Will Lukang, PMP, CSM, CLDC
In 2000, I left my job at a big five accounting firm because I was frustrated that my career was going nowhere. Because I was eager to move on, I took an opportunity to go back and work as a consultant. Two years earlier, I had quit a consulting assignment to work fulltime to climb the proverbial corporate ladder. You’ll ask, why go back when I want to move up the corporate ladder? Back then I made a decision in haste, but looking back I was not sure why. Maybe it was my gut feeling that it was time to move on.
That move to work as a consultant ended up being the best move of my career. Someone took me under his wing and invested the time to show me the ropes and the lay of the land of the company. Back then I had no concept of mentoring, but I was truly thankful and felt blessed. Being technically strong in getting my job, I lacked the skills needed to succeed in the long run. I would not have worked for the manager if not for the dot-net boom that led to the departure of most of the members of the team. When he was introduced to the team, he came across as down to earth and made a good impression to the remaining members of the team.
After the initial meeting, I did some research and found out that he’s well respected by a lot of people and known to be a great leader. During our initial one-on-one, he told me that he wanted me to stay and work for him as he was trying to rebuild the team. He asked me what I wanted to do and to get back to him. Since I really wanted to be an employee, I told him on my next meeting that I wanted to have the chance to be the team leader. He said that he was not sure about it, but was willing to give me a chance. I was really thankful that he took the chance. In the end, I spent the best 7 years of my career at that firm.
What’s my point for this post?
1) Mentoring is a big part of our progress and success.
2) By identifying our weaknesses and areas of improvement, we can seek mentors who are proficient in those fields.
3) It is important to demonstrate to the mentor that you value them and make an effort to seek their advice.
4) You can have more than one mentor, because each mentor provides certain expertise that can help you focus on your development needs.
5) Be mindful of their time and make sure that you write down action items and provide status updates to your mentor. This way they know that you’re not wasting their time.
6) Mentoring alone will not make you successful; you need to work hard and do your job.
7) As you benefit from a mentor, pay it forward and mentor other people.
In closing, a mentor can help you learn more about yourself and develop the necessary skills that can help you in your career. Do some researches before you seek someone to be your mentor; make sure that you’ll keep the commitment and pay it forward. A mentoring relationship does not have to be formal. An informal mentoring relationship is equally valuable, depending on your situation.
Go seek a mentor and mentor others to pay it forward.