alisonlevine_icefallI believe it was Ernest Hemingway who described guts as ‘grace under pressure.’

I’m not sure how I’d define courage but, as Supreme Court Justice Potter Steward once said of pornography, “I know it when I see it.”

I witnessed a Millennial display plenty of courage in a recent informational interview with me.

Instead of the typically nervous laugh, followed by a stammering, “Gee whiz, Mr. Cody. Wow, It’s like so cool to actually meet you,” I was greeted by a strong, confident young woman who firmly grasped my hand, and said: “Steve, it’s a pleasure.”

I liked that. She immediately came across as a peer and not some immature, unprepared job prospect.

Then, instead of the usual, banal responses to my question asking why she wanted a career in PR (i.e. “I like people” or “I, like, so want to manage special events and parties,”) this candidate first briefed me on her relevant experience.

She went on to address the importance of her MBA in both enabling her to read, and understand, a balance sheet. She noted that the MBA enabled her to have a much better understanding of PR’s role within the marketing mix, and would be open to working with any agency or client that respected PR’s lead role in engaging audiences. Wow.

Last, but not least, the gutsy Millennial beat me to the punch when it came to possible opportunities within Peppercomm. “While I love your culture, and would consider it an honor to work with your team, my goal today is simply to ask introductions to your peers. Based upon what you heard from me today, who do you think I could help, and why?”

Needless to say, I was impressed.

I’ve asked her to come back for a second round of interviews at my firm, and I’ll be brokering a few introductions to others on her behalf.

Why? Because she displayed grace under pressure. Job-seeking Millennials, Gen Xers and Baby Boomers alike need to better understand the importance of courage in an interview setting.

It sure differentiated one job seeker. And, for the record, while I still can’t define the word, I know I just saw a nonpareil performance of courage in the workplace.

3 thoughts on “Courage

  1. It’s always nice to hear this. I’m tired of complaints from emerging geezers my age about “these young Millennials” — they sound as bad as our grandparents. For every dweeb buried in a digital device who can’t look anyone in the eye, lately it seems like I’m meeting five younger people who have passion, commitment and the ability to interact with people. It gives me hope.