On Work: Everyone's a Mentor

by - Thursday, May 30, 2013

Yesterday, I was a few minutes late to a meeting at work, and I apologized saying I had been in a mentor meeting that ran long.

My boss laughed and asked me how many mentors I have (the answer is a lot), and I joked back that everyone is a mentor.

At the time, I was just laughing along with the flow of the conversation, but last night as I was thinking about it more, I realized how much truth was behind my "everyone's a mentor" statement.

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Penny - one of my very first mentors

I'm a big believer that you can learn something new or pick up some piece of career advice from almost everyone you work with if you take the time to get to know them and find out how they got where they did.

When I was in college, my roommate at the time and current best friend Emily, used to send emails to journalists she admired, asking if they'd take a few minutes to tell her about their career path and share any advice they had for an aspiring journalist. She found that people were usually more than willing to help.

The hard part was just taking the time to write a short email asking them.

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With coworkers at the White House

I'm obviously still in the very early phases of my career. I've been out of college for five and a half years now, and I've been at my current job for nearly five of those years, and I'm certainly still trying to figure out my ultimate career path.

Federal Computer Week cover

I've been lucky to find a job that I've been able to mold into something I truly love, that plays to my strongest skill set, but I know I can always be learning more.

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Just another day on the job

So I've been making it a priority to sit down and talk to people that I think have cool jobs or who are in a position that I could maybe see myself in one day. The meetings have been enlightening, and over the last year or two I've gotten the chance to talk with some really interesting and successful people.
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After every meeting, I leave with a list of notes and ideas and things I could try. Some work, some don't, but they all encourage me to think differently about how I'm approaching my career.

Do you have a mentor, formal or informal? How did you set the relationship up and have you found it valuable?

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3 comments

  1. Good for you! What a great approach for your career happiness. I had a mentor back when I first got into journalism...learned so much from him and I am grateful to this day!

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  2. I love mentoring other people around the office. for the first 10 years I was always the only software developer in the company, so nobody was ever there to mentor me; I always had to figure it out on my own. Now I get to enjoy teaching techniques to younger developers, and watching them adopt my thought patterns is really cool.

    Soon enough you'll be mentoring people.

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  3. Mentoring is very badly needed everywhere in life. In jobs and the career field a mentor is very valuable.

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