advice relevant today, or are they telling you how things worked
20 years ago? Will what worked for them work for you, or do
you need to modify their advice to fit your personality? If you are
from a different culture, are they advising you about how to succeed in your culture, or theirs?
To sustain a mentoring relationship, both sides must get some
benefit. You are getting advice, information, and insights. Your
mentor is gaining the satisfaction of helping someone else, and
also being challenged to think about themselves and their career
in new ways. However, it is very important that you respect their
time, and be aware of competing issues. Always make sure they
have time to talk, and don’t waste their time asking questions that
you could easily get answered another way. You are looking for
their opinions, not facts. You may need to ask for starting points,
or the right terms on which to search, but people will be much
more likely to help you if you have shown some initiative.
Just like Odysseus, who set off on his decade-long travels having left his house in the care of the very first Mentor (from whose
name the term is derived), you should develop your own group of
trusted mentors to help with the care and development of your
professional life. It just may be the best thing you do to advance
your professional future.
“Over the years, my mentors offered me advice on a wide
range of topics that were significant not only to the success of
my career as a student scholar but also to me as a person and
a young lady,” says Jessica M. Simpson, a graduate student at
Louisiana State University. “That is partially the reason why I
was very successful. Getting advice on things from different
perspectives was truly helpful, and having a supportive network
away from home was the best thing that happened to me in
Lisa M. Balbes, Ph.D., is a freelance technical writer and
editor at Balbes Consultants LLC. She is also the author of
Nontraditional Careers for Chemists: New Formulas for
Chemistry Careers (Oxford University Press).
Becoming a Mentor
If someone asks whether you’re interested in acting as
their mentor, consider accepting. Mentoring others is not
only a way of paying back for what you have received, but
it also gives you the opportunity to think about why you
do what you do. Perhaps you see something in a potential
mentee that reminds you of yourself, or perhaps you like
to see others succeed. It takes extra work to be a mentor,
but it provides rewards in the form of fresh thinking and
the opportunity to share knowledge and experience with
a younger chemist. And it just may lead to some insights
U.S. Food and Drug Administration
■ Common job titles for B.S.-level chemists
■ Discovering chemistry careers outside the lab
■ The path to success in the chemical industry for
■ Food and pharma career options for B.S. chemists
■ Student Q&A Session with Panelists
■ AND MUCH MORE!
STUDENTS – Learn How to Find a Job in Industry…
New Reality of the Chemical Enterprise:
Traditional and Nontraditional Career Paths
251ST ACS NATIONAL MEETING • SAN DIEGO, CA
Monday – Tuesday, March 14 – 15, 2016 • 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Sponsored by the ACS Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Division
ATTEND THIS SYMPOSIUM TO LEARN:
■ Alternative career paths available to chemistry professionals.
■ Strategies for ;nding employment in the chemistry ;elds.
■ Ways to think “outside the box” when planning your educational and career paths.
■ How to become an entrepreneur and start your own business.