The obligation to mentor

21 Oct

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.Mentor

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.

BUDDHAStill 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.


3 Responses to “The obligation to mentor”

  1. Z October 21, 2009 at 6:00 pm #

    I remember Mr. Brown who was my mentor in McCann-Erickson in Vancouver. Very cool Dude. I’ve learned from him that you can have fun, occasionally act silly, and still be respected working in ad business if you do it right. Thanks to him I still have passion and enjoy working in advertising. Remembering how much his mentorship meant to me I just proposed starting Creative Internship Program for my agency. Thanks, Doug!!

  2. dougbrowncreative October 21, 2009 at 6:39 pm #

    Zoran! What a fantastic idea – love it. Totally made this post worth something.

  3. Manu October 22, 2009 at 4:07 pm #

    Well said.

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