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Under 30 Working Pros: What issues do you want to discuss?

August 19, 2009

My good friend David Spinks and I have come up with a new idea: #u30pro chat on Twitter. You see #journchat, #pr20chat, etc…. but we want a place where we can chat with those of all ages on how young professionals can contribute, learn and flourish in the workplace.  So even if you’re 110 years old, you can contribute.

I’m open to any and all ideas for topics on what to discuss – this is, after all, a community. One of my big passions is the generation gap, and how Gen Y/Millennials can overcome stereotypes and be rockstars in the workforce. We wanted to make it all ages because advice from those over 30 is what can help us overcome that. You’ve been there in the trenches. You interact with us.

So, leave an idea in the comments for David and I to save and mull over. We have our own ideas, but we want to hear from you. What do you experience in the workplace? What successes have you had? What irks you? You might see it in a future chat.  Under 30 pros will be held on Thursdays at 7 p.m. EST starting next week. All you will need to do to follow the conversation is use Tweetchat (or something like it) and use the #u30pro hashtag at the end of each message.

In case you don’t know, our Twitter handles are:



42 Comments leave one →
  1. August 19, 2009 8:21 am

    I just graduated with a public relations degree in May and work full-time for a small marketing firm in my college town of Stillwater, Okla.

    What I’m most interested in is how I can become a valuable member of the PR social media community. Sometimes I’m afraid to speak up on Twitter because I don’t want to say something “wrong.”

    Take you for example, LAF. You’re only 2 years older than me (I think). What did you do from the time you graduated until now to become such a powerhouse?

    Great idea for a chat, you guys. I’m excited!

    • August 19, 2009 8:55 am

      Awesome questions Megan. I think it’s something a lot of young pros have on their minds. Could made for a great discussion.

      Thanks for the suggestion (=

    • August 19, 2009 8:56 am

      Thanks, Meg! I think a lot of us are very conscious of perceptions, especially in the workforce. It’s something I talk about all the time. Great suggestion!

  2. Glorimar Perez permalink
    August 19, 2009 9:11 am

    I feel like young professionals today are increasingly responsible for ensuring their own professional development. With people staying at jobs for smaller amounts of time and an economy facing a long recovery there just don’t seem to be the time and assets available that there used to be.

    So my thought for a discussion topic is what do young professionals need to do to make sure they are keeping up with the changes in their field and making themselves the best practitioner they can be? I’ve heard the usual: read industry news and pubs, join professional organizations, network, find a mentor . . . but I also know that one can do those things in a way that is only going through the motions. How do you make sure that you are getting true value from those activities?

    • August 19, 2009 9:19 am

      G – I LOVE this idea. It’s a huge obstacle for some, easier for others – but we all need to do it. Thanks for contributing!

  3. August 19, 2009 9:17 am

    I work in a medium sized ad firm here in Dallas. Been here 5-6 months.

    I think it’s important to speak before you speak, but don’t be afraid to throw out ideas- they have to come from somewhere and what do you have to lose?

    I also have to daily remind myself that everyone above me has been in a very similar position that I am in. I may not love the administrative work I do daily, but I love the strategy and execution of what I could be doing in a few years.

    And of course, read, read, read. Know what is going on around you, what’s working in your industry and what isn’t!

    Knowledge. Positive attitude. Professional but approachable.

    And please do not call yourself a “people person!”

    • August 19, 2009 9:18 am

      But Courtney, I talk with people all day! That means I’m a people person. 😛

      All joking aside, you bring up some great points – I’m hoping to see convo like this in the chat.

  4. August 19, 2009 9:23 am

    I second Megan’s question!

    Other topics that would be good for discussion are:

    – fitting in in the workplace when you’re the youngest person there
    – how to achieve a healthy work/life balance

    I’m bummed I won’t be able to join the discussion due to the time difference, but I’m sure it will be awesome!

