Note: Eric Rodriguez is the voice of The Millennial View here at Management Excellence. Eric’s guest posts offer perspectives and insights from the eyes of an early career professional navigating the challenge of today’s workplace.
Everyone wants to achieve success, and those of us new to the workforce are no exception to this rule.
In the quest to climb the corporate ladder many early career professionals plan to go to grad school, work overtime, and some plant their lips firmly on their boss’s posterior hoping to get ahead.
Some of these methods work. Grad school is great; if someone has the time and money, working hard is a cornerstone of success; but it isn’t everything, and sucking up might work although it’s sleazy, shameful, and nobody likes an ass kisser, with the exception of bad management.
The Case for Mentoring:
A simple step that we can engage in to help our careers along is to find a mentor to guide and coach us in the workplace. A great mentor is a blessing because of the knowledge that they have accumulated through years of experience in the corporate jungle and their willingness to pass it on to their mentees.
A mentor knows what it was like to be a newcomer in the workplace. They have experienced success and failure, they probably have had bad bosses, and they have definitely learned lessons that many of us have yet to experience.
There is no silver bullet for success, but working with a good mentor provides an opportunity for seeing our developing careers from a different perspective. We have an opportunity to gain some valuable lessons and apply them towards building a successful livelihood.
A young professional not having a mentor is like a boxer not having a trainer. The boxer, or in this case the newbie, may have tons of talent, but if they don’t have somebody to offer them advice, give constructive criticism, or share stories of their experiences, their chances at winning their bouts in the ring or in the boardroom are limited.
Many of my friends have shared stories on how a mentor saved them from taking a bad job, assisted them in navigating the labyrinth of office politics, or in some cases gave them their first start out of school. Most of my contemporaries appreciate being mentored. We truly want to listen to what other successful professionals have to say about their work experience and learn in the process.
In addition to providing guidance, Mentors also help us see where our careers can go in the future. When we look at our mentors and the things they achieved it plants a positive thought in our head, “If he or she can accomplish these feats – I know that I have the potential to do it as well.”
If it were socially acceptable I would hang a sign outside of my cubicle that would say, Mentors Wanted. That’s how strongly I feel about the power of mentoring.
We all Win:
What mentor wouldn’t be proud of their protégé when they masterfully executed a project or when they see their mentee develop into a polished product? And what protégé wouldn’t think that mentoring hasn’t made them a better employee and made them aware of new approaches to solving problems that they haven’t thought of before?
By working together and engaging in mentoring, we can bridge a gap and form a bond that creates a mutual respect for each other’s talents and experiences. And remember, one day we will be management and there will be a new generation coming into the workplace. If we experience good mentoring from those who came before us in the workplace, we’re going to want to pass that knowledge and experience to the new professionals entering the workforce.
This creates better employees and a better work environment. Mentors should always be wanted and welcomed in any career.