Thursday, 4 August 2011

23 Things for Professional Development: Thing #11

During the course of my career, I've had two mentors. Like Meg Westbury, one of these has been formal and one informal. The informal mentor was my line manager in my first full time library post. She shared her experiences with me very honestly, and gave me advice on what she thought was best for me. It helped that we generally got on very well together, of course! I never sought out a mentor at that stage in my career, and never really thought of her in that role until now. But she certainly helped to shape my career, whilst listening to and talking over with me any concerns I had.

My formal mentor was the person I asked to be my Chartership mentor. At the time, it was nervewracking to ask - I was fairly new to my post, and whilst I was pretty sure we'd be able to work well together, I didn't know her that well. I ignored some of the CILIP advice by asking somebody in my own institution and sector to be my mentor, but I don't really regret that decision. She's been a great mentor, giving me good suggestions for my portfolio, being willing to listen to all my concerns and fears, and pointing me in the right direction when I've found things difficult. I've not yet completed my Chartership, although I've submitted my portfolio, so this is an ongoing relationship - and I hope that, even when the mentoring relationship comes to an end, we'll continue to work together well.

I hope that both my mentors have also learnt from me, as my experiences of the workplace have been quite different to theirs. With both my mentors I've certainly had interesting discussions about various elements of the library world, what we find difficult, what we enjoy, and how we'd like to develop professionally. I've certainly benefitted immensly from both my mentors' wisdom and enthusiasm, and hope that in the future I'll be able to give something similar back - I just hope I can do as good a job as they have!

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