Back in 2005 before I left to do my MBA, my father gave me some unsolicited advice. He suggested I go and find a mentor. Now- while I respected and loved my father, he was a smart guy, and a talented physician, but he wasn’t a business man and didn’t have great instincts in that regard, so when he gave me career or business advice, I would take it with a grain of salt.
That advice turned out to be good advice though.
Three years later after I finished my MBA and got my first job as a Project Manager, then moved to another job as a project manager, the owner and I got along and he began mentoring me. I would pass ideas by him, he would give me frank advice that I could trust wouldn’t be sugar coated. (I hate sugar coating! Don’t be mean about things, but too much sugar coating can obfuscate the end message and give you Type II diabetes). He in turn had a mentor whose input he valued and many significant decisions would go by him.
After he sold the company and we both moved on, we went for lunch a few times afterwards. When I needed his advice on something, I’d ring him up and he was always happy to help. He also introduced me to some very helpful contacts.
At my new job, I have two bosses- one is the account side and the other is the senior project manager. I’m finding myself falling into menteeship with the project manager and it seems like a void is getting filled. At the same time, I’ve found myself mentoring younger project managers- a role which I also don’t mind.
So, in closing- take the doctor’s advice: Get a mentor. Be a mentor.