By John T. Tintera, Founder JTT Marketing
People over the age of 40 know that everyone under 40 knows EVERYTHING. A horrible generalization, but there’s some truth to it. Only it didn’t begin 20 years ago. I can remember being in a job in my late twenties where I was the front-line account executive for a client that was experiencing hyper growth. There was low margin for error, so the head of my department requested that she read and approve all my emails before they went out. It was horrible—I felt completely micromanaged. Today I’m very grateful to her—she taught me how to proofread and to think through everything I wrote. Her oversight made me a better communicator. Sadly, two years ago she died at the young age of 60. I keep her picture on my desk.
A few years ago, my company hired a fresh college grad to handle external communications for a new line of books we were launching. The books were brash and bold—political theory so radical that it would make Bernie Sanders blush. This young publicist had the brashness to match. I was called in to mentor him and teach him the ropes, though he reported to someone in our London office. Unfortunately, after our first couple of meetings, I never heard from him again. Whenever I reached out to him, he would bristle or suddenly become ill. Six months in, I began to hear from my colleagues that things weren’t working out. By the end of the year he was gone.
Admittedly, this is an extreme case. All of us bristle at a heavy-handed boss, yet none of us are born with the kinds of technical knowledge—or social graces—that are expected in the workplace. That’s why we need good mentors who care about our growth. The thing I love most about PRSA is that it’s a learning community. Despite having done PR for nearly 20 years, I know that there is always more to learn about our craft.