For the youth in crossroads – students in high school, college & those who have recently started working.
Many years back, when I attended the training on Coaching and Mentoring, I heard the word mentee for the first time. Mentee is the person who has a mentor assigned and is being groomed for a certain role in her current organization. In a typical organization with established HR policies, a mentor is assigned as a part of the career progression of selected high potential employees. US Marines returning from war zones are mentored by experts so that they can adapt faster in the normal society and their new jobs. A Mentor-mentee relationship automatically flourishes over time. Sometimes a mentor can also be the coach who can train the mentee on the desired skills. Research have shown that people with mentors are more successful in achieving their career goals.
Having decided to pursue Medicine as a career after Class XII, a student starts preparing for one of the toughest exams. Now how do one go about preparing for this exam. The simplest way for the student is to join a coaching institute or procure study materials through similar institutes. What if the student speaks to a senior who is currently studying a course in Medicine or is practicing Doctor? She will get many more ideas, suggestions and inputs of the way the preparation can be done. And what if the student speaks to the same senior on a regular basis right from preparation of the exam to even studying the course itself and above all the overall life of a Doctor’s profession. The knowledge of the student regarding his career goal will be far more and he can paint a mental picture having clarified all his doubts. This is what a mentoring process is all about. An experienced person in the field helping and guiding a junior who wants to pursue the same field. Same goes for other professions including Engineer, IAS Officer, Lawyer, Banker, Chartered Accountant, Air Hostess, Nurse, Physiotherapist, Fitness Trainer, Musician, Model, Journalist, Sportstar, Projects Managers, Management Consultants, Political & Social Leaders/Activist and the list goes on. While the student become much more aware of the profession she has chosen as her career, the mentor can even help in validating if the student has chosen a wrong career. Choosing the wrong career and not keeping options to fall back is a big mistake most youth commit today in our society.
Whether it is about a student not sure about her style of preparation for the board exam or a student not sure what subject to choose after Class XII, or someone looking for her first job or trying to achieve a higher role in her career, a mentor is the answer to many questions which arises in every stage of one’s career. Be it about building self esteem, maintaining positive attitude, clarifying doubts related to behavioral attributes, a mentor is someone whom you can walk up to so that you can have all your doubts cleared. A mentor may not have all the answers for you but she will fetch that information or show you the source where the information is available. Sometimes just talking to the mentor makes things clearer for the mentee. Mentoring even goes to the level of shaping a new CEO to be successful in his role.
Throughout my career counseling experience, what I have come across is that our youth today are not inquisitive enough about their dream careers. They seldom clarify their doubts in the early stages. This leads to frustrations and discontentment at the later stages of their lives. ‘I wish there was someone who could have guided me’ – is the standard line for those who have not manged to achieve their goals. And above all, I have come across many who claim they know everything and they think they do not require any help. Or let’s put it straight that there are many who believes that mentoring is not required at all or it is a sheer waste of time. This is a misconception and we need to overcome this myth. Many of us already have mentors in the form of parents, teachers and seniors who are helping us shape our careers. Trust me, even today, every time when I face challenges, I still look up to the same Leikai seniors whom I have been in touch with since my school days. And I also have my ex-boss who is my mentor and my good friend. Surprisingly, they seem to have gone through the same kind of challenges I face today and they are able to provide solutions based on what they have experienced. Beyond this, I have also managed to build mentors in the organisations that I have worked so far and social organisations I am attached with. These mentors have really helped me understand the legacy – social and political dynamics, and many behavioral changes that I need to undergo as I take up new roles in my professional and personal life.
So my beloved youth who are in the crossroads of your careers, there are many experienced seniors out there who are just waiting to be your mentors. Take the bold step today and connect with your mentor via e-mail, phone or a face-to-face interaction. Talk to them on a regular basis even when you do not have any questions. Meet them over a cup of green tea and build an ever lasting relationship with your mentor. Remember to find new mentors as you move ahead with your career. Your mentors will ultimately become your friend, your well wisher and above all a person who will guide you throughout your life.
Here’s wishing you success in your careers. Cheers!!
The author is a career counselor. With more than 13 years of corporate industry exposure, he has been engaged with student mentorship at MIMS, Manipur University. The author can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org (Published in The Sangai Express Sunday edition 6-Jan-13.)
* The above article is being sent to KanglaOnline by Sapam Shyamananda