This Is Why You Should Mentor // A Gratitude Letter To My Mentor
Why We Are Here
Yesterday evening I got a mail from my favorite community — BAOT — saying that the mentorship program is dying because of a lack of mentors. The email asked me, as a former participant, to register as a mentor.
So I signed up, but I felt like I should do more. I had such a great experience with my mentor, and I want others to have that as well. If people didn’t sign up, it must be one of two reasons: Either they don’t see the importance or they think they can’t contribute.
About a year ago I had this wild thought, one I was a bit afraid to say out loud: I want to interview for a job in the big companies, the ones I was 90% sure I am not good enough for. That dream had a part 2: I want it to be abroad. Switching jobs is hard enough, even without all the “move your whole life to another country” thing.
So after hearing a friend praising it, I joined BAOT’s mentoring program. I told the program leader my dark secret, and she matched me with Abbie (this is not her real name, I chose a name from a book I’m reading at the moment).
Abbie seems very impressive. She lives abroad and works for a big company. She has what I want, so maybe it is not too big of a dream? A quick search on Linkedin shows that she is way overqualified for this task of mentoring me. I’m already happy I chose to sign in.
We had our first talk after arranging an appropriate time despite the 8 hours time difference. If I want to live abroad I better get used to that thing, time difference issues. She was very nice and very confident. Confident women are pretty rare in the view, so I’m impressed.
The second time we talked was my mock interview. I’m lucky I did it with her because the first time I interviewed in English was not beautiful! My English wasn’t perfect, less fluent than I would like it to be, but the worst part was the shame. Israelis have pretty good English, it is the shame that blocks us from practicing it. Interviewing is tough in Hebrew, why the hell did I think I can handle it in English?
When I finished whipping myself, and it was Abbie’s turn to speak, she had a different approach: “Yes, Your English isn’t perfect, but who said it supposed to be? It is good enough, I promise you“, Abbie said. Apparently, the things I was lacking weren’t that important, and the things I did have — I did not estimate correctly.
Abbie was there throughout the whole process. This includes the moment when I passed the first interview and was afraid they are going to find out in the next one that they made a mistake passing me. “I’ll tell you what the problem is”, I said because I felt comfortable with Abbie already. “I passed the first interview because I’m fun. Because I’m the person you can drink beer with” and then I added, almost whispering, “I’m not that good of a programmer.”
She proved me wrong right away: “Ifat, let’s be clear: They do not proceed with you because you have a nice smile. It’s not that they had better options but wanted to invest in a charity case. Companies like that have plenty of candidates, and you were good enough to pass. You are good enough.”. Of course, she is right and of course, it makes sense, but it’s hard making sense when you are emotionally involved.
She was there when I needed to handle multiple conversations and she was the first call every time I had an update. When I needed to practice my leadership principles for my interview at Amazon, she arranged a talk with her partner, who has just started working there and knew what I should know. He spent an hour and a half with me, listening to my prepared stories and gave his input on improvement. His participation was not in the “contract” of the mentoring arrangement. This is how amazing she is.
When the job offer from Amazon arrived I was full of fears. It’s one thing to interview and go under a process with no risk. Worst case- I’ll stay in my current job. Accepting their offer makes the fantasy true, and maybe in real life, it is not as fairy tale as it is in my head. Relocation also includes a lot of sacrifices. I remember vividly her asking “what are you most afraid of”, and I replied that my biggest fear is that I wouldn’t like the job. That is what terrified me the most because this is what I am relocating for and this is what I am going to do 8 hours a day. Abbie’s answer surprised me. She said, “That is the smallest of your problems. In such big corporate it is so easy to switch positions. The hardest part is getting in”.
How does this story end? I’m already 6 months in Dublin, happy with all the decisions I made along the way — dreaming big, joining the mentoring program, and trusting my mentor. I admit that I didn’t register as a mentor because I didn’t think I can contribute. The past has shown that I don’t evaluate myself correctly, and I shouldn’t let it limit me. So I’ve registered, hoping I could be someone else’s Abbie, even though these are big shoes to fill.
I shared with you my story, hoping you would consider mentoring another person. Give yourself the opportunity to make an impact and be a part of someone’s journey. Be so meaningful that somebody would be eager to write about you a year later, so passionate about the power of mentoring.
Did I mention that helping others also feel great? What are you waiting for?
- Dear Abbie, I didn’t use your real name because I didn’t know if you would want that. Besides, maybe my memory is not as accurate as of the truth. If you do allow me to expose your real name I will do it proudly. :)
I hope you enjoyed reading this article and found it useful. I would love to hear your thoughts, here in the comments or in a private message: