I was recently interviewed by UXPA UK as part of their series Meet the UXPA Mentors, where I have been a registered mentor since 2015, taking on around 4-5 students a year and enjoy every one of them.
Being a mentor is a strange label to have, I don’t consider myself to be sagely in any way, or wise. I do acknowledge that I have been working since 1998 in one field or another in technology and with that comes a lot of experiences, lessons learned and mistakes made.
The people I have mentored to-date have been unique in their personal needs and desires to progress their careers but with a common thread joining them together. They are not getting the support, encouragement and quality time from their managers in the workplace.
This manifests in many different ways, again each case is unique to the circumstance they find themselves in and contrary to the assumption you may have some of the time there is the support to grow and try new things but it comes with not having anyone to guide you on how to go about it.
Should you seek out a mentor?
The value of a mentor is immense. I’ve only ever had two people I feel confident in saying were great mentors to me but neither of them would say that’s what they did or even realise it.
A mentor is someone who you have built a trusting relationship with, that wants to see you succeed, that is willing and eager to work with you on your challenges and to teach you new skills but there is a far bigger role to be played, the role of being your confidant.
The two people I look up to always had time for me, would take entire days out of their schedule to work with me on a problem, or to understand me, my mind and my feelings with the intention of allowing me to figure out what was happening with gentle steering to a positive outcome.
Their efforts helped shape me as a person just as much as they influenced the paths I took in my career.
I hope that I provide that same feeling to those who are looking for the same and interesting in establishing a relationship that will blossom over many years.
If you read the interview, linked below and like what you I say, let’s talk about the challenges you’re facing today.