This year we’re having a monthly series on mentoring. Head here to read the previous posts.
I have a long list of things I geek out on, and generational trends are high on the list. I’m a sucker for headlines that promise to break down how Gen X and Gen Y differ as parents, or why Gen Z will outpace Millennials in the workplace. I just can’t help myself.
(Of course, these generational divides are gross generalizations, but the trends are nonetheless interesting.)
In recent months, I’ve seen a lot of press on why millennials–roughly, those born between 1980 and 2000–are struggling in the workplace. (I sit squarely on the border between Gen X and the Millennials: that would be Generation Catalano to My So-Called Life fans.)
I’m no expert; I don’t work in corporate America. But I don’t buy it.
As I read these articles and chat with my peers who opted for corporate life, what I gather is that millennials aren’t enthusiastic about formal mentoring programs. What they’re resisting is not mentoring itself, but the idea of imposing structure on what is fundamentally a relationship.
They’re also more likely to view the mentoring relationship as a two-way street. While they know they have much to gain from their more experienced colleagues, they also know they have much to offer. Millennials are being called upon to reverse-mentor their elders–by bringing them up to speed on newer developments like social media, and offering a more youthful perspective on workplace developments.
Millennials may not be interested in formal mentoring programs, but they’re very much interested in getting better in the workplace by developing strategic–and meaningful–relationships.
At least that’s what it looks like from where I sit.
Talk to me about millennials and mentoring. What’s your experience? Which generation are you a part of, and do you feel like it’s affected your experience with mentoring?
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