I need a mentor

by Ginger on September 3, 2008

in The 9-5

I’ve realized that I’m the kind of person who needs a boss I can learn from, someone who can push me, who can motivate me, inspire, aggravate, etc.

I always thought I would prefer to work for myself, but I’m currently in a situation where I basically am working for myself (except I still have to get sign-offs from others to spend money). And while I’m doing ok, and can come up with solutions, etc., I don’t have the joy I used to have in my work.

I think it stems in large part from not having a true boss. I currently answer to someone who is the “interim” marketing director. And she’s absolutely fabulous in a lot of respects—I know more about the business side of things than I ever did, she brings me into all sorts of decisions and conversations, and she allows me to ask questions ad nauseum.

But–and this is a big but–she’s not a marketing person. She’s acting as one, but her background isn’t marketing, her role isn’t marketing and she’s basically filling in until a larger decision is made about a marketing director.  So I can’t learn that part of the job from her. Because that’s not what she knows how to teach me.

I need someone to learn from on the marketing side. I didn’t major in business or marketing in college (good old English major for me), so all of my marketing skills are on the job training. Everything I’ve accomplished has been thanks to supervisors who pushed me, taught me, and allowed me to learn from them. Without that, I’m sort of stagnating in my career because it’s been over a year since I’ve had any sort of meaningful mentoring/learning. It’s been over a year of just doing what I ALREADY KNOW how to do. It’s been over a year of not having a boss to push me to be that much better, think that much more creatively, be that much more innovative.

I’m good at my job, but if I don’t get a mentor or someone to learn from soon, I’m going to stay “just” good and “just” at the level I’m at currently. And that’s not ok with me. I’m not someone who needs to reach the highest pinnacle of the career ladder but I do want to continue learning/growing/expanding my knowledge base.

So what should I do? Should I join the local AMA to try and find a mentor outside of my job? Should I just try to push myself harder to not need that teacher/student role? Should I try to shift my focus to be satisfied with having my current boss as my teacher in the OTHER aspects of my job?

Knowing what I know about myself, how do I continue my career growth on my own?

Katherine September 3, 2008 at 10:16 pm

Join the AMA. I stopped learning new stuff at my job a while ago, and I’m officially bored to death. Plus come time for a new job hunt you have contacts.

Ginger September 3, 2008 at 10:29 pm

Good points…I’m always so nervous about going to those first few events alone (I know, I’m a baby), I think that’s why I hesitate.

God, you’d never guess I was in marketing sometimes.

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