Find a mentor

Find a mentor to give your new career a boost

A few tips back, I gave some advice on being the new kid on the block and what to do in those first few critical weeks on a new job. Recently, one of my readers, Gene, sent me an email with some additional advice on how to advance in your new job. In a nutshell, it involves finding the superstar in your IT department, and developing a mentor relationship with them.

What does this mean?

Almost every IT department has a superstar, a person who is extremely knowledgeable, good at what they do, respected (and in some cases revered) by their peers and supervisors, and who are obviously going places.

Gene suggests that you do your best to become associated with these individuals. Try to get on the same projects together. If appropriate, volunteer to be on any committees on which they serve. Offer to do work on the side (on your own time) that they may need done for a particular project. Essentially, do anything you need to do in order to establish a working relationship with them.

What will come of this relationship?

Gene suggests that at a minimum it will allow you to see and learn what it takes to be successful in your new company. Secondly, it also shows these revered colleagues that you are eager and anxious to grow. And this can lead to them taking you under their wing, which can supercharge your career.

Written by John Smiley, MCP, MCSD and MCT, author, and adjunct professor of Computer Science at Penn State University in Abington, Philadelphia University, and Holy Family College. John has been teaching computer programming for nearly 20 years.

John Smiley is president of Smiley and Associates, http://www.johnsmiley.com/smass/smass.htm a computer consulting firm located in New Jersey.

This was first published in February 2001

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