The Value of Mentors

Mentors are an important part of one’s career and both personal and professional development, which is why I’ve been eager to develop some for my growth.

I currently have two mentors that pull double duty, as I knew them personally before I worked for them professionally. The relationship that developed was quite organic and moved through several phases before it’s current state. Recently though, I gained a new mentor through the Business Mentoring for the Arts program and have attempted to build the relationship in a much more structured and self-aware manner.

Having someone that wants to help with your development but isn’t already personally invested is a great opportunity. Working with my mentor, I’ve been a lot more effective at carrying out my career exploration as I have someone to be accountable to for the tasks I set for myself. She’s also been helpful in managing my own expectations, especially vital when you have so many competing priorities for attention and an overwhelming desire to deliver outstanding work in all areas.

My current month’s mentorship goal is to identify potential candidates for informational interviews for four self-selected careers: policy analyst, public relations, local government, and career development. Through taking with people doing things that interest me, I’ll hopefully get a better idea where I’m going to be the most successful and happy. Coming out of our last session, we identified the need to be challenged and have an opportunity to grow as being the most important aspects of a job for me, so I’ll have to tailor my questions around answering that.

Once I’ve made contact and set up interviews, I’m going to be keeping some of Penelope Trunk advice at hand. I’ve really benefited from her article, “How I Got My Current Favorite Mentor“, which has already helped give me some ideas about the role of a mentee and will I think add another component to the informational interviews — the chance to interview for new potential mentors.

All this studying of mentorship roles should really come in handy when I become a mentor for the next BMA group. Delivering a workshop on my area of expertise, I think it’s clear I’ll be able to help out a mentee with making the transition from school life to career life. And if I need to, I can always ask a mentor for advice.

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