it doesn’t.

There have been numerous articles, from a variety of sources including CNN and the Harvard Business Review, pointing out the differences between the millennials and the baby boomers. The common thread between them seems to be millennials’ sense of entitlement. How we feel that we deserve things we have not earned. How we expect employers to cater to our needs. How we expect the perfect job.

Frankly, it’s bullshit.

First, let’s take a step back and look at how we were raised. From day one, our parents told us that we could be whatever we wanted to be. Games rewarded participants, not winners. Our parents said that good grades would get us into a good college, and a good college would get us a good job. In the system that raised us, the sky was the limit. They conditioned failure out of us.

Now, let’s fast-forward to the real world. Let’s look at today’s expectations and look at what employers expect from us. They want the same today as they wanted from our parents before us. Do more with less. Do more for less. Work longer hours than ever before. These expectations aren’t new to the workforce, but we are.

Hit face-first with the harsh realities of the real world, we are quick to find that the jobs we were lead to believe we’d have, aren’t there. There are fewer jobs than ever before and the competition for those jobs is fierce. This game only rewards winners; there is no prize for second-place. Because of this, thousands of us college-educated millennials are under-employed or sit without a job, gamed by the system that raised us.

A lucky few of us make the cut. We’ve worked non-paid internships and started careers at a reduced-rate, just to get into the game. Employers want more for less, and we understand that. It’s Business 101. Employers expect us to work long hours. We can do that too. We are enthusiastic, optimistic and ready to work, energized by the fact that we have a job.

With our smartphones, laptops and iPads, we can work from anywhere and at any time. We are always online, reading, researching and learning as much as we can. We are reaching out, connecting and networking with friends, peers and experts. These new connections give us new ways of learning and enable us to gain knowledge faster than ever before. This knowledge coupled with technology empowers us to make change.

Change not only our industries, but change our lives and change the world.

To bring about this change, we feel entitled to use tools like the internet and social media at work. It is our lifeline to our connections and the world’s knowledge. We’re always on, so we feel entitled to start later than 8am, because we are working far longer than when quitting time rolls around at 5pm. Our educational system taught us that everyone has a valuable opinion and we should work as a team. So we feel entitled to have opinions and to speak up with them. Examples like these are endless, but the bottom line is that our entitlement stems from how we were raised.

We were raised in today’s technology. We were raised in a system without failure. We were raised to think we are valued.

But, we cannot blame technology, the economy or a system for where we are today.

We have to blame ourselves, both millennials and baby boomers alike.

As millennials, we need to wake up. We have been living a lie for the past twenty plus years. There are no guarantees of jobs after college or even jobs at all. Don’t blame your parents. They couldn’t foresee where we are today. During their time, the sky was the limit and it’s what they instilled into us. That optimism is still there, and we can still change the world. It’s just going to be longer and harder than ever before.

Baby Boomers need to accept reality. We, as millennials, are just as they were at this age: young, eager and at times, reckless. They need to capitalize on our technological savvy, invigorate themselves with our fresh ideas and renew themselves with our optimism. They also need to be prepared to pay us for it. We can be just as loyal and hard working as the generations before us. There will be some catering and some concessions, but this isn’t millennial entitlement, it’s progress.

Britten is a public relations and social media professional, somewhere in Middle America. He is the editor of DED Music blog and loves Manchester United FC, pints of Guinness and his friends. Find him on Twitter at @brittenwolf.

This student always said ‘Peace out states’

Meet my friend Sarah. As seen on CNN Money. Yep, she’s that cool. Sarah wasn’t finding a teaching position in the U.S. so what did she do? She said ‘Peace out states’ and headed to a country where she knew one person. Hello bravery!

Sarah will be teaching literature in Kuwait for a two-year commitment. She’s someone we always knew would find her way to a teaching opportunity abroad – she lives for new cultures, people and experiences. And because of that I consider her a “student always.”

What I’ve learned from Sarah:

  • You can’t let the situation define you. If life isn’t playing out as you had hoped, don’t give in. Create the situation you imagined.
  • Technology takes away the distance. (Through Facebook, email and text messages I feel like we’ve talked our standard amount for the last week.)
  • Jump into the unknown. Forget a comfort zone. Your experience and confidence in your abilities will help you land on your feet.

I’m excited to follow Sarah’s adventure over the next two years and looking forward to sharing a guest post from her soon.

What have you learned from time abroad? Could you pick up and move to another country like this fearless gal?


