It’s a last day of my combined summer vacation and paternal leave and for the last week my thoughts have, now and then, drifted momentarily to work related things like trying to remember my laptop password. This is, at least for me, a common occurrence. With the end of the vacation approaching my mind starts to get back to the “work mode”. And a blog post seems like a good way to end my vacation.
To give some quick background information for this post, back in January I wrote a post about my experiences from being mentored and encouraged others to find themselves mentors. About a day earlier Paul Randal had announced a competition where the lucky winners would be rewarded with the opportunity to be mentored by him. I also decided to take part because I had good experiences from being mentored before (and for a chance to be mentored by Paul Randal, of course). As the contest ended it turned out that everyone who had submitted a blog post as requested, won 🙂
What’s different to my earlier mentors
Compared to my earlier mentors there are some differences as they were from the same team than I was. So instead of face to face meetings or conversations over the phone, discussions are handled through email and this means a bit slower pace in communication. Using email also requires bit more work but it has some benefits to which I’ll get to momentarily. The other difference is that having mentors from the same team ment that they had very specific knowledge related to the workplace such as people, procedures, products etc. Now I’m being mentored by someone who comes from outside my team/company and from a different country and cultural background.
My personal experiences
Now that the mentorship has been going on for a few months, I think it’s a good time to look back to see how it has worked out for me. First of all, email as the way to communicate has worked well, especially when our time zones are 10 hours apart. With the possibility of there being several days between replies you also tend to put more thoughts into your emails, or at least I do. So rather than mentioning some issue or another in passing, I also try to put in as much background information as possible and what solutions have been tried and how they turned out. This way, writing the issue down (often over the course of few days), sometimes I’ve also gotten better understanding or a new perspective to the issue myself.
Secondly I’ve also gained some interesting insights on cultural differences, these I consider to be very valuable because it’s common these days to work with people coming from a variety of different backgrounds.
The last point alone would have been enough to summarize my experience so far extremely positive. It’s largely because of Paul and his mentoring that I feel excited to get back to work after my vacation. Earlier this year I was feeling very frustrated with more than few things at work and with my career, but with input and advice from Paul, I got many of these things sorted out already. The rest of year looks busy, but in a very good way, and I’ll probably have some more issues that I need mentoring with also.
And to finish up with a bit of advice. I wholeheartedly recommend finding yourselves a mentor, it’s definitely worth it 🙂