Sunday, 14 August 2011

Thing 11: Mentor as anything

Jack Donaghy: That's how you should dress for work by the way.
Liz Lemon [wearing a pink Chanel suit]: Yeah, if I was President of the Philippines.

Jack: Lemon, I'm impressed! You're beginning to think like a businessman.
Liz: A businesswoman.
Jack: I don't think that's a word.

Jack: Lemon, I would like to teach you something. I would like to be Michelle Pfeiffer to your angry black kid who learns that poetry is just another way to rap. 

I would totally be on board with the whole "getting a mentor" idea if, and only if, 30 Rock's Jack Donaghy could be that mentor. (Short-haired, salt-and-pepper version preferred over slicked-back, weird chestnut dye job version, ta). Failing this, I fear I may have to give this Thing a miss. 

It's not that I can't see the benefits of having a mentor: having someone willing to share their experience, knowledge and advice with you and take an interest in your professional development sounds great. And in fact there are people I have worked with in the past and that I currently work with who I admire and try to emulate (in what I hope is a non-creepy way), so I have certainly learned and taken advice from my colleagues and managers at various points in my career.

It's just that the hurdle of having to ask the question out loud is insurmountable: the very thought is making me cringe myself inside-out. I could no more utter the words "Will you be my mentor please?" than I could dunk my head in a bucket filled with those stringy black poo-bits you scrape out of raw prawns.
There's no way I'm searching for an image to illustrate that last sentence, so here's a picture of a hamster holding a cocktail umbrella instead.

On the other hand, I feel more comfortable with the notion of arranging a mentor for my CILIP Chartership. I think it's because the prospective mentors have volunteered to take on the role, and this, coupled with the fact that there are published guidelines for both mentors and mentees, serves to formalise the relationship, giving it a definite purpose and end-goal. And, happily, it also makes me feel considerably less self-conscious about asking. At least, that's what I'm hoping, since I intend to be doing just this when I register for Chartership in a few weeks' time.


  1. Your post made me laugh out loud as usual! (Good thing I'm alone in the Spec Coll reading room!)

  2. LOVE the 30 Rock quotes and I'm really enjoying your blog posts. Totally agree with you about the cringe factor of 'Will you be mentor please?'. Secret mentor stalking is the only way forward.

  3. @Christina - Mwahahaha! Did you have to tell yourself to "shush"?

    @Jessica - Yay, thank you! Always happy to spread the 30 Rock love!