It’s a really worthwhile event. (I’m nodding.) The crowd is great. (I’m nodding.) All really smart and they represent some of the most successful companies in the area. (I’m nodding.) And to keep it fresh they limit attendance to people under 35 years old. You should come with me. (I’m flattered and offended at the same time.)
Now, I get that I’m no Spring chicken. When I got started working in PR we were all really excited about being able to fax releases to the press. So what if there were only about 3 reporters who could fax us back? We were excited nonetheless. But come on. What’s the concern? That we’ll jam up the room with our walkers? That crows feet and stray greys are contagious? Are they afraid we’ll call their parents and let them know they’re out past 9 and not wearing their retainers? I don’t get it. How does having an age cut-off for an event make it better?
When I went back to the office to tell people about this travesty of justice, I had a hard time finding someone who could relate. Then it dawned on me, in the world of PR, I am old. Old-er… More mature… I’m not sure exactly when it happened – when I crossed the line. Maybe it was the time a few years back when I had to have someone explain what a “hook up” was. Regardless. With a handful of exceptions, I have about 10 years on most of the people at SHIFT. And there are some where the age difference is closer to 15. I have some colleagues and a few people on my team who were still in single digits when I got into this industry. Good grief.
Now, I don’t mean for this post to be one of those… “You know back in my day we had to walk to COMDEX. Up hill. Both ways.” However, the truth is PR was a different world when I jumped into it and if you really think about it, it wasn’t even that long ago. But, even though a lot has changed, I know I still got it. When I’m lucid I still come up with some pretty good ideas.
I’m not taking anything away from my younger coworkers – the new breed. They’re sharp. They have perspectives and a crazy creative ability that makes for some sick PR. But still, there’s something to be said about the experience you can only get from having a bunch of years on the planet.