I was on my way home last night after talking to a couple SQL Server Buddies, and I was reflecting on some of the things we had been talking about. There were a few interesting questions that were asked, one was how did I get started doing what I am doing and the other pertained to mentoring. I have written a number of articles, blog posts and given presentations that have talked about mentoring in the past, but I am not sure I have ever done a complete mentoring series. As I sat and thought about it I decided that there is no better time than now to start jotting down my notes on mentoring, including how I have taken advantage of it and how I have mentored others.
As I completed that last paragraph I cannot tell you how honored I am that a handful of people have asked me to be their mentor.
I am going to start a series of blog posts on mentoring. These topics may just include links to places or people that have helped me in the past, but I hope that they can help you as well. Before we jump into the topic we should talk about what a mentor is, how can they help you and how do you get one.
What is a Mentor?
When you can look at a person’s career path, and on a personal level, life decisions they have made, and you desire to have the same path as them then they can be considered for a mentor. A Mentor is someone who has made the decisions that you are going to have to make in the future, and they are in a place where you may want to be.
For me I have had a number of mentors, some I have spent many hours with asking questions and working with them to better myself, others I have watched from afar and have taken mental notes on the things that I would like to see more in myself.
How can a Mentor help you?
The idea of a mentor is to help you navigate through some of the many decisions you are going to have to make. Just recently I saw a note on twitter where someone mentioned they did not know a certain tool existed. A mentor might be able to look at a certain situation and be able to recommend that tool, because they have faced that certain problem before. A mentor is not meant to be your boss or your director, they are meant to be a place where someone can give you a second opinion, and maybe some direction.
Finding a Mentor
Getting a mentor can be one of the coolest experiences. If there is someone that holds a position or a job that you would like to hold someday, they could be a good candidate. If there is someone who is doing something that you would like to do such as public speaking or Enterprise Administration and you would like to do that, then they may be a good candidate.
Contact these people that you respect, tell them why you respect them and ask them if they would be willing to be your mentor. Let them know that they have made decisions that you find are great decisions and let them know you would like to learn more from them. If nothing else it is a great way to say thank you to someone who has been an impact on how you look at things.
Can I help?
If you are reading this and find yourself in a position to want a mentor, or you would not mind being a mentor then let me know. I have no issues in helping make introductions and helping people get connected to other people in the SQL Server world.
There are so many great people that I look up to and would like to be more like. These people have helped me make decisions or do things that I never thought I could do. I hope you pick a mentor.