A new study by North Carolina State University found that childhood mentors contribute to a person’s career success later in life. According to research data by the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health, people who have mentors during their youth find work early and receive better job rewards—financially and personally.
The survey asked more than 12,000 teens and young adults if they had a mentor. Those same participants were interviewed about their chosen career field six years later.
Researchers only took those who were socioeconomically advantaged and compared them according to if they were mentored or not. Then, the two groups were compared based off of their experience and achievements in the workforce.
Although most of the surveyors had similar career pursuits and salaries, those that had someone to reach out to when they were younger obtained more autonomy on the job.
"The findings imply that mentees learn to place a higher value on jobs with more intrinsic rewards - and those same characteristics are associated with long-term career success," said lead author Dr. Steve McDonald, who is also a sociology professor at the University.
The investigation was conducted from a more natural standpoint. Meaning, researchers wanted to evaluate those who established a natural relationship with their mentor rather than one that was organized by a mentorship program.
However, one online blog says that mentorship programs build a successful foundation for a child.
Parent Tool Kit provides some great advice on how a parent should go about choosing a mentor for their child:
- Decide why you want them to be mentored:
Your personal reason may be to seek academic help for your child. Perhaps it’s related to a single-parent situation and you want them to learn from someone other than you. As stated before, you may want your child to be introduced to better career and community opportunities where it will connect them with the right people.
- Choose the perfect location:
Deciding on what location would best suit your child should be chosen wisely. Some ideal places may be the library, at a park, or at home. Additionally, times matter too, whether it’s during the weekends or during after school hours.
- Determine the right program:
As a parent, you should definitely be aware of the program’s screening process and how mentors are chosen for its mentees. Select a program that is very welcoming towards your participation and is open to letting you meet the mentor. If you’ve chosen to look outside a program, then make sure you choose a person that shows complete consideration for your child’s well-being.
Ultimately, it is important for a child to have some sort of role model. This keeps them out of trouble and focused in school. Participating in a mentorship program can build character and self-confidence. It can provide them with the chance to be more transparent and comfortable about their emotions with a person that is not a relative. Most of all, it will teach them to set goals in life—placing them on a path where they are personally, mentally, and professionally content in life.