Posts Tagged ‘mentors’

How to be a Good Mentee to a Mentor

February 2nd, 2015 No comments

This week I was discussing with a friend the importance of mentors for your own work. Someone who has experience of whatever it is you are trying to do, who can be a good source of knowledge for the progress of your work. To whom you can ask questions.

But how the hell do you find such a useful person? Who actually wants to be a mentor?

I think you just write to people and see who responds. Because I was thinking that if someone asked, I would like to be a mentor. It’s flattering for someone to think you have knowledge to impart. (Whether I do or not is not up to me to know.)

But although I haven’t been a mentor myself, I’ve been around other mentors. And I’ve seen some v. bad mentees. As in mentees who ensure their mentor would never be a mentor again.

So here’s my suggestions for how to be a good mentee:

  1. Be self-reliant. Don’t expect being a mentee to mean sitting around watching your mentor work and waiting to be asked to do something. That’s school work experience, and this is not the same thing. A bored person in the corner induces anxiety in mentors. Mentors are not wanting anxiety from the relationship.
  2. Propose a schedule for your interactions with your mentor. Make it as easy on them as you can. Do not propose, ‘I would like to come and shadow you work for three months from next Monday. I am vegetarian.’
  3. Keep religiously to the schedule you devise. Be ultra reliable. Be more reliable than on a first date.
  4. Don’t act as though your mentor is a parent and needs to worry about you. Act as though you’re working with them and as though you are there to help if you can.
  5. Take your own work with you that you can get on with when your mentor needs to work on something alone.
  6. Set out in your opening email/letter to your mentor how you are going to do all these things.