Jane Buckingham is the founder and president of consumer insights firm Trendera. Jane is an expert on marketing to different generations based on personal observations and survey data, as well as trend forecasting.
Jane now headlines as the resident advisor for ABC Family’s new reality show Job Or No Job. Jane helps one young person a week get into three interviews and realize their true potential as young upstarts in the workforce.
You can catch Job Or No Job Wednesdays on ABC Family at 9pm EST.
Read my interview with Jane below.
Can you tell me about the show? Was this something you pursued? Or was it brought to you?
“I was really lucky, because they came to me. I do a lot of work with millennial’s. I run a consulting business where I really focus on the generations, understanding Gen-Y and Gen-X, and the trends that come out of them. ABC Family had the idea for this show, and realized that as young people are interviewing, even with pre-interviews, it’s sort of like sending a lamb into the wolf. They (ABC Family) wanted to have someone who could give some insight on what to do better.”
Do you think it’s harder now for graduates to get jobs versus years past?
“Yes I do. I think that a lot of factors are in play. We have Gen-Y, which is twice the size of Gen-X. We have more people going into the workforce than in earlier years. We have the fact that we are in this very difficult economy. You have people who are unemployed. There are more experienced workers who are willing to take a job that is under their level. On top of that, we have a generation that has been raised to feel really good about themselves, which is amazing. They are empowered, they feel great. They have lots of success in technology, and they have trophies for just participating. Those are all great things, but I think that they’ve never been taught how to interview.
They have not been told what to do on a first job. They see all of these entrepreneurs make a billion dollars, seemingly overnight, and no one talks to them about their failures. So, in their minds, it’s all going to be easy, and it’s going to go perfectly. No one says, ‘you probably shouldn’t have a typo on your résumé.’ I think it’s unfair for young people today because there are these myths about how entitled they are and yet no one is helping them get to where they need to be.”
Do you think part of that reason is because standards have changed?
“Well, you know there’s always a generation gap. Everybody feels misunderstood, like ‘kids these days.’ There’s always that attitude every generation. Every young generation feels like the older generation doesn’t understand them. I do think that because things are changing so quickly these days, through technology, through globalization, and through the things that we’re experiencing there are more differences.
Whether it’s through the Internet or a reality show, the rules really have changed so much. I think it really has changed for a young person to go into a field and know the rules you are supposed to play by. If you’re a young person, you probably can do a better job at running the social media at your company than your boss’s boss. But you also need experience to know how to deal with the call-ins or the policies that the company has to deal with. You probably don’t know a lot of things that you do need to know to be successful at the company.”
How do you balance your home life with running your own business?
“You mean like the fact that I have two girls sitting very quietly in the back of my minivan right now. [Laughs]. How about that? You know it’s funny, and I think that it’s a good analogy. You’re not balancing, it’s more like a ship and you’re trying to keep it from capsizing one way or the other. Quite frankly, there are days when I think I do it very well and days when I think I didn’t do it very well. I think that if I didn’t have some parts of it, I wouldn’t be as fulfilled. I think some people are very happy not working or not having kids, but for me, I want to have all of those elements in my life. I do not believe that you can have it all. I think that is a myth. I think that you sacrifice certain things. I don’t see my friends very much. I don’t have a lot of personal time. I think that I’m forever feeling like there’s something I should have done. You do the best you can and that’s all you can do.”
Your company “Trendera,” is known for forecasting trends. Do you see any new trends starting?
“I think it’s such an interesting time. We’re living in a time when so many trends are coexisting at the same moment. We see bell-bottoms coming back, but we’re calling them flares, because no one really wants to say they are wearing bell-bottoms. [Laughs]. We’re seeing really lady-like fashion, almost 50s style. We’re also seeing wearable technology. People don’t like to admit the trend. People don’t like to say that they are trendy.
I’ve been doing this for twenty years. For me, there are fads, which is like the little things that come and go, like a wedge shoe, which will come and go in three months, because they’re fun and frivolous. Trends really come from how people are feeling and how they feel about the world.
I hope that Job or No Job is a trend. I hope that young people want advice and want help learning about their careers. Trends to me have something deeper.”
What do you hope employers get out of the show?
“I hope that they see that you cannot stereotype millennial’s the way that sometimes we have. We see them as this entitled group of young people who don’t want to work hard and who are only in it for themselves. I hope that they realize that they don’t know what to do and that they haven’t gotten the training needed for interviews. I won’t tell you that there weren’t some exceptions, there were, but for the most part, these kids really wanted these jobs; they really needed these jobs. They were making mistakes you make because you are young, not because they didn’t want it.
Frankly I think it’s the parents’ fault or the colleges fault. I think it’s the fact that we are all moving so quickly. I think that they deserve a chance. I hope the young people realize that it’s harder than they think. This takes precision and focus. This is about getting a job, yes, but it’s also about people realizing their dream.”