These days, given how fast the world is changing, there's been a clear widening of the advice gap.
Eighty-two percent of those ages 18 to 29 (and 79% of those 30 to 74) believe there is "a generation gap" in America, according to a Pew Research Center poll last year. The gap was defined as "a major difference in the point of view of younger and older people today." That's up from 60% of Americans in a similar poll in 1979, and it's even higher than the 74% registered in a 1969 poll, taken at the height of the youth-rebellion movement. Back then, political and social issues created the gap between baby boomers and their parents.
Certainly, many of today's young adults are very close to their "helicopter parents"—whether they're texting them all day long or living in their basements. But that doesn't mean they're seeking or embracing parental advice.
Baby Boomers need to catch ourselves before giving dated career advice. We may tell adult children to focus on writing a great résumé.....but to young ears, it sounds like a job tip from 1985. Young people today are often better off networking on social media or creating a blog to display their talents, with videos and samples of their work.
Among tips from young adults for their advice-giving elders:
- Question your assumptions: What worked in your youth might have little relevance today.
- Offer suggestions, not pronouncements: Say 'you could' not 'you should.'
- Welcome a dialogue: Listen, don't lecture; you'll learn things and give better advice.
- Resist saying: 'When I was young…'
- Don't belittle technology: If you're critical of social media, young people may dismiss you as a dinosaur.
- Accept your limitations: The young understand the world today. Sometimes, the best advice is: 'Trust your instincts.'
Source: The Wall Street Journal, September 1, 2010
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