Did I just make up the word mentee-ing?
As I prep for an upcoming workshop at the combined Council on Medical Student Education in Pediatrics (COMSEP
) and Association of Pediatric Program Directors (APPD
* (led by Cori Green at Cornell and a great set of pediatric colleagues) I'm thinking about mentoring and, well, mentee-ing.
To be the mentee is an important part of the relationship. Come to the arrangement ready to learn and grow. Think about your goals for the research, the project, the mentorship, and the menteeship (another coined word?).
Some issues may arise in the mentor-mentee relationship. Do you recognize any?
- The vanishing mentee
- The vanishing mentor
- The proposal that needs a lot of work
- Lack of focus
- Style differences
- Time pressures
- ____________, ____________, and _____________ (fill in the blanks)
And yet, every one of these is an opportunity for learning, for providing and receiving feedback from mentor to mentee and vice versa. An opportunity to do the critical but sometimes underrecognized prepwork, and in the words of Sheryl Sandberg, to lean in
to the arrangement you have with your mentor or mentee.
It may be a rocky road to success. And occasionally, you may need to give your mentor some well-timed well-crafted feedback as well. But before you write a hate letter, take a deep breath and get some perspective on navigating these complex relationships. Try these "Love Letters: An Anthology of Constructive Relationship Advice Shared Between Junior Mentees and Their Mentors" from JGME Sept 2012
. Fortunately, my own mentors (yes, you can have several, including peer-mentors) have been outstandingly helpful.