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Posted: August 03, 2012

Eight ways to help the youngest job seekers

...and six offers of free career assistance

John Heckers

I’m 56 years old (although I still look like a callow youth). I hear members of my generation and even Gen X cursing about the Millennial Generation. I know some great Millennials and some useless ones, but I can say the same of every generation.

I was thinking about two things around this today. One is the 25 percent-plus unemployment rate among young adults. And the second is the negativity that just being between 18 and 25 can generate among those of us who are older, although I’m not sure we’re tons wiser. I have a few thoughts on how we can help them in a positive way, and an offer to make to the Millennials for my own help.

1). Give them a chance. My experience with Millennial employees has been, on the whole, positive. Give them a job and let them run with it. Guide them, but don’t micromanage. You might be surprised at what they can do.

2). Advocate for them. Millennials mostly don’t know the ropes yet. Neither did I when I was their age, and I had a ton of advantages from my dad being a politician. Be a strong advocate for younger adults on their first or second real job when they mess up, as they will…as we ALL will and did.

3). Try to remember. I’ve managed through four generations and more. I came into management quite young, so I managed some Silent Generation older men and women. Then I managed the Boomers of my generation. Then the Gen Xers. Now the Millennials. Now, I wasn’t around when the Silents were young, so I can’t speak to them, but I can speak for Boomers and Gen Xers. Everything we say about Millennials being arrogant, impolite, entitled, slackers and so on has been said about every generation. In fact, Socrates said something very similar over 2,000 years ago. You were young once. Now they are. Remember.

4). Have a sense of humor about it. I know it is annoying when a younger person thinks they have the world all figured out. But so did we all at that age. Quietly and, to yourself, chuckle a bit. After all, they’re going to get the hard lessons in life just as you did. Let them revel in their illusions for a while and have fun with it.

5). Encourage their dreams, no matter how foolish you think they are. Every great person had a really foolish dream. I can imagine a young German boy talking about flying rockets that would go to the moon and getting laughed at. Every dream is foolish — until it comes true.

6). Give them time. 25 now is like 20 was for my generation. Things were different back then. For a variety of reasons, including the draft, we had to grow up much earlier. Give the younger generations time. They’ll “get it.”

7). Learn from them. While they don’t necessarily have the experience to apply it to business, these younger adults can run circles around most of us on technical matters, social media, and so on. Don’t waste a resource. Mine it. Use it. And, young adults, be gracious about our ignorance. When I was your age phones were still attached to the wall.

8). Mentor them. Do you care about the future? Take some younger adults and become a mentor to them. No, not just young adults in your company. Encourage young adults to come to you and seek your advice.

So, I can hear, “Well, Heckers, put your time and money where your big mouth is!” Done. My wife, Nicole, and I will mentor, free, for the next six months, three young men and three young women between the ages of 18 and 25 to help them get a job and understand the ropes of the business world. No charge. We won’t sell them anything or promote anything. We won’t ask them to work as unpaid interns for us. We’ll just mentor them.

If you are interested, please write me at and let me know how to reach you and why you want a mentor. If you want to talk to me, call me at 720.581.4301. (We won’t try to sell you anything if you apply but aren’t chosen, either. This is NOT a sales ploy, but an honest offer of help.) I hope others of you who are older out there will also offer similar mentoring. They need you!

Join us for , “Making the Law of Attraction Work for You” on Monday, Aug. 13, from 6 – 9 PM. More info and registration here.

John Heckers, MA, CPC, BCPC was an Executive, Relationships, Life and Spiritual Coach in Denver with 30 years of experience  helping people with their lives, relationships and careers.

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Readers Respond

Thanks, Bob. I actually did get a couple of applications on Thursday and Friday. Give me a call at 720.581.4301 and we'll chat about how to work together on this. Someone else had indicated that I probably would get more interest from Craigslist, as many younger people haven't discovered the delights of ColoradoBiz Magazine yet! As for the troll....whatever. Needs to go back underneath the troll bridge. There's always one. By John Heckers, MA, CPC, BCPC on 2012 08 12
Looks like @Troy may be a troll. John - interesting you have not received anything. Perhaps the readership is 'fully employed??' Maybe a contact with the mainstream media would get more exposure. Still willing to jump in with you when a candidate could use some assistance. Bob By Bob Block on 2012 08 12
Thanks, all, for your comments. Unfortunately, I have not even received one application to be mentored for free. Disappointing. But I am still hopeful. If you know of any younger people who want to have a mentor in either me or my wife Nicole (or both), please feel free to have them contact me. By John Heckers, MA, CPC, BCPC on 2012 08 07
Great article John. As the father of two college-age daughters, I want the world for them once they graduate. As Millennials, they will face challenges in the job market that we couldn't imagine over 30 years ago. But as a group, they are bright, enthusiastic workers who are naturally curious with a desire to do well. They also tend to work very well in a group setting. As experienced business people or parents, we have a responsibility to help prepare the next generation for success -- passing on knowledge and ways to help give them an edge. By Tony Peccolo on 2012 08 06
John – A very valid point about the mining of these individual’s talents. As an employer, I shifted an analytical function that required the use of Excel from a Boomer to a Millennial. The greater amount of my time spent teaching the Millennial was focused on business rather than repetitive reviews for Excel for the Boomer that had stalled progress. I must also add that yes we were all in that position in life and those of us fortunate enough to have had good mentors are better people today. I hope this article encourages others to help mentor others and understand the value of our investment in people and our country’s future. By Tony Pignatiello on 2012 08 05
John - good thoughts and great offer to those young folks. You are doing the right thing. I am over in Europe (now) and have done what you are proposing a number of times. With the right guidance and assistance many folks can be helped. I have had great success doing it (all pro bono) and have seen some of my people reach VP levels at multi-nationals - really makes one feel good. Keep it up! (and hopefully others will jump on the band wagon with us) Bob By Bob Block on 2012 08 03
Nice to know that someone can contact you for career assistance. By Dave Duncan on 2012 08 03
Excellent article and congratulations on your work mentoring. I'm 54 years old just returned taking a group of 15 community college interns, aged 19-33, to Brazil for a month. As a part of our work with the Brazilian Confederation of Industry, our interns worked with 200 Brazilian high school kids. It was hard work, with lots of changes and demands. The interns rose to the challenges, demonstrating adaptability, leadership, resourcefulness, and a strong work ethic. Our U.S. interns produced such outstanding results that our partners in Brazil want to expand the program next year. , I agree with John: it's time we all pay more attention to this generation and how we can help them grow. I also agree that we'll learn and gain from the experience. I will be taking a larger group to Brazil again next year. By Mary Gershwin on 2012 08 03
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