I know you’ve heard the advice to secure a mentor at work. The connections you make there can land you job security, great references for other positions and an accelerated track to promotions. Beyond those bonuses comes the benefit of someone who is willing to show you the ropes and help you maximize your experiences in the office. But are you making the best use of your mentor? Or could you missing out on some of the opportunities within your reach? We’ve got a quick quiz to assess the areas of opportunity to ensure you're Super Mentee.
1) If you scored that promotion you’ve been seeking at work, is that something that you share with your mentor?
A) No, I don’t think it’s necessary for them to know.
B) Yes, but probably at a later time. They’ll find out eventually.
C) Yes, my mentor is one of the first people I tell.
2) How often do you see or talk to your mentor?
A) I’ll call or make an appointment with them if I need something or if something goes wrong. I don’t want to bug them.
B) We make sure to see or talk to each other at least once a month.
C) I can’t go more than a week without talking to my mentor.
3) When you speak to your mentor, which of these is the most true to your personal experience?
A) I come to the meeting waiting to hear what they have to tell me.
B) I ask a few questions, but I don’t want to ask too many for fear of looking clueless.
C) I let my mentor tell me what I need to hear, but I also come prepared with a ton of questions. I trust they won’t judge me for my curiosities.
4) If your mentor isn’t giving you something you need, how do you react?
A) I would probably keep quiet, they’re doing me a favor.
B) I might hint at it, but I wouldn’t outright say that I think they are coming up short.
C) Me and my mentor are close enough that I think I would confront them in a friendly way and ask them for what I feel like I’m not getting. We can work through the problem together.
5) How much do you know about your mentor’s career and goals?
A) I know their position, but that’s about it.
B) They tell me some things about their career and I think I know their goals from observation.
C) I know all about their position, what it involves, and what they are looking to do more of in their careers.
6) Have you and your mentor set goals for your relationship?
A) I just wanted a mentor and they were willing to help.
B) We are working together so that I can advance. We set some goals in the beginning but kind of let go of them as time went on.
C) We have goals for both of us in this relationship that we update regularly. Among them my mentor will guide me, and I will provide an outlet for them to express their leadership and advice.
7) What was important for you when choosing your mentor?
A) They have the job I want
B) They have a job I would be interested in and they were always outgoing and nice to me.
C) They are outgoing, determined and not stagnant in their career, while also being sociable and willing to give advice.
8) Do you and your mentor have anything in common besides work?
A) No, but I don’t think that matters
B) We come from very different backgrounds but have at least one thing in common
C) Yes! We are like kindred spirits. Our similarities help to relate our experiences.
9) Does your mentor have a mentor?
A) I have no clue.
B) No, they have the job they want.
C) Yes, I’ve met them and they are helping my mentor to accomplish their career goals as well.
IF YOU SCORED...
You have a mentor. That’s a great first step, but there’s more to the process than simply securing someone so take a few moments to evaluate the mentor you have and your relationship. A good first step would be to establish goals that you both want to accomplish. Beyond just “get a pay raise” or “earn a promotion,” you should outlines ambitions for specific career milestones or personal achievements. After your goals are set, determine how often you want to communicate. Don’t just talk when it’s convenient or when you need something. Instead incorporate your mentor into your routine. From here you can both grow, and you and your mentor will be a lot more successful in your goals.
You’ve got a mentor, and you two are off to a good start. Don’t let your relationship get stagnant. Establish more frequent conversations, and update those goals that you came up with upon beginning your mentorship. Quit worrying about if you’ll bug your mentor. If you’ve improved your communication to where it should be, you will be able to tell them everything you need and they will be able to tell you everything they can provide. If those things aren’t mutually exclusive, don’t be afraid to have more than one mentor. It’s not taboo, but better not to ask someone for something they don’t feel they can give you. You’re on the right track, keep it up!
You have a mentor and that person seems to be perfect for you. You regularly establish and update goals, communicate frequently and work on what each of you needs. You seem to have mastered the mentor, but don’t give up now. It can be easy to fall into complacency or too casual of friendship, but make sure the relationship stays professional and that you don’t get too comfortable in your routine. Switch up what you do with your mentor to keep the relationship fresh.