You can have great ideas all by yourself, but you can’t always be great all by yourself.
Everyone needs a mentor. I need a mentor because I’m the blunt friend/co-worker/employee and I’ve found that it’s very hard to find someone to be blunt with you when you’re the blunt friend/co-worker/employee. Its’ fine, it’s just the way the world works.
What you can get instead is a mentor. I find that mentors are more willing to give it to you straight and set you back on the right path.
Find you a mentor.
Don’t wait for a company to assign you one as a new hire, find your own. Your mentor should be someone you aspire to be like or value. They should be someone who is an example of what/who you would like to be like. Strong mentor/mentee relationships are the ones that are grown organically, not the ones paired up through a program.
Be honest with your mentors.
Don’t paint stories of work challenges in a way that make you look more favorable than you actually were. Mentors can’t help you correct if you don’t tell the whole truth. The reason you have a mentor is to be better, so don’t cover up the ugly.
Listen to your mentors.
Didn’t you choose your mentor for a reason? You don’t have to do everything they say, but listen to what they share. You can’t take your professional development to the next level without perspective.
Mentors aren’t always forever.
Like many other relationships sometimes mentors are only for a season. Don’t ignore the signs to move on.
In 2019, find you two mentors. Find people who will be excited to help you be great.
If you thought this was a blog post about the many HRIS options out there you can just close this page now. For those of you that want to know what I’m talking about that’s not an HRIS here it is:
Google. Y’all…. I can google anything! It’s so nice to be a Millennial in HR and know that I’ve always had google. Legal question? google. What’s the local unemployment rate? google. Local event that has content relevant to my career path? google. Webinars for an issue I’m trying to solve? google. Seriously… google is my number one. So much so that I probably owe it a Christmas gift.
Social media. This one isn’t just because I love a good buzzfeed list of all the strangest interview questions or a “Whine about it Wednesday video” (those don’t even happen anymore). Social media makes the list because it helps me stay connected to a ton of HR pros that are smarter than I am and can answer some of my questions because they are experts and they are my friends. Staying in touch with people year round is so much easier with social media. Mentors via social media? YES PLEASE!
Just kidding, those are the only two reasons I wanted to share.
I’m finally reading Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In and I know I’m late to the party, but I’m kind of stubborn & couldn’t get excited about her book for some reason. Recently I didn’t have any books on hand and I spotted Lean In on a shelf in my department managers office so I asked her if I could borrow it. I’m only in chapter 3 or 4 and I’m 100% reading this book with critical eyes and a critical heart. I have my own beliefs about women in the workplace and struggles that we may or may not have and I don’t know if they are the same as Sheryl’s yet. Surprisingly enough though she has already struck a chord that I’ve started to pay attention to and it’s the weirdest thing to me.
She talks a lot about women tending to feel like “a fraud” when they are doing something well. Like they could be “found out” by everyone at any second, even if they have been proven to have the skills they think they don’t have. (One thing I do appreciate about her book is that she cites studies to back up her points) She shares about different studies and personal scenarios where women, or she, admitted to feeling like a fraud in comparison to their male counterparts. These examples range from school settings to career settings. This whole idea of women feeling like frauds has me PUZZLED!
Wouldn’t you know a day or so after reading that I started hearing my female friends talk about experiences where they felt like a fraud…. What the what? I guess it’s similar to when you buy a new car and then you think that everyone has the same car as you now that you’ve become aware of that particular car on the road. I’ve now become in tune with my female friends who feel like a fraud. Three examples in a row from three different female friends about feeling like a fraud at different times.
Then last Tuesday I had lunch with two other volunteers that serve on my local SHRM chapter and the topic of mentoring other professionals came up. This was awkward. I don’t need to be mentoring, I need a mentor. My pal said she didn’t feel like she had enough experience to be a mentor (she has more experience than me, so if she doesn’t have enough I sure don’t have enough!!!) and that considering being a mentor made her feel like a fraud. It was really strange to me that she used the word fraud. (Side note-two days later this topic came up at our board meeting and the men in the room had a different reaction than ours of course). This was the fourth time in a two week time frame that a female peer specifically used the word fraud when talking about their professional attributes. And then a light bulb went off and I realized, I feel like a fraud often.
This really did blow my mind because I, and several people who know me, would consider myself fairly confident. Yet I have at least one shining “fraud” example right now hanging over my head: when I think about my volunteer position for next year on our board I feel like a fraud. Like how long can I be in that role before the entire membership realizes I’m not fit to serve in that position and vote me off the island? Are we wired to feel like frauds? Maybe this is learned behavior? Maybe we really are frauds?
A question specifically for the women, do you ever feel like a fraud at work? What causes you to feel like a fraud? Is it comparison? Is it something else?
Every HR department needs an intern! I’m convinced. After having my first experience with an HR intern for our department, I’m sold. We legit needed help with our workload, but from the beginning my little HR heart hoped we would be able to give back to the advancement of the profession while getting some real work done. The thing is, our company has a ballin’ intern program that allows engineering students (with 3.5 GPA and up) an opportunity to work on some meaningful technical tasks for our customers. The work they get to do gives them a glimpse of what their field looks like and if they really want to do what they thought they wanted to do. Being an engineering firm we really stumped ourselves when adding an essential business systems intern to the mix. Do we even include this intern in our intern program? For example, at the end of every summer our interns do a technical presentation, open to the entire company to attend, on what their project was. Engineers talking engineering appeals to other engineers, but would HR appeal to our engineers? Would anyone care? What can we teach this HR intern about real HR without spending too much time training? How can we help this intern be sure that HR is the right path.
Amazingly enough I feel like we tackled all of our tough questions this summer and though we were not able to give our intern a lot of HR related work, we made sure we explained things to her that we talked about so she could have an idea of what was going on. I say that, but maybe it isn’t that it’s not HR related work as much as us experienced pros forget that it’s HR related, you know in the grand scheme of things. Anyway, we included her in staff meetings, took her to our local SHRM chapter meetings (NASHRM), encouraged her to do a project to present on and 100% included her in the intern program. She told me she learned a lot this summer and even through filing and scheduling interviews she was exposed to some HR tasks that she hadn’t known existed. When we had a session on benefits at a NASHRM luncheon I encouraged her afterwards to sit down with one of our benefits specialist to understand what all of the benefits talk meant. During interview set up she was faced with a lot of questions about the position that sometimes made her feel like a recruiter rather than a scheduler. She did a lot of research on her recruiting related project and we tested out some of her social media ideas at a NASHRM event. I think we did a great job exposing her to the world of HR and giving her a lot of scenarios that she can use in the classroom this fall when she returns to the classroom for her junior year.
I know it is not always possible to bring in an intern, but I think it’s the best way for us to grow our profession. The future or HR needs guidance and mentoring, so let’s do something about it! Even if you cannot bring in an intern, maybe you can set up a few job shadowing days, those are unpaid ya dig? Making yourself available to HR students to answer their questions or be an example is a great way to make sure that the progress of HR thus far, doesn’t get undone. What are your thoughts? Have you had an HR intern in the past? What was your experience? Any tips on setting up job shadow days for HR students? Leave them in the comments below.