Why mentoring should be a part of your New Year’s resolutions

I understand. You’re busy trying to quit the military and secure your next career, and mentoring is a treat, not a necessity. It’s like eating dessert before dinner, it just doesn’t make sense.

When making a list of your New Year’s resolutions, consider adding mentoring to your goals. Here are some of the most common challenges and opportunities I hear about mentoring:

My company gives me a “fight buddy” at work. Isn’t that enough?

While your guide appointed by your company will certainly help you through the written and unwritten rules of engagement in your job, and can be a mentor to you, having an outside mentor can serve you in a number of ways.

Your internal company mentor will help you understand the different systems, personalities and cultural traits of your employer. It is priceless! Having an outside mentor could also give you a broader world view of how businesses like yours work, what it takes to be successful in the industry, and what you will need to avoid as you grow your business. civilian career.

I don’t have time to mentor someone.

Mentoring is a commitment, but it is manageable. In the beginning, develop clear expectations and rules for how the relationship will work. As a mentor, are you comfortable being contacted outside of office hours? Can your mentee ask you personal questions or just career or business questions? How often will you two meet?

Setting expectations, and then accepting them, helps you manage your time and deliver the most value to your mentee. I do a lot of mentoring and use Veterati.com (a free online platform that connects active duty members, veterans and military spouses with mentors who volunteer their time) to help me manage my own schedule. When I have a lot of spare time, I add more mentoring niches. When my workload prevents it, I add less.

Where can I find help navigating my new business?

An in-company mentor can be a great resource to help you integrate and “learn the ropes” of your new job and employer. Ask your manager or human resources department about any formal mentoring programs your company offers or if they know of anyone who might be willing to guide you informally.

The transition is hard! Who can show me the way?

The transition is not a single day; it is a process. For some, it can take months or even years to feel completely out of the military. As such, finding someone who has successfully made the transition can be of huge benefit.

Consider a mentor who comes from a similar set of experiences and military career to guide you. Or look for someone who has made the transition to your same field of work.

I don’t see the point of having someone to guide me.

Do you like “free?” Mentoring is like free coaching. Your mentor will advise you, provide you with ideas and information that may not be readily available to you, and can offer their perspective on your situation.

Civilians and veterans alike all need mentors who are more advanced than themselves and who can provide insight into the opportunities and challenges that might lie ahead. A mentor is an invaluable resource for advancing your career in meaningful ways!

I miss the camaraderie of the military. Am I the only one?

A mentor who has been in the military will be able to understand this feeling and provide examples of how he has dealt with those same emotions. Your mentor may be able to direct you to specific groups or forums where you can find that camaraderie, offer suggestions for better connecting with people at work, and suggest ways to make yourself more accessible to others so that they. want to know you more.

I do not separate from the army for 18 months. I’ll find a mentor then.

It is never too early to seek advice and guidance. Instead of waiting around and struggling to find the right mentor, consider looking for a mentor now. Find someone who has experience with the stage of your transition that you are in now. You may need another mentor as your separation date approaches, but having one in place will allow you to be more clear about how a second mentor can serve you.

Mentorship is not a burden. It is not a sign of weakness. It’s a powerful tool to use as you build your career, from where you are today to where you hope to be. Use the experience and advice of others to help you.

Mentoring is one of the most meaningful parts of my job. I am honored to have mentored hundreds of transitioning veterans and (hopefully) provided helpful advice for their next phase of careers.

The author of “Success After Service: How to Take Control of Your Job Search and Career After Military Duty” (2020) and “Your Next Mission: A personal branding guide for the Military-to-civilian transition” (2014), Lida Citroën is a keynote speaker and presenter, executive coach, popular TEDx speaker, and instructor of several courses on LinkedIn Learning. She regularly presents workshops on personal branding, executive presence, leadership communication and reputation risk management.

A writer for Military.com, Lida is a strong supporter of the military, volunteering her time to help veterans transition to civilian careers and help employers looking to hire military talent. She speaks regularly at conferences, company meetings and events focused on the military transition.

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