Academic journal article Career Planning and Adult Development Journal

Mentoring Emerging Generations

Academic journal article Career Planning and Adult Development Journal

Mentoring Emerging Generations

Article excerpt

A mentor provides the ability to see the future through the lenses of the mentor 's past.1

As Golden Boomers matured, they passed through successive waves of development. Each wave opened new understandings and created new skills for solving increasingly complex problems. Their growth2 now provide Golden Boomers with a platform for mentoring those in the emerging generations. This overview of mentoring emerging generations will briefly describe mentor orientations and the content of the mentor's message. It will also provide examples3 of those who might represent each mentoring orientation. My purpose is to encourage Golden Boomers to recognize the wealth of resources they could offer in mentoring relationships with emerging generations.

Benefits and Challenges of Mentoring Emerging Generations

Mentoring emerging generations provides continuity in a world filled with change. It provides contexts for the worldviews of both young and old. It provides an atmosphere of appreciation for the differences. It challenges the younger to think more maturely and the older to think more innocently. Mentoring emerging generations is also challenging. It reveals assumption held by the mentor and the mentee. It must overcome differences in the meanings of words. It requires thoughtfulness, openness, and vulnerability. The benefits and challenges are summed up in the words of friends:

As a young person, I know I can gain insight from coworkers and mentors who are older than I am. Since I am so new to the workforce, I sometimes feel lost and unable to face the challenges of a career by myself. It is useful to have another wiser person to bounce ideas off of and figure out ways to deal with work conflicts, leadership decisions, appropriate actions, etc.4

The most interesting, and many times frustrating, aspect of mentoring a younger generation is that we simply do not see life in the same way. Neither is right or wrong, just different. They see life in the view of community. They are truly children of it takes a village.5

Golden Boomers that want to invest in the future of humanity overcome the potential obstacles in order to have meaningful conversations and relationships with younger generations.

Definitions

Mentoring

Mentoring is a purposeful communication of identity, ideas, values, and skills from a more experienced mentor to a less experienced mentee.6 Various traditions call the mentor master, teacher, or coach, and call the mentee disciple, follower, student, or protégé.

Golden Boomers7

Golden Boomers are the early phase of the Baby Boomer generation (born between 1946 and 1964) who are retiring or approaching retirement. The Era of the Golden Boomers starts in 201 1 with the first Boomers becoming eligible for benefits at age 65. Golden Boomers thrived in a growth economy that needed skilled managers and educated professionals. They worked hard, delaying gratification, in order to build security for retirement. This delayed gratification extended from the workplace into the home - time with spouse and children were often postponed in order to build a better lifestyle for the family. Golden Boomers also played hard. The greatest strength of this generation has been its unrelenting pursuit of happiness. Their happiness was often measured by the accumulation of things (a nice house, new car, etc.), wealth (stocks, bonds, and other investments), and leisure (recreation, hobbies, sports, etc.).

Emerging Generations: X, Y and Z6

More than any other generation, the Emerging Generations are seeking to build a world based on trust and honesty. They form groups built around these ideals and are weary of anyone that does not embrace those values. Generation X, born immediately after the Baby Boomer generation (see Graph 1: Births, 1930 - 2006) ,8 emerged to discover that the majority of resources and opportunities are controlled by Baby Boomers. …

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