Bradley Richardson crossed over to the dark side last year. Now he's trying to enlighten it.
Since writing ``JobSmarts for Twentysomethings'' in 1995, the Dallas-based author has guided fellow Gen-Xers through the worst job market since World War II.
His real-world assessment of what it takes to land and keep a job made him a top speaker on the national college circuit, doing about 50 campus gigs at $2,500 a pop last year.
But with less than 2 percent of his peer group those between 18 and 34 currently unemployed, now it's Corporate America's turn to scramble.
The 32-year-old ``X-pert'' coaches such companies as Southwest Airlines, Navistar, The Associates Corp. and PricewaterhouseCoopers on how to snare, care for and mentally feed young up-and-comers.
``I decided to switch audiences: Take the information I'd learned on campus from students and career-center directors and give it to companies that could use it,'' he says, sitting in a conference room at Southwest, where he's helping the airline with its summer internship program.
He half-jokingly calls his latest focus ``crossing over to the dark side'' because, while he's learned to understand the realities of business since graduating from the University of Oklahoma 10 years ago, Richardson still has a Gen-X state of mind.
``Call it cynicism or pragmatism, but the idea that I'm going to work hard, put my nose to the grindstone and my boss is going to look out for me and I'm going to get a raise or promotion' is a …