    • August 19, 2009 10:16 am

      If you’d like, S, I can send you the transcript, and maybe you could do a review of the chat sometimes on my blog? What do you think?

      • August 19, 2009 10:20 am

        That sounds like a great idea! I know a lot of Ge Y-er’s here/ those that can’t make it could benefit from the chat as well so I would be honored to review it! Feel free to e-mail me: to work out the logistics.

    • August 19, 2009 10:21 am

      I think you could provide an unbiased opinion on the issue – thought about participants doing some reviews as well, since they will be in on it. Yours will be a fresh perspective because you can see it from all sides. Will e-mail you next week.

  5. August 19, 2009 9:39 am

    Sounds like a great idea. I think something important for people under 30 to know is that whether you like it or not, older people expect you to be the company expert on new media, social media, etc. So learn as much as you can to make yourself valuable so you can help others in your company.

    I also second Glorimar’s sentiment that young people are responsible for their own professional development. You can’t wait around for an opportunity. You have to take initiative and come up with your own plans/ideas, and learn how to sell them internally. That definitely can be challenging.

    Other topics I’d like to see covered would be:
    -importance of being very curious/eager to learn
    -importance of speaking up in the right way if something isn’t right (and learning when to fight battles–can’t change everything overnight)
    -value in going out to lunch with older people in your company and learning from them
    -taking the necessary steps to anticipate questions/objections when pitching an idea so you can properly address them

    • August 19, 2009 10:15 am

      I really like those suggestions Jason. Especially “-importance of speaking up in the right way if something isn’t right (and learning when to fight battles–can’t change everything overnight)”.

      Good stuff.

  6. August 19, 2009 10:21 am

    Something I’m really interested in is public relations measurement, particularly related to social media. How are metrics evolving with technology? How can we keep up with which metrics are the most relevant? What are the best ways to understand metrics and which ones to use for different clients/projects?

    Also, I’m curious about how to take more ownership of projects. Perhaps this is only because I’m an intern but I often feel like I’m assigned to do tasks but am not expected to do more. How do you take on something that you can really run with? Or if you think a process within your company is broken, how do you vocalize that without being offensive? How do you suggest that you could help?

    • August 19, 2009 11:01 am

      I really like that question Meg – have you connected with Beth Harte or Shonali Burke? I think they have both done stuff on measurement.

      @shonali and @bethharte

  7. Rich Pulvino permalink
    August 19, 2009 12:40 pm

    Really look forward to this chat! Great idea! Something that was brought up earlier was that the Gen-Y and Millenials will work more jobs over a smaller period of time compared to our parents – I think an important topic would be how to find the new job and leave your current position tactfully so feelings aren’t hurt, bridges aren’t burned, and strong networks are maintained.

    I’ve been noticing that many entry level positions in marketing, advertising, and public relations require numerous social media and Internet responsibilities. Since these younger generations are also expected to know more about current technologies (social technologies), tips on how to effectively educate and inform higher-ups about these technologies without coming off as a know-it-all, or as being arrogant, would also be helpful.

    • August 19, 2009 12:59 pm

      Always making me think Rich – great ideas for topics. Appreciate your input!

    • August 19, 2009 3:26 pm

      It’s true…it seems like a lot of our generation no longer looks to build a long term career within a single company. They want to get in, learn, build experience, and probably move on to the next gig. Older generations seemed to do that too, but not because they planned for it, but rather because that’s just how it ended up working out. Now, because we’ve seen that happen a lot, we think the same will inevitably happen to us and so we plan for it…I wonder what the consequences of planning for multiple, short gigs rather than longer gigs will be.

      Good stuff Rich. We should discuss this further at Kellys.

      • Rich Pulvino permalink
        August 19, 2009 4:59 pm

        Haha! A Kelly’s conversation would definitely create some “new” and “interesting” ideas for sure!

