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Wise Beyond Our Years – Pekarsky & Co. Mid-September Newsletter 2015

September 15, 2015

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

As you know by now, our mid-month newsletter edition features a Pekarsky & Co. team member penning an original piece. Jane Bogatyrevich, an Associate in our Edmonton office, having written last January about the Theatrics of Search, returns to the top of the order this month. Articles discussing the numerous generations working in the modern workplace abound on line and elsewhere. We hope that Jane’s take, a decidedly pro-youth perspective, provides food for thought.

The Pekarsky & Co. editorial board (me), upon reviewing the initial draft, couldn’t help but think of the great quote from George Orwell: “Each generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it.” Still, there is much wisdom in what our young Jedi Padawan has to say. We hope you enjoy the read.

Regards,

Young at Heart But Wise in Practice

We have all used the term ‘terrible teens’ and most of us have been there ourselves, much as we may try to deny it. The truth of the matter is, the youth of each generation is prescribed a poor reputation. Youth is often synonymous with incompetence, inexperience and laziness and, in the opinion of this particular millennial, quite unfairly so. With the beginning of the school year upon us, I wanted to write a piece to advocate for the youth of today and hopefully mitigate some of the bad press. I do so with a firm understanding of my status as the youngest member of Pekarsky & Co. but, in a generational nod to my older partners, appreciative of the platform that allows me to do so.

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Having just emerged from two days of intensive cognitive discourse during the Ignite Edmonton Festival, my mind began to think about all the positive contributions the younger generation has brought to the Alberta market. Take a look at the Mayors of Edmonton and Calgary for example; these two gentlemen have often been coined as ‘young’ in their respective roles especially given all that they have accomplished. However some examples of the great initiatives that they have put forward include A Year of Reconciliation and Edmonton’s NextGen initiative as well as ethnic and gender diversification among senior city staff and the expansion of support for the Arts through the building of the Decidedly Jazz Danceworks academy in Calgary. Both Mayor Don Iveson and Mayor Naheed Nenshi have moved the opinions of many naysayers to believe that younger-than-typical mayors can add vibrancy and new perspectives while being cognizant of a difficult economic landscape and sustainability for future initiatives.
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Coming back to the Ignite Festival, I spoke to a few attendees that commented on the age of some of the guest speakers and more specifically their surprise at ‘how young they were.’ It is unfortunate that seeing intelligent young people that are thought leaders in their field is the exception to be marveled at and not the expectation. Isn’t it strange that we refer to the youth as the future of our society yet we are even quicker to dismiss their aptitude and worth in the professional space? Education, experience and pedigree are indubitably accrued with time, and nothing can replace those miles on the tires but it is important to acknowledge that the beginner’s outlook is often times the new set of eyes that your project or organization might just need.

I have personally worked with many talented youth through the University of Alberta’s CAPS Job Shadowprogram as a host and guest speaker at several career forums and can say with confidence that the next generation does indeed bring a bright future. The individuals that I have come across have asked insightful questions, challenged the status quo and have had some of the strongest work ethic that I have seen. And yet, many new grads are struggling to find jobs on account of ‘not having enough experience.’  Similarly it’s important to note that generation X is not willing to just sit back and stay quiet in the roles that they do undertake; we’re seeing a trend of young spokespeople both in and out of the workplace advocating for what they believe in.

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Now what does this trend have to do with you as an organization? As the Journal Start reported in the spring of last year, there are not enough gen xers to replace the retiring baby boomers. Even if all the gen xers, including those of 1979 (who are only 37 years of age), replace the baby boomers in their executive roles, that would only equal 48.1 million gen xers to a grand total of 73.5 million baby boomers; a shortfall of 25.4 million. So any desire to replace outgoing grey hair with other grey hair is unachievable. Now is the time to start trusting the individuals who will be the future of your organizations and tailoring your succession planning.
As a young firm in the executive recruiting space, we are not strangers to hearing the polite yet, at times, patronizing inquiries that accompany being a relatively new player on the field. The combined 30 years experience of our three partners and recruitment professionals speaks to counter the belief that ‘new’ equates ‘inability to do the job’. But more importantly, many seem to forget that being new and nimble in the recruitment space allows us to be leaders in innovation and best practices as we are not held down by years of conditioning and blind acceptance that things have to be done a certain way because, well, that’s the way they’ve always been done.

We are a very flat and highly collaborative firm, and thus are able to implement improvements quickly and spend more time with our clients and candidates, as opposed to jumping through red tape and maneuvering through bloated bureaucratic processes. We are able to create deep, meaningful bonds between staff members and transfer that unique and refreshingly human approach to our work. It is not uncommon for us to play a seemingly random video clip or share some laughs on a non-work-related matter. That sense of play keeps things light and allows us to be creative in tailoring the process to fit our client’s needs. It is this flexibility that is being recognized in the marketplace and we are incredibly proud of it.

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Going through adolescence isn’t easy, whether you’re a kid going through high school or a new firm in a new market in a field with clearly established national and global competitors, and perhaps now is the time to step outside your comfort zone and explore that next big idea put forward by someone who hasn’t been tainted by years of prescribed programming. Let that individual or company show you the benefit of their innovation and how it will revolutionize the field.

Sincerely

Jane

Jane Bogatyrevich is an Associate in the Edmonton office and an advocate for mentorship and development. She will be speaking at the International Students Career Forum at the University of Alberta later this month and will be continuing the partnership with the CAPS Career Centre at the U of A as a job shadow host in November to share her industry wisdom with the next eager and bright-eyed student that comes through the doors of Pekarsky & Co.

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