The next-gen is hungry for guidance; They just need new ways

One of the most frequent complains we come across these days from parents, teachers and counsellors working with the young adults today is that ‘they don’t listen,’ or ‘they just want to do their own thing; their own way,’ and that discussing sensible advice about career and life building are pretty difficult. Engaging  with this age group is so tricky.’

With Covid-19 crisis, the confusion and gaps has only widened.

Psychologist note that, “Generational misunderstandings and culture clashes (generation gaps) are part of the human condition. It’s typical for each generation to create and embrace new music, dance, fashion, haircuts, technologies, lexicons, and gender expressions that distinguish them from prior generations.”

While the Millennials belong to the Internet age and probably can’t imagine a world without the Internet as their  primary source of information, the GenZ (those born in and after 1996) are the IPhonegeneration and mobile telephony, touch-based small devices, social media,constant connectivity and on-demand entertainment and experiences are innovations young adults seek.

While information, discussions overload will grip us in this pandemic era, contradictiions will co-exist and young adults will have even more unanswered questions about themselves and their futire. Hence it is only natural that career guidance and mentorship are areas for which the young adults want direction and validation. 

While they may be smarter to find their ‘known’circles but they seem to put up a wall, feign not listening or be outright rebellious when it comes to making well-informed life, career decisions aided by the natural advisors. This is where most conflict arises. And that’s where  an experienced and vetted mentor can possibly step in and break the firewall.

“Earlier,  this type of mentorship or guidance was heavily guided by community choices and influenced by immediate family members or well-wishing teachers. So, you typically saw a TamBrahm kid going for Engineering/Medical or STEM courses and Bengali kids go into creative fields like literature, arts or theatre. But the tide has now turned, they want to experiment. Do their own thing,”says Sanjay Jain, one of the CompliMentor.

Sanjay who had very humble beginning as a student, pursued college through evening classes and selling newspapers, before rising to leadership positions at Microsoft, Technosoft and Intelliswift and taking international roles.”As a parent to a teenaged-boy, I can understand the pain-point. But I think they are just open to the idea of mentorship in another format—maybe audio-visual, maybe VR, maybe shadow and learn.Those we’ve to explore.”

Sanjay strongly advises that building practical skillslike coding in early years can help keeping the emerging technologies in mind. “The developing countries put a lot of emphasis in learning these skills early, and this helps the individual grow in a tech ecosystem.”

His thoughts are closely echoed by thought leader and senior management leader Vinay Piparsania, a team CompliMentor. Vinay holds degrees from IIT Delhi, andthe TulaneUniversity, U.S. and has been a mentor at IIT for some time.He is also Founder and Principal of Millenstrat Advisory & Research, specialising in developing strategies, focused on millennial customers and employees.

He describes the Millenials and Gen-Z as a very different consumption group than all those before. “The amount of information this generation has access to is fabulous, and they are very aware and go very deep into their topics of interest. They are more opinionated, with a lot more exposure and will accept nothing without first questioning it.”

Therefore , in matters of mentoring we may have to analyse user demographics and behaviour and innundate them with worthy experiences that they can relate, value and feel comfortable with,provide 24×7, always available environments. Face to face can help build trust but they can consume information via 4-D visuals rather than 2-D, or through new age digital feeds.”

The need for new-age parents is,therefore not to get desperate and offer children the support and exposure they need and to let them experiment with that. 

While the Millenials and Gen Z may or may not want to follow role models, but the hyper information era gives them a chance to learn from the failure and success of others. In a more than ever complex environment today, one does need a confidiant, a sounding board for validation. Mentoring can help bridge that gap and fast forward the learning curve for the youth, says, Deeptie Sethi, brand and communications advisor and founder of CompliMentors, a purpose driven platform for collaborative mentorship.

To address the new gen, it is vital that you build that trust and are listening enough to get listened to, she signs off.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Deeptie Sethi
Co-Founder, CompliMentors, a purpose driven platform that curates mentoring relationships
Deeptie is a skilled Communications Specialist with an international experience in Marketing Communications across U.S., Asia Pacific and India. She is a currently a communications consultant, an Educationist and an Entrepreneur. Previously, she worked as a Communications leader at Ford Motor Company and British Broadcasting Corporation and worked in the fields of Public Relations, Brand and Corporate Reputation, Media Relations, Social Advocacy, Crisis Management and Corporate Social Responsibility for more than 23 years. She continues to provide strategic counsel across industries such as automobile, mobility, fashion and hospitality in brand strategy and solutions delivering unique campaigns, user experiences, business and social impact initiatives.

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