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I Need a Mentor

need a mentorWhenever I think about developing a relationship with a mentor, I think to myself, “Hind sight is always 20/20.”

My First Mentor

As a new college graduate, I was thrilled to accept an entry-level position at a large, global corporation.

This corporation offered many opportunities for advancement, which included the encouragement of finding a mentor from within.  I saw this chance to network with a mentor as golden.  My relationship with my self-selected mentor quickly grew.  We engaged in conversations of how other entry-level employees volunteered to participate in various projects and, as a result, were promoted to managerial positions.  She critiqued my job performance so I could improve.

My mentor was a supportive role-model.  So, I thought.  Our relationship turned for the worse when I disclosed to my mentor that another co-worker was extremely rude to me.  My co-worker would constantly speak with sarcasm and harshness during our conversations.

I explained to my mentor that I did not enjoy interacting with this co-worker and needed to address this issue.  Without my consent, my mentor immediately called my co-worker and unsympathetically demanded my co-worker to apologize to me over the telephone.  The apology came in a meek, shaky voice, not the voice of a mature woman.  I accepted the apology and returned to work.  My mentor was so proud of her actions.  She smiled from ear-to-ear for the remainder of the day.  But, I was so embarrassed because of my mentor’s inappropriate behavior. The punishment did not match the crime.

The issue with my co-worker needed to be resolved but not in that manner.  I was never able to look the co-worker in her face since the incident.  And, needless to say, my relationship with my mentor ended.

Why you need a Mentor?

The relationship of a mentee and mentor should be meaningful and resourceful.  And, the mentee plays a pivotal role in the development of this relationship by implementing the following steps:

The relationship of a mentee and mentor should be meaningful and resourceful.  And, the mentee plays a pivotal role in the development of this relationship by implementing the following steps:

Select a mentor who wants to participate in a mentee/mentor relationship.   Your mentor should be an experienced professional but not necessarily a professional within your field because some skill sets are universal to all professions and must be mastered regardless of your occupation.

Be clear in what you expect from the relationship.  Mentors can play many roles.  A mentor can expand your professional network.  A mentor assist with the development and implementation your professional growth plan.  A mentor can explain to you the unwritten rules of the work environment and culture.  Or, a mentor can solely provide professional advice on work issues and/or concerns.

Specify the amount of time you are willing to devote to the relationship and specify the amount of time you request your mentor to devote to the relationship.

A mentor should not be controlling.  The mentor should not demand that you follow his/her actions or advice.  The mentor should not violate the confidentiality that must be maintained in the relationship.

The mentee should not misuse the mentor’s name in order to obtain favors.  “If you do not do what I say, I will report you to (Name of Mentor).”  And, similar to the mentor, the mentee must maintain a code of confidentiality.

Over the years, I have developed more fruitful mentee/mentor relationships that truly added to my professional life.  The aforementioned relationship taught me what I should expect and what I should not tolerate, which was a lesson well learned.

Dorothy HandfieldDorothy C. Handfield is Founder/Owner of DCH Consulting Services, LLC.  As a Workforce Consultant, she assists job seekers to transform into highly qualified candidates who get and keep their dream jobs.  Follow: Twitter, Instagram @consultingdch and LinkedIn – Dorothy C. Handfield

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