Tag Archives: job

I need a mentor. Now what?

4th August 2013

mentorIt rings as if it were some nonchalant item on a twenty-something’s harping to-do list: find a mentor. But as with everything “grown up,” this is another must-have that doesn’t arrive in a neatly packaged chapter in the “how to grow up without messing it all up” manual.

In my head, I almost even picture this mystery person as if she were Professor McGonagall (guilty Harry Potter reference). Or as if this is someone you ask out on a date or sorts and at the end of the night, pop a along the lines of question of “will you help answer all of life’s mysteries for some elusive career advancement?” Shockingly, that’s not real life.

I’ve been incredibly grateful to have several wonderful people I happily call mentors cross my path over the past few years, and I hope someday I’ll be able to give the same advice and guidance in return.

So what should I look for in a mentor?

It probably starts with the people you work with. One of my biggest cheerleaders was a colleague who always had a open door. During my first few years at Engauge, I spent hours in her office each week, trading ideas, asking questions and having her explain how she reached client-related conclusions. Did she hand over the keys to success in a pretty blue box? No. Did she push me to be more confident and trusting of my own work? Yes. Did she make me smarter in the process? Absolutely.

Find your cheerleaders. Someone who will cheer you on and build up your expertise, not through questioning alone, but as a partnership.

Don’t be afraid to step outside of your industry. A mentor isn’t always someone who understands your lingo or speaks in the same client acronyms. Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to participate in a women-only leadership program and it was phenomenal. Read more on that here. The most valuable pieces of the program however were the PEER mentorship opportunities. You can be a lawyer, working in manufacturing, or advertising, but you most likely have many of the same questions, the same doubts and the same what-ifs when it comes to managing a career.

Find people who don’t simply get your work, but who also get you. Sometimes a “the same thing happened to me” conversation can be the best support manual there is.

The real secret magic fairy dust? It starts with friendship. In reality, a mentorship shouldn’t be a formal program of sorts for the next few decades, it should be a mutual relationship and it probably starts with a cup of coffee (or in my case, hot chocolate). Finding someone you are comfortable with both personally and professionally, though rare, is insurmountable. When it comes time to ask for advice, you want someone on your side who not only gets your resume, but also gets you for who you are, not the job description you have in hand.

Find someone who you can trust to value more than just your job. Finding someone that remarkable might even feel like winning the lottery.

In the end, there isn’t some magic formula. There isn’t a mentor dating service. There are only the people you surround yourself with, the relationships you develop, and like everything else, we have to seek to build those relationships one day at a time.

PS that leadership program? They are enrolling for the fall class currently, check it out.

Rewiring Success

23rd February 2013


A Pinterest favorite, and beautiful artwork found here.


I’ve spent the past five and a half months in a women-only leadership program (more on that soon). The experience has been fantastic and has opened my eyes to growing in the workspace, both personally and professionally, but more than anything I have spent a significant amount of time thinking about my future and success.

Before we go any further, let me preface the rest of this by saying, I certainly haven’t reached a come to Jesus, OK I get it, hallelujah moment about where to go next or what my magic yellow brick road of career path looks like (though man, I wish someone would hand that map over).

It has, however, forced me to think about how I define success.

Earlier this week, I read an article about work-life balance which hit the nail on the head perfectly for where I am currently. What if our happiness isn’t about the hours, the balance, the clients or the people alone, but starts with the root of accomplishment?

So it starts here: how do I define success?

The article sites a study where a group of workers was forced to take a night a week away from their smart phones and email. The discussion following was incredibly interesting:

The people who thought themselves addicted to work were really addicted to success and its signals. So if you want to build a team culture where people are encouraged to unplug and renew, rewire the signaling. Cheer when people come in and say that they unplug; slap their wrist when they don’t. Source

Going back to the mechanics.

What if we moved past the lists, the checkboxes and the powerpoint slides and focused on the relationships, the conversations and where work would lead to in the next five years? After all, today and tomorrow will eventually add up to a career, right?

Rewire the system, take a look at the mechanics and maybe this twenty-something can turn those check-lists into change.

6 Ways to Rock Life as an Intern

7th June 2012

This week marked the start of one of my favorite seasons of the year: intern season. We had a great group of Enterns start at Engauge this week and I cannot wait to spend time with each one of them and learn more about their passions, experiences and goals over the next three months.

Interns always bring back so many memories of my intern experiences and it’s crazy to think it has been year(s) since I myself was an intern. First, congratulations. Getting an internship these days is an accomplishment in and of itself. You beat out countless other people for the position you now find yourself in and now it’s time to spend the next few months proving to everyone why you earned that spot.

In honor of the occasion, here are a few tips for anyone getting their foot in the door this summer.

1. Make it count. Work every day like it’s your first. If you think you are being judged, scored, evaluated everyday, it’s probably because you are. Prove to your company why they can’t survive without you.

2. Ask questions. Lots of them. You are not supposed to know everything, show that more often that not. The only way you are going to learn is to ask why, ask why not, ask what that crazy acronym stands for, chances are your coworkers will not look down on you for not knowing, but commend you for the courage it takes to speak up.

3. Dress for the job you want. Just because people at your office look like they just left a college classroom too, doesn’t mean you should. While you may not need to wear a suit everyday, no one ever looked down upon a girl in heels or a guy in a nice button down and kahkis. And even though Mark Zuckerburg can get away with a hoodie everyday, doesn’t mean you can.

4. Don’t do as your told. Do better. As an intern, you may be asked to help with not so fun tasks or projects, but most of the time if you weren’t there, we would be doing that work too. Go above and beyond and show your supervisor you are capable of thinking outside the box and event expanding the way they may think. When I first started my first internship I had no idea how to put together a good powerpoint presentation. During my down time I spent time on SlideShare trying to pick up tips from what others had done and applied that to my projects, that downtime went a long way.

5. Keep smiling and stay focused. In every single internship I ever had there were days I hated. There were days I came home and cried. Days when I felt like I wasn’t making a difference. But for every bad day, there were 10 good days that lead me to the place I am today. The relationships I formed became great friends, coworkers, mentors and bosses, who have all made me into the person I am today and I wouldn’t change a thing about the journey.

6. Enjoy it! You’re only an intern for so long. Have fun. Get out and meet people in the office. Go to a networking event. Make friends with the people you work with, don’t be afraid to show them who you are and why you are the best darn intern yet.