January is National Mentoring Month ("NMM"), and today is Thank Your Mentor Day. NMM is celebrating its tenth year and was created by the Harvard School of Public Health and MENTOR to promote mentoring and to recruit mentors. Don’t start panicking—you don’t have to run out and buy a pony for each person who has mentored you. But today is a great chance to remember your mentors through a telephone call, a quick email, or by becoming a mentor and spreading the love.
Mentorship is easily discounted as a fluff relationship—a senior executive is partnered with a green associate, and the two venture out for a yearly lunch after which they don’t speak until next year’s lunch. But true mentoring relationships, in which both people are eagerly invested, are fantastic means of career and personal development for both the mentor and the mentee. Mentorship can include offering career advice, sharing professional experiences and your career journey, answering questions, listening to your mentee’s concerns, providing support, and building a friendship.
I am a perfect example of how mentorship can shape your career. As a college student, I was only sure of one thing: I wanted to write. But I wasn’t sure how to use my writing. Under the guidance of a phenomenal business professor from my undergrad, I started my journey toward law. Along the way, I’ve developed relationships with many incredible mentors—professors, colleagues, and experienced attorneys—all of whom have given me resources and the confidence to move forward in my career. These people weren’t just acquaintances who threw some adages my way—they became friends and confidantes. They took an interest in my development and success.
I think relationships like these are crucial in the legal industry. Working as an attorney is a high-stress profession with a steep learning curve and great responsibility. Having a mentor to help you navigate the choppy waters and develop your confidence may be the key to surviving and excelling. And with the uncertainty of the legal market and increased competition for legal jobs, frustrated law students and law graduates need experienced professionals to offer support, advice, and sometimes just an ear. Whether you think of yourself this way or not, you are a potential mentor for these people. So why not reach out to them?
Of course, your mentoring doesn’t have to be limited to the legal field. You can find mentorship programs on MENTOR’s website.
Thanks to all of my mentors.
Have you had a mentor who has made a significant impact on your life? Do you give back through mentoring? What do you think about mentoring? Let us know in the comments below or on our Twitter page!
For more resources on mentorship and National Mentoring Month see below.
Harvard School of Public Health
National Mentoring Month site
Who Mentored You from the Harvard School of Public Health
RELATED: Finding A Mentor
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