How to Get Ahead Without a Mentor

A good mentor always comes in handy when you start a new job. He or she can help you figure out how to go about your tasks while also offering you valuable advice on how to advance. However, long gone are the days when every workplace provided a mentor for every new employee. Today, you are more likely to start a new job without a helping hand to guide you through the anxiety of your first weeks.

The truth is that if you think about it calmly, you don’t really need a mentor. Your first couple of days can prove to be a bit of a struggle, but I guarantee that if you figure everything out yourself, the levels of satisfaction and self-confidence you’ll feel will be incomparable.

1. Help Is Not the Answer

Amy Schumer

A mentor is like a teacher who allows you to do some independent study and whenever you have a question you raise your hand and you get an answer. But as you may remember from your school days, it’s those problems we have to find an answer to on our own that we remember best. The same is true of the workplace; if you figure out how to solve an issue on your own, not only will you remember how to do it next time, but you’ll also be able to improve your skills in dealing with it because you’ll be confident. If you’ve done it once, who’s to stop you from doing it again.

And while this is true, no one says that you need to know everything from day one; everyone expects you to have a question or two, so don’t be shy to ask both your colleagues and your boss. What you should do before asking, though, is an make effort to tackle the issue on your own as this will be greatly valued. While you are trying to figure out the answer, make sure you take notes, write down any questions that come up, basically write down everything you are uncertain of and then separate these questions into lists according to who can provide you with an answer to these questions. Some questions will be for your boss, but there will be some that a couple of different colleagues can help you with, so don’t be shy, pester them in the beginning, so you don’t have to later.

2. No Man Is an Island, Or Is He?

A mentor has the magical ability to provide answers for just about everything, from what’s the best take-out place near the company, to in-depth questions about your work tasks.

If you find yourself without a mentor, don’t worry, that’s what Google’s for. You can pretty much consider Google, your mentor because it can provide answers for everything (yep, everything, EVERYTHING, Google is the real deal).

You can access a ton of information on the internet about everything you want to know, you’ll find tutorials, forums with people dealing with the same issues as you, just use your very best research skills and find what you are looking for.

Even if what Google comes up with makes you feel uncertain, you can still use it for inspiration. Or you can take it to your boss and ask if it’s any good. Even if it’s the wrong answer, they’ll still be impressed by your initiative, and they are more likely to take the time to explain how everything works.

3. Believe In Yourself

The reality is that having a mentor can make you feel more certain of yourself and of everything you are doing, but not having a mentor doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. Rather, you can look at it as a chance to prove yourself on your own. Sure it’ll be harder because you won’t have anyone to help ease your fears when you are close to a deadline. But, you need to embrace this as an opportunity to remind your boss why he or she hired you.

Not having a mentor means that you’ll often need to resort to your knowledge and skills which can help you grow. As you try to handle everything yourself, you are likely to find gaps in your knowledge; when that happens, make sure you jot them down. At the end of every week take a look at these notes and see if there’s anything recurring, is it a particular aspect of your field that’s giving you a hard time? What can be done about it? Can you read on it? Are there any classes available to improve on those skills? The more you do that, the better-rounded your knowledge will be, and the more you’ll grow as a professional.

Before long you’ll have mentored yourself into a promotion.

See Also: Top 10 Qualities of an Effective Mentor

We all want to find a guiding hand in a new job. It’s more to do with the sense of security than with anything else. If your company doesn’t provide a mentoring scheme, don’t stress out. There are plenty of things you can do on your own, and remember that this is an opportunity to shine.

Does your company have a mentoring scheme? Did you find it helpful?




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