This blog is inspired by the work of Amy Wrzesniewski, Clark McCauley, Paul Rozin, and Barry Schwartz in their article in the Journal of Research In Personality titled: Jobs, Careers, and Callings: People's Relations to Their Work.
Having a successful mentor/mentee relationship is not easy. There are many factors that play into the relationship between somebody willing to learn and somebody willing to teach.
For career mentorship, one of the most important factors is how both the mentor and mentee view their respective careers.
Typically, there are three ways that people view their vocations. To some, they consider their vocation a job to make money and go home. To others, they think of their vocation as a career where they can grow and develop while still having opportunities outside of work for their personal interests. To the rest, they consider their vocation a calling where they believe that the work they are doing is their life's work.
The orientation one has about their work is not right or wrong. Furthermore, the same person can have different orientations around different work. For example, if you are working at a company that rotates you from project to project every period, you may find one project career work, another project a job, and another project your calling.
The orientation one has about their vocation is extremely important for mentorship. If a student aspires to pursue a career in marketing and thinks of it as his calling, it would make no sense to connect that student with a marketing professional that considers it her job.
It would leave the mentor thinking that the student has unrealistic expectations for a career in marketing and the mentee feeling jaded and potentially consider changing his career path.
This is just one of many factors that play into pairing the right mentor with the right mentee. If a student is left to their own devices when choosing a mentor, and the only information the student has are mentor names and titles, then their results from this mentor experience are completely random.
The goal of every mentor/mentee experience is to make sure that both the mentee and mentor are left satisfied. Mentors want to feel like what they are saying is being heard and valued by the mentee while mentees want to feel as if what they are learning is relevant to what they can achieve in their career.
Ultimately, if the factors that go into satisfying a mentor and a mentee are fulfilled, a successful mentorship relationship can bring incredible satisfaction to both parties involved and develop into a lifelong bond.
Garrett Mintz is the founder of Ambition In Motion (AIM). AIM is a program for college students who want to reach beyond typical expectations and pursue fulfilling careers. He helps college students understand what they actually want in their careers, learn pertinent information about what fulfills them, and helps demonstrate how to get their "foot in the door" at companies that interest them. Garrett's goal is to help young professionals build a realistic and thorough perspective of their potential occupations BEFORE accepting a job as opposed to after.