Tuesday, November 13, 2012

you win nothing with kids

I've just recently started paying attention to the Linked-in Today feature, mainly through the mobile app.

If you don't know about this it's kinda a news aggregator within linked-in that picks some of the top stories of the day for you, presumably contextually based on the information in your personal profile.

There also seems to be some ability to customise the feed though I haven't tampered with that as yet.

Ons story jumped out this morning - full marks to the author for a headline that was def going to grab me - 'Why I hesitate to hire forty-somethings' by Belgian self-styled thought leader Inge Geerdens.

The post had managed to rack up over 700 mostly derisory and critical comments overnight. The outrage is probably based on the headline rather than the content.

The post itself contains no great revelations. She is basically bemoaning the fact that experienced candidates want more money, she has no money, so she will prefer to hire 20-somethings.

Blah blah.

This age thing is a can of worms, however.

Particularly in the advertising world, and extra-particularly it's digital wing.

First a disclosure - despite my youthful good looks I have to confess to being over 40 myself. Hard to believe, I know, but it's true.

There's a bullshit idea in adland that 'digital' is only understood by the under 30's.

That simply being digital-native (ie having grown up at the same pace and time as the internet) is somehow evidence of credentials.

It's not, but youth and enthusiasm is a great base on which to build the experience and chops needed to complete the picture.

At the end of the day, it's never mind the technology - here's the marketing communications and 90% of the chops are learned over time, on the job. This takes time.

Having said that, there's been a flurry of noteworthy appointments recently to top agency management roles for number of under 30's.

One guy I worked with at a previous agency is now MD of a big shop at 28. However, he started working at agencies aged 18 - doing his uni studies in parallel - so in effect he has ten years in anyway, making him almost a veteran.

There's definitely a case for taking an early interest in your career, putting in the hours early on and having a determination to succeed.

I wish I had done that.

Alan Hansen will never be allowed to forget his comment after a young Manchester United team suffered an early season defeat at Aston Villa in 1995.

Hansen remarked 'You win nothing with kids'.

United responded by winning the Premier League and FA Cup Double.

Hansen was right, though.

You'll struggle to win with 'only' the kids.

The United 'kids' in question were, of course, the likes of David Beckham, the Neville brothers, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs.
But they were supported by the very experienced Peter Schmeichel, Roy Keane, Steve Bruce and the legendary Eric Cantona.

Our friend Inge Geerdens, would be best advised to note that perhaps the trick is the old blend of youth and experience, while being mindful that, unavoidably for the most part, you get what you pay for.

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