The Role of Mentorship in Shaping Future Professionals: A Penclusive Perspective

20 Jun 2023


June 2021

Many of HBO Max’s then 44 million subscribers received a puzzling email one evening with pretty much nothing else but a subject line that read “Integration Test Mail #1.”

Acknowledging the goof via its official social media account, HBO Max came out hours later to speak up, confirming that “yes, it was indeed the intern.” 

Fortunately, the company saw the light side of the matter, and voiced its support for the intern, vowing to “help them through it”. What was really heartwarming was how everyone rallied together and shared their own personal stories of mistakes that they had committed at work, sparking off a viral trend, #DearIntern. 

If there’s one thing we can learn from this story, it’s that no one’s perfect. No one walks into a job having it all figured out, knowing what they are or aren’t supposed to do. Mistakes are particularly commonplace in the workplace for new professionals and even senior ones. That’s why they need an experienced hand – or hands –  to show them the way; A mentor to not just show them the ropes but also teach them how to react and bounce back in the face of failure. After all, mistakes are the flames that forge true success.

What is mentorship?

Mentorship is a dynamic and mutually beneficial relationship between an experienced and knowledgeable individual (the mentor) and a less-experienced or novice individual (the mentee or protégé). In this relationship, the mentor provides guidance, support, advice, and valuable insights to help the mentee develop personally and professionally.

When people often talk about mentors, one of the first few images that come to mind would be of a workplace superior. While this is a realistic image, it’s also akin to a horse with blinkers; it does not capture the full potential of who or what a mentor can actually be

So let’s take a couple of steps away from what we think we know about having a mentor and try answering the following questions:

  1. Think about a significant decision that you had to make recently. Who might have silently influenced that decision without being present?
  2. Reflect on a moment when you felt a surge of confidence or inspiration. Was there anyone who might have helped that happen?
  3. Recall a situation where you took a calculated risk that paid off. Were there any cryptic pieces of advice or unspoken encouragement from anyone that emboldened your decision?
  4. Look back at your career journey with fresh eyes. Can you now spot the concealed figures who have been silently shaping your path all along?

And the most important and obvious question:

Who is the Yoda in your life?

Similar to the legendary Jedi Master, a mentor is so much more than the person who trains you to fulfill your job requirements. 

They may also hold your hand in terms of your:

  •  Financial goals
  • Spiritual growth
  • Mental wellness
  • Various other facets of life & development

According to Oprah Winfrey, “A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself.” They track your progress, are always part of your support network, and help through advice or feedback so that you can achieve your objectives. In a nutshell, a mentor is someone who helps you grow.

This is especially crucial for students in their last couple of years of college, or university, and new professionals who have just entered the workforce.

Mentorship plays a role, in molding professionals of the future. It offers guidance, support, and advice to assist mentees in overcoming obstacles attaining their objectives, and unleashing their potential.

In the paced and ever-evolving world we live in today mentorship holds greater significance. Find a mentor who can help you navigate your career journey and stay ahead of the curve.