Very recently, I received a calendar appointment from my boss for a sit down meeting. Before I could accept it several thoughts went through my mind: Have they noticed my excessive Internet use? Are they down-sizing and I'm being laid off? Did I totally screw up some big project and cost the company millions?? I nervously hit "Accept" and mentally prepared myself for the meeting, which would take place just after my normal lunch time (but of course I was too nervous to eat). When the clock neared the appointed time, I made my way to his office. When I entered, I noticed that he was smiling so I knew it couldn't be too bad. In fact, his smile relaxed me and the first thing I said jokingly was, "I'm scared." He laughed and offered me a seat. He started talking about changes in the company and opportunity and my performance in the time that I've been there. I was trying to listen to him and at the same time listen to the thoughts in my head: WHERE IS HE GOING WITH THIS?? Then he said it: "We would like to offer you a promotion." YES!!
Since receiving the promotion I started thinking about the people in the company who have been my biggest cheerleaders. I wanted to be sure to thank them. Then I started thinking about one in particular whom I've worked with a lot. I knew that she probably had a big voice in the room when my name was brought up for promotion. So I sent her a message telling her thank you for any kind words that she may have said on my behalf (and if she didn't to disregard that message). It then occurred to me that she's the one person within the company that I want to be like. So I let her know. I told her that I consider her my mentor within the company and that there is a lot that I can learn from her (I have two mentors outside of the company as well). She was extremely honored and said that I made her day.
Why did I pick her as my mentor, you ask? Good question. Well, the very first time I met her I actually wasn't too sure about how we would get along. You see, she's a "take charge, I'm running things, and if you aren't on the same page as me, we're going to have problems" kind of Working Girl. At least that was my first impression of her. Now, looking back, I think she gave off that vibe because she was new to the company and wanted to make an impression on people. After a while, I realized that she actually isn't hard to work with at all and that's she's pretty easy going and willing to work with people. But the main thing I saw in her was how quickly she seemed to be climbing the corporate ladder. I want that to be me.
Since I told her she is my mentor, I've noticed that things have changed between us and that we are on the path to developing a great working relationship. She now takes me aside and shows me things that other colleagues haven't shown me. She wants to teach me everything she can, and believe me, I'm willing to learn. I want to move up the corporate ladder right behind her and I truly believe that she will do what she can to take me with her as she continues to move up within the company.
This article summarizes a study that found that mentoring for women does not seem to be effective. I think that having a mentor within the company can be a bit tricky, particularly if you work closely together. I don't want to get too comfortable with her and let some of my professionalism go out the window, but I do want to get to know her better. My fear would be disappointing my mentor, but one of my greatest hopes is that we can develop a friendship in addition to our working relationship (because she seems like a pretty cool Working Girl).
Working Girls, do you have a mentor within your company? Is your mentor a male or female? Is your mentor proactive in mentoring you? Are you proactive in staying connected to your mentor? Any tips to help me make the most of my new mentor/mentee relationship?