Mentors are one of the not-so-secret weapons to a successful career and subsequent promotions. This person is not likely to be your boss. Instead he or she is a personal coach guiding you through job challenges toward new opportunities. A mentor starts out as a stranger, but will become a substantial part of your professional network.
At the last team meeting before my boss’ retirement, he gave us all a piece of paper with the word career on it. He explained that for him, a successful career was staying ten years at his job. Advancing came through hard work and loyalty. Promotions came when your boss noticed your hard work.
He told us, “Those days are over. No one ‘advances’ in that way anymore. You need to learn how to take charge of your job and your career”. Then, he asked us all to write down the name of one person who had contributed to our success in our prior job. And to write down the name of one of our references for our current position. He stated that at least one name on that list was one of the many mentors we had already had.
One can find mentors in many places. SIGUCCS is one of them. Our organization is small enough to meet and network with people about real-world problems and solutions. It is no surprise there is a free SIGUCCS Mentorship program for members, or that 128 people have gone through the program in the past four years.
SIGUCCS harnesses the power of its members –many people contribute a little bit instead of one person doing it all. This high level of involvement allows the mentoring program to match mentees with practicing professionals who have similar jobs at similar institutions and the specific experience a mentee needs.
The unique aspect of the SIGUCCS mentorship program is its diverse focus. While mentorships can focus on management or leadership, or preparation for a position as a CIO, past mentorships in the SIGUCCS program have focused on project management, training, desktop support, and network operations. This truly is a customized personal yearlong program with proven success. Participants have reported a satisfaction rate of 82% over the past five years.
If you are looking for someone to help you and guide you in your career, regardless of your current role, consider joining the mentoring program as a mentee. Be sure to list the specific types of skills that you are interesting in working on. The mentor program will look to match you with the best mentor available.
If you are that practicing professional, consider being a mentor. Mentors have the option to list the skills and areas they want to mentor. The time commitment is approximately 1-2 hours a month. Past mentors have found the program to be as professionally and personally rewarding as the mentees, citing they learn as much as they share.
Do not wait for your career to come to you. Take stalk of your strengths, weaknesses, and your goals. Then make a plan to work on them through the SIGUCCS mentoring program. People are waiting to learn from you and with you.
The next mentoring session will run from January through October 2019. If you want to participate, please complete the online application form by November 23rd. Mentors and mentees must commit to meeting (virtually) at least 1 hour a month, set goals, develop strategies to achieve those goals, and advise and support each other. Virtual training and support resources will be provided to participants. You must be a member of SIGUCCS to participate – membership is just $25 per year.
~ Gail Rankin