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The Misery of Mentoring Millennials

Younger workers are shunning the one-on-one mentorship model of the past in favor of a social network
The Misery of Mentoring Millennials
Illustration by Al Murphy

When Christina Wallace, then 25, started a job at a management consulting firm in 2009, she was assigned two mentors: one, a career counselor; the other, an office-culture guru. “It all felt very awkward and forced,” she says.

So in the years since, Wallace has taken a different approach. “I’ve curated a personal board of advisers who range from peers to professionals spanning generations and industries,” she says. “I lean on different mentors for different things and often provide them with just as much mentorship as I take.” Her assigned career guide’s role was to gather feedback from Wallace’s bosses and funnel it back to her. “It was like a game of telephone, only the game was with my career.” Her new advisers connected her with “multiple interesting people” and “cool companies”—and helped her land her current gig before it was posted as a job listing.