Thursday Thankful List

I’m borrowing an idea from a pretty cool gal who shares a list of things she’s thankful for each week. Andi Teggart reminds her readers that among the tough days there’s always a silver lining. Here’s a look at mine…

Friends who motivate you

Aluminum water bottles – I never need to make ice again!

Living a hop, skip and jump away from Chicago’s lakefront

People who share your mindset

Life with fewer migraines – only one lil guy this week!

Dance class

Tears of happiness

Fun PR campaigns – one includes a hot air balloon and another has a rockin’ pitch for Jimmy Fallon

Checking in simply for the sake of checking in (from people, not social networks!)

What are you thankful for this week?

Keep the content coming this summer


With warm weather and sunshine, on top of the regular workload/everyday tasks, it’s difficult to keep up with blog posts. Who wants to stare at a computer screen when sun and fun are calling your name? I compiled a quick list of ways I plan to keep my blog updated and engaging throughout the summer months.

Take your writing to the beach – (or park, pool, baseball field, etc.) On a recent sunny Chicago weekend I wanted to get in a run by the lake in addition to a few blog posts. I packed up a small backpack with a notebook and pens (Important! Because the first one ran out of ink ; ) and started my run. After a break for stretching, I set up shop and cranked out two posts while enjoying the beautiful weather.

Look to summer topics for inspiration – I have an upcoming post in the works about flowers that bloomed in my parent’s front yard (and have been blooming since the 1940s). I’m not quite sure where I’m going with the post yet, but the story is too unique to pass up. Children catching fireflies, your favorite baseball team, a family BBQ… What will inspire you this summer?

Revisit past posts – As we enter wedding season, the guest post I shared on Jason Mollica’s blog is top of mind. A wedding is an outlet that consistently offers life lessons. Throughout the weddings I will be attending this summer, I wonder what new lessons will arise. Did you make predictions for 2011 that you can write a check in post about? How about a “then and now” post for any topics where your opinion has changed since you first posted?

Invite friends to guest blog – If time is not on your side look to others to provide the content. I even recommend looking outside your professional network and to your friends. I realized a friend from college was living the title of my blog, having just finished grad school. He wrote movie reviews for our college newspaper and is the type of person who can secure 30 comments on a Facebook status so I wanted to provide him an outlet to share his writing. I look forward to offering up this opportunity to anyone who’s interested (if that includes you, just say the word!)

How do you keep the content coming? I’m always looking for fresh ideas so please send ‘em my way!

Getting caught… or not


If you thought you wouldn’t get caught, what would you do?

After the resignation of Jim Tressel from Ohio State University, this question should be top of mind, not only for those affiliated with the NCAA, but for those in the communications world as well. In the PR industry, we pride ourselves on truthfully sharing the messages of our clients with the media and consumers.

Or do we?

Did the execs at Burson-Marsteller question the decision to facilitate Facebook’s smear campaign? They must have thought they wouldn’t get caught, right?

Take this idea down to personal relationships. I’m confident President Clinton didn’t think he would get caught – who would jeopardize the presidency?

All of these instances have turned into teaching examples. What happened to the people who didn’t get caught – what lessons have we missed?

It’s fascinating how the negative news stories come so easily, but the positive examples, which can provide equally important learning opportunities, may fall under the radar.

Have you taken direction from a client, supervisor or friend for a task you viewed as less than becoming of your profession, or self? Have you given that direction? Take time to reflect on the decisions you’ve made. It could be as minor as inflating numbers or fabricating interest. But the really big errors of judgment had to start somewhere – you can’t go from 0 to “what were you thinking?!”

If you maintain a straightforward position from the beginning, it won’t be a problem when the potentially dangerous opportunities fall into your lap. Turns out, you’ll be the person not in that situation in the first place.

Don’t take the first offer

During graduation season I wanted to offer a piece of advice students might not hearing often: you don’t have to take the first offer.


If I took my first offer I would have been a club promoter. A great job for many, but for a girl who prefers jeans and converse sneakers to a mini skirt and stilettos, not so much. After hearing several no’s and nothing at all’s I started to worry. A degree from a top university and three internships was apparently not enough. I was convinced I needed to leave college with a position in hand. After all that hard work, what would I have to show for it?


Fortunately, at just the right time, I met the Senior Vice President of JSH&A Public Relations and was offered at internship. Looking back on my mindset I’ve realized I had it all wrong. Go after the position because it’s the right one for you, not just because you need one.


Competition for jobs and internships is very tough. I’ve said it before: if you walk across the stage this May without a clue as to what is next, it’s okay.


Seek challenges.

Forget about other people’s perception of you.

Keep learning… and the pieces will fall into place.