I Didn't Get Here on My Own: The Importance of a Mentor | Seersucker Sass

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

I Didn't Get Here on My Own: The Importance of a Mentor

the importance of a mentor

I recently received a text from a younger sister in my sorority asking about my career.  Her story was a lot like mine.  Her Plan A (post-grad degree) had fallen through, and she wanted to know if I had any career advice for her because she was interested in a field I worked in.  We talked, and we brainstormed ideas, and I shared my story with her.  She was so grateful and complimentary of my ideas, and that's when I had to tell her - I didn't get here on my own.

I've worked hard, and I feel like I have a pretty successful career to be 24 years old.  On the surface, I look like I have my act together.  (Look being the key word... Y'all know better! Haha.)  But I didn't do it by myself.

My sorority sister was interning at an organization that needed a paid intern for a month in January.  She knew I was graduating in December, and that I needed a job for the next few months before law school.  So I applied, interviewed twice, and got the call months later that the job was mine.

My internship boss invested a lot of time in me.  He asked me for ideas, he provided positive feedback and constructive criticism, and most importantly, he treated me like a co-worker instead of like a lowly intern.  I felt valued, and I was able to grow.

When I made the decision not to go to law school, a job became available where I was interning.  Even though I had a different boss now, my original boss did anything and everything he could to help me.  He taught me the best way to write press releases, he gave me contacts, he shared ideas with me about what I could do to take things to the next level.  And he asked for my help, as well.  I taught him how to efficiently use social media.

Without even realizing it, he became my mentor. He was always there to give me that extra push when I needed it, to give me a project that really allowed me to shine, and to help me when I was on the verge of a meltdown.  I got to know his family - his wife who I now consider to be a close friend and his adorable son who I still babysit on occasion.  (With the exception of my little brother, he is the only baby I've ever bonded with.)

One of the hardest parts of leaving my old job was the fact that I wouldn't see my mentor every day.  About a month into my new job, I was having an awful day.  I didn't feel like I was adjusting properly, I missed my old co-workers, and I missed my old responsibilities.  We were supposed to have lunch, and I tried to reschedule... and he flat out wouldn't let me.  I left that lunch feeling like a whole new person.

My advice to you is this - if you don't have a mentor yet, seek one out.  Find someone you admire and respect.  Or find someone that you know has walked a similar path to the one you're on right now.  (If you don't know anyone in a similar situation, ask around.  There have been so many times in my life where I've confided in someone about what's going on in my life and they've replied with "Oh my goodness, my friend so-and-so had the same thing happen.")  Don't feel like you need rules on your mentorship.  Sometimes I'll say something about my mentor and I get the response "YOUR MENTOR IS A MAN?!" Yes, he is.  And he's a wonderful one.

My second piece of advice is to be open to mentoring.  One trait that I really dislike about myself is that I struggle with sharing.  But mentoring other young women has really helped me to change that about myself.  Instead of hoarding up my secrets about how I handled an extremely humiliating situation or how I got this awesome blog opportunity, I now try to share them.  Someone else's success doesn't lessen mine, and it's pretty cool to see someone achieve something and know that I played a tiny little part in it.

Do you have a mentor?  Are you a mentor?

Happy Wednesday, y'all!




  1. I definitely agree that seeking help and having someone there is always great!

    Mikayla | A Seersucker State of Mind.

  2. I had a mentor through business school! It was a great program and I'm glad I did it!

    How 2 Wear It [] http://how2wearit.com

  3. I have had a couple of mentors, but my two right now are amazing! I'm actually kind of getting mentored by an entire agency (a small one) but still. The confidence that they have given me is amazing and I just want to make them proud! I try and give back by offering to help almost anyone who is willing to take it!

  4. I don't currently have a mentor but have had a few wonderful ones in the past. They are definitely key to learning the ropes in a variety of different situations.

    xoxo, Jenny || Breakfast at Lillys

  5. One thing I regret about not being in a sorority is the relationships all the girls had with their sisters. Even if they are younger, sometimes having a friend as a mentor, before having a larger mentor is a wonderful idea!

  6. Amazing post and I love how you ended it- "someone else's success doesn't lessen mine". So true! Mentor's are so important, and I know I wouldn't be where I am in my career without each of mine! Mentoring is also an incredible opportunity, and really shows how much you have learned- even when you didn't realize it!



  7. I have wanted a mentor to help me and bounce ideas off of. I will have to find one, your story really inspired me! You rock as always, SS!

    Nicole // Chronicling Home

  8. I think I definitely need a mentor. I don't have one at my job now but I want to grow! I loved your experience, your old boss sounds like such a helpful guide!

  9. Actually being open to mentoring is so important and sometimes really hard. I loved your story!


  10. I love the mentoring thing! Great post!

  11. Mentors are so important to push us in the right direction and motivate us,thanks for showing us that!

    Courtney// As We Stumble Along

  12. I completely agree with this. Mentors are so much more essential/important than we might give them credit for!!
    The Fashionista's Diary

  13. I absolutely love this story! I have several "mentors" that I know I can lean on/ask for advice/bounce ideas off of/etc. Because I'm in the education field, many of them were my previous teachers from high school. It's a good feeling knowing that you always have someone to push you to be your best and to lean on when you're feeling down. :)

    xoxo, SS

    The Southern Stylista

  14. One thing I don't get about getting a mentor is do you just ask them? Or how do you actually go about doing that?
    Great post by the way!

    xoxo Lex // LexMeetsWorld

  15. What a wonderful post! It's amazing that you were able to find someone that you felt comfortable enough with to seek out for support. And you'd make a lovely mentor, it sounds like you really have your head screwed on and I'm sure you have a wealth of wisdom and advice to offer.

    Jess xo

  16. I wish I had more mentors in my job hunt right out of school! I have some blogging mentors now that have really helped me out :) I'm so happy you found a mentor of your own, it sounds like he was really beneficial!

    xo, Alicia | Alicia Tenise

  17. Mentors are so important to motivate us towards right direction! So happy you found a mentor of your own!!

  18. I loved reading this! I don't have a mentor right now but I know how much a good mentor can do to lift our spirits and also give us good advice.

  19. I love this story. I have a few people that I consider to be mentors. They start as friends or family but then I start to trust them with career advice. It's so helpful!

  20. Amen to this, girl! Everybody needs good, clean, ambitious role models (and not the Kardashians). Great story!

    Diary of a Debutante

  21. Mentors are such great people who can pass their expertise down to you and sometimes you can even help them out! Great post :)

    Pop over to my blog :)


  22. I'm not sure I've had a mentor per say, but I do have a lot of people that I look up to!

  23. Thank you for this post! I am now realizing that I have more "mentors" in my life that I had previously recognized. Friends, family members, classmates and colleagues all mentor me in different ways, perhaps without even realizing it.

    Melissa | These words are my own.

  24. This is a really great post! It's always a good idea to have someone to talk to that has been or is in similar situations.