So, I have pretty much given up on college kids. I call them the “entitled ones.” As most of you know, I am on TV, but I also run a business that cleans up the messiest homes in the country. Finding the right combination of strength, manners and guts for an employee is a far more difficult task that you can imagine. I tend to gravitate towards ex-cons, recovering addicts and kids that have failed out of college. I feel like those kids actually get it. They have usually messed up in life, hit hard times and they have developed the ability to solve problems and find their way out of a difficult situation. I’ve hired a few college kids over the years and they’ve pretty much ruined my hope in this age bracket. I’ll always take a kid coming out of prison over a kid coming out of college, any day.
Last night, I spoke at Virginia Commonwealth University at a 200 level business class. Until this years NCAA March Madness, most of the country had never even heard of VCU. And quite honestly, growing up in Richmond, VCU was not the University that it is today. So when I was asked to lecture to a class on entrepreneurship, I had very low expectations. I tend to generalize and had already written off these “perceived” entitled kids that in my mind are simply lazy and just spend their parents money.
Obviously, I’m an idiot and I was completely wrong. Would I hire these kids for a crew on Hoarders, probably not. But do I think this generation has the ability to do more than play video games and drink Mountain Dew, yes. Until last night, I saw no value from the kids of this generation. After an hour lecture and a very interesting Q&A session, I thought the night was over. I walked out of the room and that’s when it changed. I was bombarded with confident young kids who had business ideas, new tv show concepts, hope an ambition. Oh to be young, have energy and not really know how hard the world is. These kids were me, 15 years ago! I spent another hour talking to these kids, listening and trying to give out some advice.
When speaking to groups about business, I single out passion and emotion as the things that will differentiate you from your competitor. If you can work harder than everyone else and you have passion and emotion, there is a good chance you can succeed. Until last night, this old man thought the “entitled generation” had nothing to add to our country. These kids have it and they understand technology better than we do. Once they combine passion and technology with age and experience, things are going to happen.
Last night, I went to college and I got schooled.
ADDITION: after reading a few comments, I think it’s important for me to say that I was/am an entitled kid. My parents did pay for my college and I also received a car at age 18. Also, Jason (from facebook) pointed out the word entitled is very subjective. What I perceive as rock bottom is actually awesome for someone else. I grew up in a very entitled world, my failures and hard times were created by my own decisions. As intended, this blog is written to create conversations and I hope this post continues to create conversation.