A Challenge for Engineers
A mentor is someone who will share knowledge with you. It doesn't necessarily mean they are older or more experienced. It does mean they have some nuggets of wisdom in an area you don't, and they're willing to share it.
There are many domains in which a professional can receive mentorship. When I speak to young engineers about this, they are usually thinking about technical mentoring. However, I like to highlight domains such as: communications, professional writing, public speaking, client interaction, planning, goal-setting, and navigating workplace politics.
Oh, the ways you can mentor...
January is National Mentorship Month. If you are an engineer that's out of school and working, I challenge you to make a commitment today to:
Mentor someone who does not look like you.
Even if you are early in your career, there is someone, somewhere who is less experienced than you who could use your help. Someone who needs to know that a person like you has their back.
January 31st is Thank a Mentor Day. So this time next year, who will be throwing the #ThankYourMentor hashtag your way?
Why someone who doesn't look like you?
Indeed, although the percentage of women earning engineering degrees has been on the rise, women's attrition from engineering remains high. Women who earn engineering degrees exit the field at a higher rate than their male counterparts (References: SWE Research, UWM, etc. Furthermore, some research indicates that a large percentage of the women sited "organizational climate" as a primary reason for exiting engineering. This is complicated and additional reasons have been revealed in other research as well.)
The point is, you can make a difference in the career of someone from an underrepresented group if you choose to. You might even make the difference between them staying or leaving the field entirely.