Navigating a successful career can be tricky. Therefore, it can be helpful to have guidance from someone who has been in your shoes — i.e., a mentor.
In theory, this person can help shape your professional development by offering career advice that can get you on the right path and help you rise to the top. However, simply having a mentor — any mentor — won’t necessarily bring the desired results.
Here’s a look at four pros and cons of having a career mentor.
Pro: Get Personalized Support
A meaningful career is the product of countless decisions. Making even one wrong turn can cause setbacks that can take years to bounce back from. Having the right mentor can help you avoid these mishaps, because they’ll be on hand to guide you.
This person can help you forge a career path that’s right for you, instead of having to rely on general advice that might not be in your best interest. Consequently, you’ll be more likely to enjoy the fulfilling career you’ve always envisioned.
Con: Finding the Right Fit Isn’t Always Easy
All mentors are not created equal. You might think someone will be a great match, but eventually realize the two of you aren’t on the same page. At best, this can be frustrating and take at least some of your focus away from your career, at least temporarily. At worst, you might decide to follow this person’s advice and sooner or later realize they’ve led you down a career path you didn’t want.
Pro: Make New Contacts
A great mentor is willing to go above and beyond to help you succeed. In addition to offering advice, many will be happy to share their contacts with you.
For example, if you’re looking for a new job, they might reach out to their network to see if anyone knows of any positions that might interest you. They’ll happily pitch you to their contacts, which can increase your chances of getting hired.
Con: Maintaining a Productive Relationship Can Be Challenging
In today’s fast-paced world, it can be hard to find people who don’t lead busy lives. This can make a mentoring relationship challenging, because mentors typically volunteer their time to the cause.
Consequently, it can be hard to find much time with even most well-intentioned people. The person might be a perfect fit, but they won’t be that effective if you’re rarely able to get time with them.
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