We’ve always been told that if we work hard and follow the rules, anything is possible. So why does everything — from home-ownership to the dream job — feel further and further out of reach? SCAMbition is an exploration of where we live right now; it’s the stark reality that we can’t afford a down payment while we’re paying down student loan debt, that the dream job might be no job at all, and that ambition might just be the biggest scam of all. Of course, the only way out of a scam is through it and so while the future might not look like we thought it would, we’re ready to reshape it in a way that benefits everyone, not just a select few.
Chidera, 28, is a junior doctor in the UK hoping to specialize in surgery. After four years of studying and training, she is seeking a career mentor to help her reach the next step. Ideally, this would be someone with a wealth of knowledge and experience in her chosen field who could guide her closer to her goals. But that is far easier said than done.
The challenges are due in part to her chosen field. “A lot of the people I’d like to have as mentors are incredibly busy and so finding time to really connect can be difficult,” she explains. Building relationships takes time and it can be hard to do when you’re regularly rotating hospitals during training. Plus, the subspecialty that Chidera’s most interested in — trauma surgery — is fairly new to the UK, which makes finding clear advice even more difficult.
However, many of the difficulties she is facing are not unique. “A significant part of career progression can be impacted by who you know, so a mentor that can also open these doors and add some credibility to my presence would be really helpful,” Chidera explains. She adds: “As a Black woman in a field where most people do not have my background, having someone to discuss the unavoidable intricacies of how that impacts my work life would be valuable.”
No matter what career path you’re taking, a mentor can seem like the ultimate ace up your sleeve. According to a survey of 3,000 people conducted in 2019 by Olivet Nazarene University, 76% of those surveyed think mentors are important, and “people with mentors are happier at their current jobs than those without.” However, only 37% of respondents admitted to having a mentor.
So how do you find a mentor, let alone a good one? This has never been easy to do, but 2022 has made it harder than ever to find the time and the security to develop mentor/mentee relationships as we continue to feel the fallout that the pandemic has had on workers. We spoke to different people from a range of professions about their experiences with mentorship, from searching for a mentor to having mentored for years, to get an insight into the perks (and challenges) of mentoring in 2022.
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