Pass the baton to the next in line

If you only read this first sentence then walk away with this. Pass the baton to the next generation. Pass the torch to the juniors, to the dreamers to fresh thinkers. The facts are obvious, the previous generation is at the tail end of their careers. Many have already retired and the few that remain to realize the inevitable will probably be wheeled out at the end.

As a millennial, born in the early eighties I came into the work world at one of the most uncertain times in recent decades, the great recession of 2008. We’ve seen crises come and go, yet one constant remained. The fear of passing the leadership on to our generation. 

We lost our way, we no longer train

It suddenly became unpopular to hire junior professionals. On-the-job training was no longer cost-effective. Everyone had to be experienced. This seemed to work in the short term but we are now facing a new problem. An aging workforce with no one equipped to take the helm.

The would-be mentors of yesterday never became that. They never got to take someone under their wing. The up-and-comers never go to learn the tricks of the trade. Never got to take what was given to evolve it into what’s next. Sure being self-taught is important and must continue but we must also serve to educate the next generation. According to the blog ” Training and wages” on Sound Economics the percent of employees receiving employee sponsored or on the job training has been on steady decline.

“The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves.” — Steven Spielberg 

Without guidance the next generation is ill-equipped

We are missing this vital ritual. Without this guidance, the next generation is ill-equipped to create their best selves. As Spielberg mentioned mentoring is a critical part of this process and we all share a responsibility to continue this tradition. But let me be clear, we shouldn’t narrow our perceptions of “juniors” to just recent young college grads. There are plenty of mid-career candidates that have changed careers as well.

Let’s equip the next in line with the tools they need to succeed. Ensure that the industries that were built continue to grow and prosper. Pass the torch to the next set of dreamers, the next set of innovators so that at some point we can sit back and observe in awe for what comes next.

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