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Mentors
2

Mentors

Mentors

(OP)
Hi all,

This is a bit of a follow up to my last post about hoping to do some solo consulting in the future.

I'm noticing a need for a mentor at this point in my engineer career. I'm working in a very niche heavy industrial type of structural engineering, but hope to steer towards building design going forward. I'm comfortable with the basics of structural analysis and mechanics, and that's sufficient for my current position, but I really would like to know more about building design in particular. I've thought about changing jobs to do this, but for various reasons that won't be possible for a few years. In the meantime, I still want to learn.

What are you experiences with mentors? Have you been mentored, or have you mentored someone? What are your recommendations for establishing this type of relationship?

While I'm at it, if any building structural engineers are open to it, I'd love to pick your brain in a more long-form manner if there's a direct message option here or if there's a kosher way of posting email addresses.

RE: Mentors

Finding a mentor in your company is hard.. Finding one outside is even harder. You can try professional societies or alumni groups.

Personally, most of the mentoring and continuing (technical) education I've had have been from 1) this forum, and 2) studying for the SE exam. Requires self-motivation, but you've shown at least some of that by asking the question here.

I don't know if I have the chops yet to call myself a building engineer -- only a handful under my belt myself. But I'm happy to lend an ear. "username"@G will get you in touch.

----
just call me Lo.

RE: Mentors

(OP)
Unfortunately my ASCE chapter isn't all that active.

Thanks for the offer, I'll shoot something over!

RE: Mentors

2

Quote (hemiv)

What are you experiences with mentors?
Have you been mentored, or have you mentored someone?
What are your recommendations for establishing this type of relationship?

I was assigned a highly qualified mentor on day one of my first job. For the next four years, it was one of the most rewarding and educational experiences of my professional career.

Much later, in a different career field, I mentored six engineers, one at a time for periods of a few weeks to several years.

My recommendations?
For the mentor... older than you, but not from a different generation.

Ideally, the mentor has their own projects, you have yours. If you are both working on the same project, it should be different aspects. You don't want the relationship to change where you become the mentor's "assistant".

The mentor is willing to stop what they are doing and devote undivided attention to your issues.

For the mentee... Don't go to the mentor asking for "help" or "advice" before even beginning work on an issue. Instead, do what you can to get started... even if this turns out be be wrong. By taking your work to the mentor, the two of you now have something worthwhile to discuss.

On a regular basis, voluntarily discuss your progress on the project with the mentor, even if you have not consulted with them recently on a specific issue.

For you to get the most out of the relationship, your solution to issues will likely be iterative, not a direct path from "knowing nothing" to "correct answer". Don't be afraid or embarrassed to fail; just start over, if that is what it takes.

Demonstrate that you have "moxie".

BTW, take Lo up on his offer.

www.SlideRuleEra.net idea

RE: Mentors

Have mentored and have been mentored.

Some tips:

Look for more than 1 mentor, each with their own expertise. No 1 person will know the various aspects that you may need guidance in

Look for not only older than you, but your peers and even those younger than you. Each level will mentor you about unique aspects. e.g younger mentor can teach you about newer aspects of your business that the older mentor may not be aware of

Keep them informal. Most successful mentoring relations I have seen are informal. You see someone that you respect (at work, in friend or family circle or on linkedin, alumni) for what they have achieved you reach out to them. The message and your email, phone call, voicemail, linkedin request all have to be well crafted and must not be greedy or needy or pushy. This is an art. You can be taught this art.

If you have more questions feel free to reach out

RE: Mentors

I did not have any specific mentor assigned to me where I went to work in my first job. So, I would ask several engineers the same question. I was amazed at the variety of responses because I though they would be similar but were not. I then sat down with those multiple responses and kind of stitched them together to form what I would ultimately do. From that I learned that some of my semi-mentors did not get very good mentoring themselves.

  • Ask more than one person. Privately critique their answers.
  • Ask people of varying ages and varying "structural engineering status". You may find someone like yourself having helpful input. They may have already asked about what you are looking into.
  • As another post already stated, "look into the issue yourself before you ask anyone for assistance". Nothing worse to me than mentoring someone who appears lazy or helpless.
  • As already stated, Eng-tip is a great source of information but even we want to see you have done some initial research, posted a "meaningful" sketch of what you are concerned with and that you have read your original post for clarity and detail.

RE: Mentors

While I had great mentorship during the first 2 jobs, it was largely due to the redundancy of personnel during that time period. So I always had highly experienced fellow engineers to help me progress. In todays world many young engineers don't have the same opportunity and must work more alone. In my later years, I found that attending conferences like those put on by EPRI, API, ASNT and AGA gave me the opportunity to discuss in both open and closed forums and at the bar with fellow engineers problems and resolutions thereof. I urge you to try to do the same in your field of engineering and don't be afraid to speak up. You should also take some sponsored courses in your field where you will meet fellow engineers.

RE: Mentors

Hi hemiv,
Totaly agree with Lomarandil, at company it is very difficult to find mentor, however, i personally think that in your situation if you don't have any mentor right now it doesnt mean that you should concentrate on searching for a mentor. For now, the best choice that I can see is to learn by yourself. Learning by yourself lies in searching for answer on your own. If you want to establish SOLO consulting company,it is ultimatily crucial to have your own opinion towards a problem/questions.

In case if your are not confident enough you can create whatsapp/ facebook/telegramm group with free consultation at certain building design topics.

P.S. Unfortunately i didnt have any mentor, i only had The Aim.

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