How to Be a Good Mentee
Posted on November 23, 2011
Jasjit S. Ahluwalia (bio) stresses that the mentor/mentee relationship is a two-way street.
So if we focus a little bit on the mentee and think about what makes a good mentee or what doesn't make a good mentee, some of the things that we should be thinking about is that, especially there's somewhat of a generational effect I think, that sometimes mentees nowadays, there's a little bit of arrogance, a sense of entitlement almost that I think has changed over the last 20 years.
So confidence is very important as a mentee, being an advocate for yourself is very important but balancing that with, I don't know if the right word is humility, or some sense of being grounded in the reality of where the mentee is relative to their senior scientists or the mentor. There's quite a bit of chronological years between the two people, sometimes 10, 20, or 30 years, but it's not even just the time difference. It's the massive amount of experience difference between the two. I think mentees should remember that.
I think mentees should also think about when they meet with the mentor not to sort of come in with a tabula rasa, a blank tablet, and sort of say, "Fix me," or "Help me," or "Make it happen," but really try to drive the agenda and drive themselves with more direction and then the mentor can also then guide that.
Mentors shouldn't be telling mentees what to do but really providing guidance and reflection and thoughts, and so I think mentees also need to be prepared and they should realize that if the mentor is going to work hard, they as well need to work hard to make things happen.