Tonight I was able to do something I have wanted to do in a long time, mentor a high school senior as they start their way onto college and full adulthood. Once I reached a certain age, I began to think I had some insight to offer the next generation about both career and life. I have spent the last 17 years writing about careers and all of that writing has spawned from my own thoughts and experiences over my career lifetime. I have spoken on careers and a variety of other topics over the years, but almost always to other adults. While I do believe I have have some impact there, I have often thought that my “philosophies” could have even greater impact with younger people who had plenty of time to use them in their career life.
I became involved in this mentoring through my son’s high school. He is only a sophomore, but the school’s career officer put out a call for mentors for this year’s seniors, so I jumped at the opportunity. We met of the first time tonight and had a great discussion. I always make a point of speaking to teenagers in the same way I would speak to adults and I shared with my student many of the same ideas I speak and write on. We had a great discussion and I think found some interesting possibilities for the final project he is to present at the end of this school year. I look forward to future meetings and seeing what he develops over the next several months.
The fact is, we should all be sharing our lives, wants, needs, desires and philosophies with those around us. Too many times I read about how “this generation” is worthless, lazy, drug addled, entitled, etc. While their are certainly members of any generation that could be described that way, I reject any attempt to brand entire generations as useless. This is a vicious cycle I could somehow break. Every generation, since time began, has engaged in this general disdain for the generation that comes after. Haven’t we learned anything over the past thousands of years?
Tonight, I found this student to be attentive, conversational, never looked at his phone (allow I looked at mine a couple of times), looked me in the eye and basically acted like the adult he is. This is my experience with almost all the children I meet these days. It is rare (thank goodness) that I meet the stereotypical entitled LA brat that seems so ubiquitous in television, movies and new stories. Certainly, I am sure that these kids exist, but I know adults my age who are just as bad, if not worse. That is the funny thing about a generation. While there may be similarities, they are also great differences among its members. Sometimes I think the media are simply talking to the wrong members of each generation. as I always seem to find the best example within each.
As I grow older, I look forward to more such mentor relationships and activities. I think I have a to offer in many different areas and would love to help young adults build both the career and life they deserve!
Previously on End of the Day: