Open Menu
Open Menu

Photo credit: YOUTH.SG/AUDREY LEONG

Turning the tables on learning

Proving your worth as a millennial with reverse mentorship.

Audrey Leong


Published: 21 September 2016, 3:13 AM

It was at a family dinner that my mother asked the dreaded question: “Audrey, can I add you on Facebook?”

Like many youths, there was no way I would let my mother see all those embarrassing photos of me on Facebook. But while I told her that I was uncomfortable about doing that, I agreed to show her how to add her other friends.

That was the day I became my family’s personal IT helpdesk. Before I knew it, even my grandmother was boasting that she didn’t need a physical Bible anymore because “Audrey downloaded one for me”.

While teaching our older family members how to silence their phones or download apps might sometimes feel like a chore, it’s all part of the growing trend of reverse mentorship.

What is reverse mentorship?

Reverse mentorship happens when the tables of learning are turned on its head. Millennials (like you and me) teach the older generation (your parents or grandparents) how to make use of common technology to improve their own lives or, increasingly, their businesses.

Do a Google search for the term and you’ll see 10 million articles about why companies should adopt reverse mentorship, although most of the articles are not targeted at us Digital Natives.
WHO’D HAVE THOUGHT THAT ONE DAY YOUR FACEBOOK-ING SKILLS WOULD COME IN SO HANDY?

So what's in it for us?

First off, you’ll be helping all millennials to prove our worth to the working world. Say goodbye to being called the “Strawberry generation” and “generation of instant noodles”, because this is our time to shine.

Without us, who would teach companies about Instagram stories and posting at the right time to ensure that there will be the most views? Who will teach them about which filters to use on the company Snapchat or what to post on Twitter? It’s the Digital Natives to the rescue!

As someone whose parents still send several versions of emails and text messages to coordinate a simple family outing, I found that reverse mentoring has helped make everyone’s life much easier. Getting everyone on Google Docs has helped streamline our family’s coordination and brought us up to date with 2016’s technology.

GONE ARE THE DAYS OF CROWDING OVER ONE SCREEN.
THANK HEAVENS FOR GOOGLE DOCS.
PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTH.SG/AUDREY LEONG

With the speed at which the world is changing, even we might get left behind in the dust of innovation soon. The future is not just about mentoring the younger generation, but also those older (even just by a few years) than you.

Who knows? In future you might need to rely on your younger sibling to teach you about the next big thing, so you better be a role model of reverse mentorship to them now!


You may like these

Top 10 Reads