I’ve never had a formal mentor arrangement with anyone. It wasn’t for lack of trying, but perhaps I’ve always associated with folks who weren’t closers. And when feeling closed upon by my “mentors,” I backed away. Perhaps that is the way these things are supposed to work; a support system of bumper rails without risk of co-dependency.
Looking back, when asked to be someone’s mentor, my first question was always, “What do you want?” It was almost always met with indecision. “I just want some help. My career seems to be stalled, I’m feeling frustrated and taken for granted. I want to be more like you” was a common reply. Little did any of these poor, hapless, rudderless folks know that I was just as lost. I guess I just hid it better.
But without a direction, without knowing what they wanted, I could not help. But I tried anyway, helping perhaps to define the direction, the needs and wants and winding the charge own the path. But because the direction did not come from the fire in the gut, it usually burned quickly, smoldered and finally died. Most drifted off, afraid somehow to tell me they no longer wanted to be mentored.
For myself, I’ve always wanted a mentor and have attracted a few. But what started out as a mentor relationship slowly evolved into someone older guiding me into a career they wished they had, not what I wanted. We usually parted without a goodbye.
And now blogging has replaced the need to mentor for me. If any of my ramblings are helpful in any way, take them, use them and make them your own. But don’t ask me for more than I am willing to give here; both of us will be disappointed and part strangers.
This mentor round-table challenge was thrown out by Holly Hoffman of WorkLoveLife.com