Happy Thursday Everyone!
If I haven’t expressed it enough, I absolutely love being a millennial. Our generation has been in the news so MUCH over the last few months, and I just hope we all are capitalizing on all of this gossip. Why? Because this is our time to do several things: 1. Prove those nay-sayers wrong about us being lazy, delusional, narcissistic and feeling entitled; 2. Embrace this space that we are in and take advantage of new personal and professional opportunities; and 3. “Lean in” and build our network of mentors that can help us navigate our way through this very interesting time of growth and discovery.
It is unbelievably crucial for all millennials to have a mentor — and it’s okay to have more than one! Whenever I bring my mentors up in conversation with friends, I’m always asked: “How did you get a mentor? Did you find him/her on your own? Are they any help to your career?” The answers vary depending on which awesome individual I am speaking to, but it isn’t hard to find a mentor. From old high school and college teachers to former work supervisors, to business professionals, some mentor relationships I have were sought out or completely organic — and yours can be too! Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a mentor as: “a trusted counselor or guide,” but my mentors are so much more than that. Not only do they give career advice, but also great advice on life, love and everything in between. In its recent article “The 3 Career Mentors Everyone Should Have“, The Daily Muse hit the nail the head with the three types of career mentors millennials should have. Below are my interpretations on how you can initiate those contacts, and build upon those relationships:
Mentor #1: You in One (or Two) Years
In the article, The Daily Muse describes this person as “someone who’s been in your shoes and can easily relate to your current experiences.” This lovely individual could literally be a classmate or someone one or two years older than you. Perfect example? My mentor KP. I was lucky to have met her the summer I arrived to D.C., and she has been so gracious in helping me navigate the professional scene in The District. A true politico-PR diva at heart, she’s got her Master’s in Public Administration, has worked in several awesome communications positions here in The District, and has even started her own event planning business. Her hustle is crazy, and I really admire her style and political communications savvy.
Mentor #2: Your Five-Year Guide
Described as the person you can see yourself as in five years, The Daily Muse states that this mentor should have “a bit more experience under his/her belt, and be able to offer you advice on advancing within your company or field, including the short-term goals you should be setting in order to get there.” I’m lucky enough to have mentors in both fields I’m passionate about (education and public relations) that have excelled tremendously. Both Jessica and Najja work in PR and own their own consulting businesses, while my former supervisor Anthony works in higher education and is an accomplished blogger (check out his work on The Huffington Post!) These three individuals (and several others) have contributed a great deal to my growth as a young professional, and I am grateful for their counsel and honesty.
Mentor #3: Your Career Planner
The final mentor is an adviser described as one “who knows the tools of the trade and can consult you on big events and decisions, like switching jobs, working abroad, or exploring other career opportunities.” While I am still seeking out this person, I’ve got a feeling that living in The District yields a great opportunity to make that connection in due time. If you’re like me, you’ve already made a list of mentors-in-your-head (Hi Oprah Winfrey, First Lady Michelle Obama, Bob Johnson, Bill Gates and Kerry Washington) and have an idea of the qualities you wish to embody as a professional in the near future. Make this known by attending various industry networking events, utilizing LinkedIn and doing a little research. If you could choose an idea career, what would it be? Is there someone that has taken a similar path you wish to take? If so, then make your move! Don’t be afraid to ask questions, because nine times out of ten, these amazing professionals will be more than happy to help you out.