It’s an open secret that I really like working with young people who are at the beginning of their careers. One of the main reasons is that exchanges with new recruits often force me to consider my most basic assumptions about the hows and whats our work. At a minimum, I need to come up with more than “we’ve always done it this way.” Of course there can also be challenges to working with people new to our particular work culture but most often challenges are completely outweighed by how refreshing it is to have new perspectives.
So, I was happy to see this letter last year from the Federal Youth Network of the Public Service to their managers. It was wiki created from many sources. The bottom line is that youth seek challenge and ways to give back to the organization including reverse mentoring on technology-related issues.
The National Managers’ Community presented its response last fall saying that we agree on all fronts and reminding everyone for the need for collaboration to reach these goals. For instance, if you want to attend a meeting where a policy you have worked on is being discussed, ask. Even if no one at your level has attended in your recent memory, ask. And, in the same way that managers shouldn’t be waiting for the end of year meeting to raise performance issues, we’d ask the same of the young people on our teams. If there is a something you want to raise, please do it in an ongoing fashion and not on your way out the door (or not at all).
The last paragraph of the managers’ response reads:
“We are heading towards very challenging times. We need your enthusiasm, your questioning, your passion, and when we can’t give you what you need, your understanding. Ours is a long game, measured in years not in days, and patience is a necessary competency. Keep proposing new ideas, new ways of doing, new ways of being. You have allies and friends all over the public service who want many of the things you do. Some of us are young, some of us are just young at heart.”
I couldn’t agree more.