America's Most Qualified Workplace Experts
Career Success: Finding a Technology Mentor
The Office Professional
Submitted by Beth Braccio Hering on Fri, 09/28/2012 - 9:00am
When thinking about choosing a mentor, older, established people in your company or field of interest usually come to mind. While these veterans certainly can offer great insight and advice, they aren't the only ones who can help improve your career. Mature workers may want to consider the idea of a reverse mentorship - finding a younger colleague who can keep them up-to-date, especially concerning the ever-changing world of technology.
"Technology is a major obstacle older workers face," says generational workplace expert Courtney Templin, Chief Operating Officer at JB Training Solutions and author of the forthcoming book Manager 3.0: A Millennial's Guide to Rewriting the Rules of Management. "Millennials are incredibly collaborative and happy to share their knowledge about the latest technologies and social media trends."
Templin notes that older workers are "digital immigrants," meaning they have been introduced to technology as adults. Younger workers, on the other hand, are "digital natives" who grew up with computers, cell phones, social media, and the like. "Technology is part of their DNA, so even new and emerging technologies are more intuitive to them compared to older generations."
Feel funny about approaching someone younger? Don't be. Chances are she will feel honored, just as you would be if a co-worker selected you as a person she would like to be able to come to for guidance. Be open to returning the favor however you can, and both of you are bound to get plenty out of the relationship.