After posing this question to a number of different groups about a month ago, including LinkedIn and High Output, the response has been incredible.

I had aggregated a number of comments in my original post. After responding to some of the comments a few days ago, there was a resurgence in interest from new readers, including a great comment from a mentee. So here some of the more recent comments:

  1. Comment from Elizabeth Bonner – As the manager of our professional mentoring program, I appreciate the comments made, particulalry around accountabilty! It is number one in my view as it pertains to the personal responsibilty that we must all take for our own professional development. It is incumbent that each of us accept that we are in the ‘driver’s seat’!In my experience, it has been the case all too often that mentees come into our program and have unrealistic expectaions around what their role is and that of their mentor. We have gone to the extent of including in our resource and orientation materials an Accountabilty Contract to ensure that it is understood that this ‘relationship’ must be ‘mentee-driven’ and ‘mentor-supported’, and further that it remains the responsibility of the mentee to establish their goals and objectives at the outset in order for the relationship to succeed.
  2. Comment from Isabella Mori on BEING a mentor – Something that is often not that obvious: By being someone’s mentor, you also contribute to them. Mentoring is very satisfying for a number of reasons. For example, it feels good to help someone, it helps one to think more deeply about one’s career and, let’s be honest, it strokes your ego!
  3. Comment from Gurjeet Singh on how mentors have affected him as a mentee – I’m a pretty young alumnus, only 22 and having just graduated from SFU Biz last June, but I felt I needed to chime in on this discussion as my mentors have had a great influence on me, especially during these hard economic times. I’d say I have about 4 true mentors, 3 of them are from the Business Faculty itself, and they have all been very instrumental in my growth, not only as a student, but as a member of society. I just wanted to point out 3 ways they’ve really helped me out.

#1 – Tapping into the “hidden” job market

It was through one of them that I was able to land a job the day after I graduated from SFU. It was a great leg up because at the time, the job market for soon-to-be grads was pretty barren/competitive. It wasn’t an ideal job but I was well-qualified for it and my mentor was able to put in a good word about me and my accomplishments while at SFU and play up my potential, in lieu of work experience.

#2 – Showing me the light where it seems dark AKA Words of encouragement

I ended up leaving the company after 10 months. It just wasn’t right for me. I’ve been in the job market now for 2 months and it’s been really tough because now, after my last experience, I’m holding out for jobs that I really want to do or companies I really want to work for.

I went to go visit my mentors, separately. They all reassured me that I did the right thing. They all told me stories about when they did the EXACT same thing: leaving a job they were unhappy with (making sure they had the savings to sustain them) and starting over fresh. I really look up to my 4 mentors and to hear that all 4 of them did the exact same thing that I did, and seeing how successful they are, makes me feel better about the choices I’ve made thus far. They told me to “never settle” and that I should keep working at it. It was a great boost and gave me my “second wind.”

#3 – Giving great personal/job advice

This one’s obvious but it’s important and should not be understated by any means. The great advice and words of wisdom my mentors have bestowed on me have been a fantastic tool. They’ve always been careful of telling me what to do, they always just ask questions and make me search myself for the answers. It’s frustrating for a young’in like me, we’d rather you tell us what to do haha, but in the end, making me look deep inside to find the answers has always been more beneficial.

I hope to get back on my feet soon and then “pay it forward” by mentoring someone one day as well.