Estremera: Mentoring Millennials | SunStar

Estremera: Mentoring Millennials

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Estremera: Mentoring Millennials

Sunday, January 14, 2018

WHERE do broken hearts go? "Sa Dona Vicenta." That was some sort of a joke among the young staff that I have simply because when they get battered and broken because of work or in their personal lives, we talk about it at home (at Dona Vicenta Village) over wine or coffee or whatever is inside my ref. That's just how work-life environment has evolved through the years.

Somehow, as I evolved into this workplace with the millennial generation, I have come to realize that the cushioned environment the generation before prepared for them requires that there is a mentoring environment outside work, where they are allowed to cry, hide in the dark, or just wallow in a vegetative state.

That it is done at home also separate the work from the personal, and they are allowed to chill, because as many of those I have broken in would attest, I can be a slave-driver who wields a whip without mercy when at work.

The lines are drawn. We stem the tears at work, we let it go and flow after. It teaches the young to buckle up and fearlessly attack because there is the place for the brokenhearted if ever they fail. Like many a fledgling, there are graduates. Them who are already capable of flying on their own and thus have already moved out and are living the life they want. There are recidivists, and then there are the new recruits.

Like any undertaking, word gets around and soon you have more people joining in, not necessarily from the same workplace.

In these encounters I get a ringside view of how the Millennial generation thinks, how they process experiences, and what spurs them on. Meaning, those who have sought counsel are not the only ones learning, I too get to see them at their most vulnerable and that is the best insight you can ever get in trying to bridge a generation gap that is wider than ever.

While each individual are fighting different battles and one person can be likened to another, there is a pattern there. The pattern of having been sheltered.

We cannot blame them. My generation was allowed to run wild and free because there were no kidnappers and organ sellers waiting to pounce on us. We waded through mud, crept into the deepest darkest grasslands and crannies, and body-flopped into streams and natural ponds because leptospirosis and dengue and schistosomiasis have never been heard of. There was malaria, yes, but we only heard about it in the news. It wasn't in the immediate environment. It was in some far-away remote village. Now, every parent worries about mosquitoes, and the easiest way to protect the children was to keep them closest to home. (That was before Dengvaxia, of course).

We'd ride the jeepney going home from school ten, 14, 16 kilometers away, and the elders do not worry because someone else will surely make sure they arrive home safely, including the jeepney drivers.

It was a whole different environment we were brought up in, a whole different environment where we learned the ropes of living, of surviving.

It was a different environment this later generation were born into, where they were encouraged to dream big but where the surroundings generate fear; where they were reared inside malls because there are very few grasslands remaining; where they were exposed to the world wide web as they were growing up and realized that there are a whole world of people better than them, and; where they had telenovelas every hour by the hour whose main characters are made to suffer the worst fate and thus somehow, along the way, imbibe the sense of being in a similar pitiful state, while we grew up with just Janice de Belen as Flordeluna from elementary to college and never really saw ourselves in her. She was nothing but a story, she was not us.

These are where all these sob stories are coming from and these are the roads that lead to Dona Vicenta.

Published in the SunStar Davao newspaper on January 14, 2018.

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