Why its so important to have a mentor.

Have you ever wanted to ask a question to someone, who had been there, done that and learned from it? With starting my first real job out of college I knew I would need someone to bounce ideas off of and someone to gain knowledge from. Debbie is that for me.

Debbie and I started at the same time at my last company about two years ago. Although, she was in a different department we hit it off. She has become not only a great friend, but an inspiring mentor. I asked Debbie to be my mentor and learn as much as I could from her. Debbie’s role in the organization may have been a similar role if I would have taken a job closer to my degree (Debbie was in Supply Chain managing customs compliance, I studied International Business).  After a few dinner meetings with Debbie and lots of talk about customs, compliance regulations, port authorities and international trade we decided it would be best to just be friends (sounds like we broke up!).

However, Debbie still played an important role in my career path at my organization. So here is my tribute to her.

Top 5 Lessons I learned from Debbie:

  • Just ask. If you don’t ask, you will never receive. And if waiting on someone else is more your cup of tea, might as well start another pot…
  • It’s a small world after all.  A lot of people don’t realize how small the world really is – so be kind, friendly and genuine. You never know when it will come back to haunt you if you are not.
  • Sometimes it’s better to read it aloud.  You can’t ever proofread enough. Debbie and I read so many things out loud before sending, presenting or printing.
  • Have good friends. That celebrate, cry and laugh with you. Good friends at work makes work fun and interesting – when you invest your time into people’s lives you
    begin to have an impact. I can see the impact that Debbie has left on many people already.
  • Don’t be afraid to speak your mind. This I am pretty good at anyways, but sometimes I would run things past Debbie before I would bring them up. She always knew how to say things best. Say what you mean, mean what you say, but don’t say it

Do you have a mentor or someone you turn to for career advice? What do you gain from that person, and what do they gain from you? If not, go find your own mentor at your workplace and seek them out. It doesn’t have to be anything intense or formal. Learn as much as you can from them – they are much wiser than you (no matter how smart you think you are!) If I would have waited for my organization to create a mentorship program – I would still be waiting.