Teach them. Guide them. Mentor them. Bull@*#% them, and they will just walk away

8 12 2007

Kids LOL @ Navy Recruiters
By Aaron Sarver

“Teenagers, be warned: Military recruiters have armed themselves with “Wat up, dude?” and “nmu” in their effort to lure you to Iraq. (For those who lack daily interaction with teens, “nmu” means “Not much. You?”)

As headlines reveal that the military is lowering standards to meet its recruiting goals, the Pentagon is trying new techniques to connect with Millennials—those born between 1980 and 2000, formerly known as Generation Y.

In September, the website Entropic Memes reported that attendees at last spring’s Annual Navy Workforce Research and Analysis Conference were given a slideshow presentation titled “The Road to a 2025 Total Force: Talkin ‘bout Their Generation.”

At the presentation, ad executive Arthur Mitchell, director of strategic planning for Campbell-Ewald, the agency behind the Navy’s Accelerate Your Life campaign, talked about the inability of Navy recruiters to connect with today’s young people.

Millennials, he explained, are “narcissistic praise junkies” and “a somewhat alien life force.” To help recruiters communicate with such bizarre life forms, Mitchell presented a pop culture quiz, asking recruiters to identify members of Green Day and the Black Eyed Peas (two popular bands). In addition to getting them up to speed on today’s music, he showed them the ins and outs of text messaging and emoticons.

“At first contact, the Navy world is going to be too real to digest,” according to the slideshow presentation, “akin to the ‘The real world’ in Matrix.” It goes on to say, “Teach them. Guide them. Mentor them. Bull@*#% them, and they will just walk away.”

The typical kid today, the report says, has the following characteristics:

* Many of their experiences have been secondhand.
* A sizable part of their life has been spent in a virtual world rather than in the real world.
* The television/computer screen has always acted as a ‘screen’ that has kept them away from many direct real world interactions.
* Their ‘B.S.’ barometer is very high.
* Status and authority will not impress them, bureaucracy and red tape will frustrate them and a patronizing attitude will drive them crazy.
* Perhaps they’ll even expect their parents to “rescue” them.
* They are used to instant gratification and praise…”




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