Another neat idea – The Mentoring Experiment

Robert Pearl, 2011-04-22

masterjediMaster Yoda grants Obi-Wan Kenobi the rank of Jedi Knight.Another neat idea from the co-founders of SQLServerCentral.com, Steve Jones and Andy Warren, the mentoring experiment has been launched, and is open to anyone who is an IT professional working with SQL Server.

Steve and Andy have been working with the SQL Server professional community for several years now, in a myriad of ways.  Through organizing, writing, blogging, training, speaking and networking, hundreds, even thousands of us, have benefitted in some way personally and professionally from the work they have done, and made countless contributions to our SQL community.  Modest as they are in accepting kudos, they truly are pioneers in the industry. (I can see Steve cringing while reading this 🙂 

They have probably aided and launched several careers of many SQL Server folk – from the accidental DBA seeking operational advice, to those who transitioned into a DBA role, and to junior and senior dba’s who sought career guidance and direction.  They are even responsible for putting on the map, many of the SQL MVPs, we see writing and presenting today (yours truly included 🙂 – the goal being that we too will continue giving back to the community and even become mentors ourselves.

No matter where you are in your career, however, you no doubt get to the point where you pause, think and ask yourself,  “do I like what I’m doing?”, “how can I enhance my career?” , “where am I going?”, and “where do I see myself in the next 2-5 years?”.  I know, you are not alone in this thought process, and often times, we seek advice from someone who has been down this road before, and has become successful in their own careers.  We can also benefit from the wisdom of those before us, who have made mistakes, so we don’t make those same ones as well.  We call these folks, mentors.  And at some point in your career path, it might be quite significant to have one.  A mentor can make a big difference in one’s career.

The mentoring experiment, is yet another extension of their community contribution, and a noble endeavor.

What is the role of a mentor?  The knowledge, advice, and resources a mentor shares depend on the format and goals of a specific mentoring relationship. A mentor may share with a mentee (or protege) information about his or her own career path, as well as provide guidance, motivation, emotional support, and role modeling. A mentor may help with exploring careers, setting goals, developing contacts, and identifying resources. The mentor role may change as the needs of the mentee change. Some mentoring relationships are part of structured programs that have specific expectations and guidelines: others are more informal.

Steve and Andy are inviting you to fill out a short application before April 30, 2011, and based on the responses and level of interest, they attempt to match up mentors with applicants.  If all goes well, they will determine if they should continue with this effor and launch another round to match up more pairs.

They, as do I, believe in the power of mentoring, and that relationships matter (borrowed from LinkedIN :-).  To learn more about the mentoring experiment, and to submit an application, log on to http://www.thementoringexperiment.org.  I did, and already filled out mine.

“There are always two – a master and an apprentice” – Master Yoda

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