Take the plunge and get matched — why you are the biggest obstacle to your career development

Don’t miss out on an invaluable connection — find yourself a mentor!

Think being mentored isn’t for you? You might be clued up as to where you’re going and what you need to do. You might even already have some success under your belt. But there’s so much more to mentoring than meets the eye. It doesn’t just benefit you, but also the person mentoring you — and it could end up being one of the most important, not to mention game-changing, relationships of your life. So what’s stopping you? Here are a few reasons why you should take the plunge…

It can make you feel less alone in your industry. If you and your mentor share the same background, it can make work situations seem less intimidating if you know someone else has already faced them and succeeded. A mentor can also offer tips on spotting and dealing with discrimination — particularly if your class, sexuality, gender or race is underrepresented in your industry. As for your mentor, they can have the opportunity to help someone in a similar boat up the ladder, working to improve diversity in their particularly field. So the relationship is just as rewarding for them as it is for you.

You can learn people skills you didn’t know you needed. Working in teams and corporate environments, office politics are an inevitable part of the job. You’ll find yourself having to deal with delicate situations that require a degree of diplomacy. For example, if you don’t agree with a particular strategy or management style, you’ll need to choose your words carefully (especially over emails which can be forwarded on to anyone, FYI). HR departments are great for dealing with day-to-day issues, but they are usually very time-strapped and won’t know the inner workings of your role. Plus they will normally do what is best for the company (i.e. their employer!) — not you. Speaking to a professional who is detached from your company and the situation is great for impartial advice and support. They might even suggest alternative opportunities if your current position isn’t working out. Just remember to be respectful and professional when speaking about other colleagues — you don’t want to look petty and rude. Plus your mentor might even know them if they work in the same field!

It will help you — and them — think about others. Working in a competitive industry, it’s easy to get trapped in a game of one-upmanship and the mentality that you need to “backstab or be stabbed.” This toxic mind-set can have disastrous consequences, not just for your professional reputation but also in other areas of your life. Having a mentor, someone who you feel “has your back” can give you a different perspective on things and encourage you to not feel so threatened by situations and ambitious colleagues. It teaches you the importance of building relationships with others in your field — working with, not against each other. You might even be inspired to mentor junior colleagues yourself. As for your mentor, it will give them a chance to think about someone else and transcend their egotism. So everyone wins.

It will help you learn more about your industry. There’s nothing like having an insider to give you the intel on the key players in your field, which societies and organisations are best to join, which companies are the nicest to work for (and aren’t!) and who best to approach for new opportunities. A mentor can even give you some history and background on your industry, so you can better predict shifts in the market. And for your mentor, having a younger person in their life can make them feel more in touch with your generation — “down with the kids” in other words! You might be able to provide them with some interesting insights yourself, with regards to what’s new and “cool” these days…

And finally — you might end up making a friend as well as a mentor. Having an industry in common, mentors can probably understand and sympathise with work stress and juggling life commitments, sometimes better than friends or partners. So this really can be an invaluable connection on a personal, as well as a professional level. Some people even come to see their mentors as extra members of the family, and vice-versa!

So don’t be an obstacle to your dream career — find your mentor match at Connect Mentors. Click here to get started.

Aerate is a social enterprise that creates and develops scaleable concepts that connect and support people through online platforms and applications.

Aerate is a social enterprise that creates and develops scaleable concepts that connect and support people through online platforms and applications.