        If the topic comes up for discussion during the #u30pro chat, great! But if not, there are a fair amount of pro’s and con’s for both switching companies often and in staying loyal to one (or a couple) companies. It’s something I think depends heavily on personal preferences, and as you said David, economic conditions and going with the flow of things.

  8. August 19, 2009 12:49 pm

    Firstly, you two are awesome for coming up with this idea. As I already mentioned to David, I’m very excited to take part and learn from other peoples experience.

    I would love to see advice on how to continue to interact with your contacts. For example, you meet up with a contact once for coffee and a chat. What would be some methods to stay in touch and stay relevant.


  9. mollyfulton permalink
    August 19, 2009 12:50 pm

    I hope you don’t mind an “old lady” (I’m 45) weighing in…I talk to people all the time about the collision of generations in the work place today. A lot of boomers and 40somethings don’t understand how much has changed , and therefore view Gen Y with puzzlement. I responded to a post the other day that asked if Gen Y all felt so “entitled”. (I said NO.) I know a lot of really smart, creative, hard working people who just want to produce on their own terms. That’s fair, and more possible than ever. I network with a group of young mom entrepreneurs, and I am amazed at the difference in opportunity that technolgy has brought that I didn’t have 10 years ago. My advice:

    ~look for those who you think are getting it right and follow their lead
    ~be bold, not cocky – no one has your unique point of view, so share it
    ~find someone who will work through your ideas with you and champion your work
    ~stay intellectually curious
    ~care about relationships above all else, personal and professional

    • August 19, 2009 12:52 pm

      Molly – Not at all! It’s actually what we want – to bridge the gap and hear from all types of people. I love all of your topic ideas!

    • August 22, 2009 4:49 pm

      Molly – I absolutely relate to your post. I am on the “other-side” but have consulted for & worked with Gen Y since the early days of the dot.coms. I mentor 30 and under Entrepreneurs. I really enjoy collaborating with our 30’s design clients (they get it) and I think Lauren & David’s idea of #U30PRO is a great idea, I look forward to participate and bring the “other-side” (note not opposite) point of view to the mix. @CASUDI

  10. August 19, 2009 12:57 pm

    I’d really like to hear from the over-30 bunch: What have *they* experienced in the workplace that has perpetuated the negative view of Gen Y? Also, what have they seen that they really appreciate about our generation? And on the under-30 end, I think this chat is a fantastic forum for discussing why it is we behave the way we do and maybe drum up some ideas for ways of better adapting to a company’s culture without stepping on toes or compromising our beliefs.

    Looking forward to joining in tomorrow evening!

    • August 19, 2009 12:58 pm

      Thanks, T! Just a note: It will start next week – David and I want to get a good feel for the chat before starting.

  11. August 19, 2009 1:16 pm

    So I have been reading some of the comments and agree with many of them…its seems as though no one has answered “what irks you?” so here I go…. 🙂

    I would love to know more about how Gen Y can get used to the workplace with the GEN Xers out there??? When this whole Gen Y CRAZE came about, companies started to hire consultants to assist their organization with “Hiring/Attracting Gen Y” and conclusions like… (you must have a fun workplace to keep Gen Y engaged, work life balance, toys in the office for Gen Y to play with on lunch breaks, access to Facebook, MySpace…. blah blah blah blah I think it’s CRAZY!!!!! What they should have done was hired these consultants to teach the current workforce Gen Xers and above on how to just treat the Gen Yers like normal additions to the workplace and not kids that need games and toys while they work!

    Who doesn’t want work/life balance; a nice break in the office to release some stress? AND the last time I looked there SO many over 30’s something people on Facebook and MySpace these days…SO WHY single out Gen Y?!!!

    I would say one of the things that irks me is that even if you’re a GEN Y and work your TAIL off and climb your way up the corporate latter….you always seem to get stopped because there is no way there will be a 20 something person managing or promoted higher up then Gen Xers…Heaven forbid! Ok so I am somewhat generalizing…..or am I???

