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Discussion on: As a Senior, do you look forward to mentor Junior developers?

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Elsa Gonsiorowski

Let me reframe the question... how about "Do you enjoy mentoring others?"

You are already a "senior" in something and are capable of being a mentor. You can volunteer with local high school or middle school groups, or help mentor summer interns at a job. You don't have to wait until you are "senior" in your career to think about mentoring. In fact, start with peer-mentoring and build strong connections to those around you.

I have organized a number of successful mentorship programs, so let me frame the term 'mentoring':

  1. The mentor-mentee relationship (like all successful relationships) takes work from both people. Truly successful relationships have benefits for both involved.
  2. If you think you need a mentor, seek out the mentorship. Typically, mentoring relationships stem from other organic interactions. Think of it more like a business or career oriented friendship. Find someone who you 'click' with... or someone who is in a position or has something you want. Then ask them deep questions about how they got there.
  3. Remember that your mentor/mentee is another person and doesn't owe you anything. The mentee may not follow the mentor's advise, that's life! Your mentor may not have a solution for a mentee's problem, the mentee will have to seek advise somewhere else.

The best formal mentoring programs have a clear timeframe, so both parties know the bounds of the relationship. It allows each person to move-on, guilt free when the time is up.