Heart of the Matter

Andy Chan's Blog for Parents, Mentors and Teachers

And I want a mentor

“I am looking for a challenging job that pays well in a fast-growing company with a great culture… and I want a mentor.”

“You want your manager to be your mentor?”, I clarify.

“Yes. That’s what I want. I really need someone to mentor me – to watch over my career and guide me to be successful.”

Dream on. Sorry to burst the bubble, but it’s hard enough to find a mentor who is not your manager. Today, it’s hard enough to just find a job.

To expect your next manager to be your mentor too is asking way too much. And not just because of the ugly job market. This truth holds in any job market – even a hot one.

Managers have their hands full just managing the people and the business. Honestly, it’s the rare manager who is considered outstanding by his or her employees. And many of those managers are not mentors to their employees. If you have one now or have had one in the past, be thankful. Be very thankful.

In today’s free agent world, embrace career self-reliance where you own your career and professional development. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you will find a manager or company who will be a willing and capable mentor and closely watch over you.

Rather than dreaming about one mentor who’s also your manager, consider developing a set of advisors who you can turn to for perspective, advice, and honest, direct feedback. Sometimes called a personal advisory board, each person has unique experience and knowledge to help you with specific issue.

You can develop mentor relationships with a variety of people. And they don’t have to work inside your company. In fact, you will benefit greatly if they don’t.

It may turn out that you get a challenging job that pays well in a fast-growing company with a great culture. And your manager turns out to be outstanding… and your mentor. If so, congratulations!

Do you have a mentor? How did you find your mentor? Is it your manager?

Category: Job/Internship Search, Tips for Students