    Would I would like to know is how can you work you way up that latter…take in all that recognition but use it as a spring board to the top without getting blocked by your age or how young you look?!!!!

    • August 19, 2009 2:32 pm

      Great contribution AJ. I think this irks many people, on both ends of the gap. Will be really interesting to see what either side has to say about these issues.

  12. SaraKate permalink
    August 19, 2009 3:33 pm

    What a fabulous idea, Lauren & David! As next Thursday is my birthday, I may not be around for the first #u30pro chat, but I’ll be there for following chats! 🙂

    • August 20, 2009 9:34 am

      Awesome! Look forward to hearing your thoughts in future chats. Happy early birthday.

      • August 28, 2009 8:38 am

        Thanks, Lauren, for your note. Just finished reading the transcript from last night’s inaugural chat. Nice work!

        I’d love to talk about time management and the proper way to assert oneself in the workplace (i.e. when do you accept your delegated responsibilities and go with them and how do you refuse when you think something isn’t worth your, or anyone’s, time; how do you become a leader without coming off as aggressive – especially for young women vs. young men).

  13. August 19, 2009 3:40 pm

    I think this is such a fantastic idea! With @LenKendall’s Top 30 Under 30 Tweeters list coming out today, this is such a timely and relevant discussion for all us ‘under 30 pros’ to have.

    In terms of topic suggestion, I think we need to debunk the myth of the ‘social media expert.’ Not because I don’t think they exist (just check out Len’s list, but because of the danger it poses business/non-profits who employee such people without understanding the full breadth of their responsibilites, or the ramifications of their actions. This post on the BrandForward blog by @MichelleTripp really hammers that home, as the American Cancer Society recently found out.

    Kudos to both of you for making the list! (I did too!)

    • August 20, 2009 9:35 am

      Thanks Bryna for the suggestion! I don’t like the term expert at all, because frankly, I think it shouldn’t be used. I like your points though about the dangers. Great topic.

      Kudos to you as well!

  14. August 20, 2009 9:41 am

    This is going to be great! I’m so excited you guys decided to do this. Here are a couple things I struggle with and I’d love some feedback on:
    1.) Recent MS grad and although I worked during grad school, I’m having a hard time finding a new job. Seems experience would have help more.
    2.) In my area, some older execs are very hesitant to use social media. My last boss always laughed at me when I suggested integrating our promotions into the website or adding a blog. How can we convince those resistant to change that I’m not just using “Gen Y jargon” and that my ideas are viable?

    Can’t wait!

    • August 24, 2009 11:32 am

      Thanks, Rebecca! We are excited as well. The topic of experience v. degree has always been a hot one, thanks for bringing it up.

      Also, the age in SM deal – perfect for our chat.

      Look forward to hearing your input!

  15. Holly Sternberger permalink
    August 24, 2009 10:11 am

    I just wanted to echo Bryna’s idea. I still don’t think people realize the full impact their online conduct can play in real life.

    I’m looking forward very much to this chat!

    • August 24, 2009 11:32 am

      Awesome, Holly! And you’re right, online conduct is a biggie.

      Look forward to Thursday.


  16. August 25, 2009 8:53 am

    This is a fabulous idea and much needed in our Twittersphere! I posted a blog on this topic months ago:

    Questions: Young PR pros are often looked at as naive and/or unexperienced by upper management. How can we battle that and improve our worth?

    Mistakes made by young PR pros are often a huge no-no because we’re expected to make them. Mistakes will happen. We all know that but, how can we recover, successfully?

  17. August 27, 2009 8:01 pm

    Wow – Just when I was thinking there weren’t other prominent voices of Gen-Y out there. I am so proud to see our Generation taking hold, networking and managing on our own. Kudos guys – can’t wait to see how this all turns out! 🙂


  1. Young People Don’t Tweet. Young Professionals Do. « Table Talk

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