An Asset to Your Career-Development Cache
There are a billion stereotypes currently floating the earth. That might be a slight exaggeration, but the stereotypes currently churned and rechurned by society run the full spectrum of recipients in all races, sexes, careers, religions, etc. Some are positive and some are negative. If you as an information technology professional have inadvertently fallen prey to the stereotype of the loner IT guy or gal more interested in his or her computer than an actual person, you may be doing yourself a disservice career-wise.
Obviously, stereotypes wouldn’t exist if some people didn’t fall into certain molds, but that uncomfortable, lonely mentality could cause you to miss out on a free and extremely beneficial career-development aid: a mentor.
A mentor is someone who’s been where you’re trying to go and, through benefit of job longevity and resulting experiences, has valuable information that you can use to cut down the brambles and fill in the pot holes that might otherwise trip you up on your career path. Mentoring can help improve your technical skills and leadership abilities, aid you in making valuable contacts within your current company or within your industry, and introduce you to or educate you about other departments or areas in your organization that you may want to explore for potential advancement opportunities. A mentor can help you see things that you might miss on your own, which improves your self-awareness and your self-discipline when correcting areas in your own character that might benefit from development or removing bad habits that could stand in the way of you achieving your goals.
A mentor can act as a sounding board where you can try out new ideas or skills and safely take risks before you leave the nest, so to speak. A mentor can ease your transition into a new gig or smooth the path to that coveted position by helping you evaluate your career plans and goals. It’s a case of two heads being better than one. If one of those heads is filled with information and experience that you don’t have but may need, it might be wise to consider a mentor. Next week, I’ll give you a few insights on what to look for in a potential mentor and some tips on how to approach that person and ask for their help.