By: Rear Admiral Will Rodriguez
United Stated Navy, Retired
As I climbed my career ladder to Flag Rank, I began to realize the importance of mentoring and how mentoring helped me climb that ladder. A mentor is someone who is not necessarily older, but someone who is wiser and more experienced in your field of endeavor. Once you have established a professional and perhaps a personal relationship with your mentor, he or she will become your advocate and professional confidant. Your mentor will advise you along your career path, and he or she may even open “doors of opportunities” for you. Your mentor may have a broader vision for you, and your mentor’s sage advice may take you out of your “comfort zone” in order broaden your career. (As we all know that there are good jobs, and there are “good jobs”!) This advice is always subject to conversation between the two of you.
You may consider having more than one mentor in order to give you different perspectives on your career. Moreover, your mentor does not have to “look like you” either. But the entire point of having a mentor, or more, is to have a “different set of eyes”, someone to help navigate you through the “minefield” called a career, and to help you become the best qualified candidate for promotion and selection to command.