I’m not talking about the kind of “development” most of us women X’ers remember from the book “Are you there God, its me Margret.” I’m speaking of job development and the phenomenon of forced mentoring.
A prime example….I was enjoying a nice latte with a fellow Generation X’er friend while she was venting about a recent conversation she had with her supervisor. Here is the brief synopsis of what happened:
Friend: I’m really excited to share some opportunities for change in this department and am passionate about not loosing this department to a regional center model. I think there are a lot of things we could change here that would make us more effective and a better place to work.
Supervisor (of the boomer variety): Um yeah…we prefer to keep doing things the way we have been doing them, we have been quite successful. Moving from a local relationship driven service to a regional center is how we are moving and where we are going. Get on board with the change we are suggesting. Don’t you want to be developed professionally? You obviously NEED me to mentor you for more experience.
Friend: laughs…initially thinking she was joking about needing experience and a mentor-after all, she’s been in this field for nearly 15 years and is not wet behind the years. She then realizes her supervisor was serious-she really did challenge her development and experience….thus what led up to the commiserating over coffee with me.
I am not personally opposed to mentoring or development-but it must be from somebody I WANT to emulate, whose values and choices I believe in, not have somebody stuff their idea of what I need down my throat. Does this make me less loyal to my organization? Does it mean I don’t value what boomers have built or are willing to offer? Does it make me apathetic and cynical?
No…it means if you want to “develop” me in the workplace you must inspire me, let me be part of the change. When you can’t let me be part of the change, tell me why and how decisions are being made that affect me. Value my insights and suggestions for what they are, not behind a wall of resistance based on “this is how we’ve always done it” or a filter of “you just need more experience.”
Thoughts? Is this a generational difference or just a poor working environment issue?