Maybe it's just the choice of words...

Reply Mon 14 Oct, 2013 05:01 am
But this article I read in the paper yesterday really bugged me.

It's about this new "trend" of younger employees "mentoring" older ones.

Basically, from what I could see, it involved someone younger getting someone else up to speed with new iphone technology, or showing them some social media options.

I don't consider that "mentoring"

Is that what passes for mentoring today? Not the grooming and learning of subtle skills, but showing someone how to tweet, or what not to post on facebook or their linkedin account?

I can't wait for these Gen X-ers to get into their 50's and see what it's like when some 20 year old wants to tell them how the cow ate the corn.

I'm not sure who these articles are written by, or for whom...I'm in a situation right now where I've lately had the opportunity to work side by side with recent college grads, in different settings. They are all aware they are just starting out, and have a lot of real life experience to learn. In fact, I had one young woman complain how when in school, she felt she'd been sold a bill of good on how when she got out there she was going to be able to make "all these changes", and was brought up short when she realized that in real life, these plans didn't work so hot. She hadn't counted on the fact that people she was going to meet and work with had developed intricate relationships she was clumsily stepping into, or that (gasp) her ideas were not automatically embraced with open arms.

This same young woman went to great lenghts to tell me how her parents had sacrificed for her education, encouraged her and so on, and how she had great respect for the knowledge her father had in business. Then, in the same breath she estimated that she would be managing people much older than her in the very near future.

I said "Like your father?"

She didn't like that at all. Apparantly she meant someone else's father for whom someone had great respect for their business knowledge.

Has the definition for mentor changed?
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Reply Mon 14 Oct, 2013 08:52 am
I guess the word "mentor" now has a more nuanced meaning, since there is no word to describe the situation you describe. Perhaps, "neo-mentor"? Or, "Mentoring-up"?

In the military, older non-commissioned officers do mentor younger officers newly assigned to command the non-commissioned officers' work areas. However, the younger officer does have command over the older non-commissioned officer. This paradigm is not new.

The benefit to the organization would also be to see which young people can interact well outside of one's generation. A good test for deciding who has management potential. A Baptism in Fire, perhaps.
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