Supporters and Mentors

Hi, how are you?

Did you spend some time researching what you would like to do in life?

Remember, it’s researching that will save you money and time. You don’t want to invest heavily in something and then after for six years of schooling and apprenticeship find out that you really don’t like to do the job that you just learned. Believe it or not, this happens to many people.

Part of your research should be finding people who are willing to talk with you and give you some encouragement towards your goals. Trying to improve, can feel like trying to move mountains.  Having people who are willing to help mentor you is a great benefit to your work and your morale.  Find your supporters and invite them to be on your team as mentors, collaborators, partners or friends.

Most people are proud of what they do, and it is easy to get people who will talk with you for 20 minutes. It is easier if they can feel you are not going to put them on the spot, ask for a job, or take too much time from them. Below we have some do’s and dont’s and some ideas on finding and setting up mentors.

Ask those who you admire and look up to in your profession if it would be all right for you to call them some time with a question.  People who rise up in their business are frequently proud of what they do.  Professionals like to talk with others about what they do and how it helps others.  Most of them usually make time (20 minutes or so) to talk to someone or answer a few questions. 

As the person seeking the advice of a professional or mentor, it is important you not waste their time.  When you talk with them, have questions ready to go.  Pay attention to them.  Ask follow-up questions; however, do not argue with them.  Whatever you do, do not ask a professional who is giving you a little of their time for a job.  Asking for a job would put them in an uncomfortable position and cause the interview to end prematurely.  If they ask you, then you can give them a copy of your resume.

An Exercise in Collaboration

Call ten supportive friends and ten people whom you respect and who work in the same profession you want to work in.  Tell the friends what you are doing and ask if they could be part of your support group. Ask if you could speak to them, on occasion, about what you are doing. 

Ask the professionals if you could ask them a question now and then, and count them as a mentor.  Keep track of who says yes.  This looks hard, and you will be surprised how easy this exercise ends up being.

What does a new person to an industry want to know what they want to become?  Each of us will have different questions.  Some of these issues may be:

  1. What does the professional I want to become actually do?
  2. What are the pros and cons of the profession I am going into?
  3. What does the job I want to go to pay?
  4. What are the milestones in the business that I should look for to tell me I am doing well?
  5. Who are the industry leaders in my profession and what sets them apart?
  6. How much do the industry leaders make?
  7. What is an industry leader’s lifestyle in my desired profession like?

Many people will give you 20 minutes to ask a few questions about what they do and how their business actually works.  If you ask to talk to anyone, they will probably say yes.  When you meet with them, you want to ask real and specific questions and honor the time limit agreed to unless they wish to spend more time with you

Here are some Dos and Don’ts.

Do

  1. Have questions ready.
    1. It is hard to think of the right questions on the spot.
  2. Be polite, the person you are talking to is freely giving their time.
  3. If you have questions based on what the professional says go ahead and ask them.
  4. Be on time.
  5. Dress professionally.

Do Not

  1. Ask questions that you can find out from their (or their companies) Website.
    1. Do your research.
  2. Ask them for a job.
    1. Asking for a job often puts them on the spot and ends the interview.
  3. Waste their time.
  4. Dress or act unprofessional.

Next time, we will evaluate the desired positions in relation to new technology that is taking over many positions. 

Have a wonderful day.

 

Author: Mike Balof

Director Mike Balof, M Ed, develops intensive, interactive courses for contract manufacturing and nonprofit institutions. He taught youth and adults seeking employment to represent better themselves, leading many of them to successful careers. Mike taught in corporate training, teaching adults and high school students to build computers, work as a team, and identify and fix problems using a myriad of tools from Total Quality Management(TQM), to 8-D, to Six Sigma. Now, Mike turns his talents to helping businesses and individuals reach their objectives and desires through continuous performance improvement. As we start to live in a post knowledge world, where a doubling of common knowledge shrinks from moths to days, our essential skills will include how we interact with those around us. Knowledge will already be everywhere and changing too fast to stake a particular claim. Mike believes there is hope for growth and opportunity for everyone from each years’ School dropouts to the retired baby boomers to retool and find a new career. Mike strives to present students of all ages, abilities and means with a full plate of options for learning from free and nearly free courses widely available today on the internet, and to other significant alternatives to the deep debt that so many students end up owing for education.

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