During my college career, I discovered the amazing benefits that mentors can offer you in your professional career. I met my first mentor while I was doing a project in one my classes that required filming a construction process and then analyzing it and writing a report on how we would improve the task. There was one construction company, Andersen, that was working on a major project on the Oregon State campus so I reached out to the Project Manager because their schedule was bulking with construction. Andersen has been doing projects on the OSU campus for years so their PMs are familiar with students contacting them about various class project since our curriculum remains consistent over the years. I was the main person of contact for my group so I set up a time were our team could go walk the project and that’s were we got introduced face to face and I liked him from the first time I met him. He is around 10 years older than I am and very easy going; he was also very knowledgeable about his project and everybody greeted him when they saw him, so that spoke volumes in itself. Our project was completed successfully due to his guidance and support to help get our camera setup with the best vantage point and going out of his way for our causes. A few weeks after the project I asked him if he would like to get lunch or a drink sometime and to my surprise he obliged. There is a local bar called Clodfelters on the OSU campus that is right next to the CEM building so I figured that would be a great place to meet. It was a little tentative at first because we haven’t met out of a professional setting so I initiated conversation by asking what I can expect when I start working in the construction industry (I haven’t had a construction related internship yet). He answered all my questions and assured me that I would do fine as long as I asked many questions and if I don’t understand something then say it. From that moment on, we kept in contact usually once a month and grabbed a few beers and worked on other projects together throughout my last two years and that’s how our relationship grew.
I think what has really strengthened our relationship is that I don’t base our relationship on how he can help me because I want to help him as well so that there is a mutual benefit. He has helped me in so many ways and one tangible example is when I wanted to take my LEED Green Associate test but didn’t want to pay for the class to be eligible to take the exam. Therefore I asked him if he could write me a letter and he kindly obliged. Then when I was about to graduate he asked me to write a letter about my mentoring experience with him and I put a lot of time and effort into the document to clearly explain and show how his mentorship has made my academic career and professional career more progressive. He stated that he wanted to use the letter for OSU during their project proposals so I made sure to address that point in the way I framed the letter. This is a just one among many examples I have of the mutual benefit of our mentor/mentee relationship.
I have another mentor at Intel who introduced me to a director of Intel operations and I asked him what has been the most influential thing that has lead to the advancement of his career. His answer was to have mentors and at least 2-3 of them but be sure that they are not your immediate manager. He also states that the mentors should be spread out in their positions and should be high up if possible, someone who can give you direction on where you want to go with your career. He says that he had some mentors above him and when he got past them then he found new ones but he emphasized to never burn your bridges. My mentor at Intel also stressed the importance of mentors and what it has done for her career. Just from these two contacts at Intel, it has been shown that having mentors can meteorically push your career faster than you’ve ever expected. I’m still finding my way around Turner so I haven’t found a mentor yet but I’m hoping to have one by the end of this year. I have two great ones already but I believe a mentor within my company would complete my Triforce of Teachers (trademarked lol).