It doesn’t really matter what industry you work in: the future of it is in the hands of those who haven’t yet entered it. That’s why we should support our institutions of higher learning, and why we should always make ourselves available to mentor those who sincerely desire to get into our businesses.
We have a lot to offer: our own career trajectories, what we learned from our screw-ups, sage advice, and caramelized reminiscences.
I didn’t have a mentor myself. I scraped my way into advertising through sheer bloody-mindedness. But it took me a long time to get to grips with the business and I made a lot of humiliating blunders along the way.
So I determined early on that I would share what I know with anyone who was as pig-headed as I was and asked for help. And guess what? Mentoring has become the most rewarding part of my job.
Oh, I know: you have no time. But an hour every other week isn’t going to kill you and it could very well change a student’s life.
But there’s more to it than that. Being a mentor instills in your mentee the values of mentorship, which they will then pay forward as they develop in their own careers. That’s the big win for everyone.
Still don’t think you have the time? Here’s what Buddha – by all reports, a great guy – said: Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened.
If you don’t already have someone you are mentoring, why not go find one. Go to your community college or university, or simply extend the invitation to one of the writers of those countless enquiry emails we find in our inboxes.
You reading this> yes, you. Didn’t someone help you when you were trying to get a foot in the door? C’mon. Payback time.