I would like to congratulate those who just graduated in different fields from Makerere University. Well done!
It may not have been easy especially with the interferences presented by the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic. But whatever the challenges some of you encountered, you braved them, and have graduated. Salute!
Last week, social media sites, and local newspapers were awash with photographs of graduates celebrating their wins, and most of these graduates were young people, who are just going to start out in their respective careers.
To all fresh graduates joining the corporate world, here is my humble piece of advice. First, find a mentor(s), and be focused in your career journey.
Who is a mentor, and why do you need one? A mentor is someone who helps you grow your skills, make better decisions, and gain new perspectives on your life and career. He or she acts as an advisor to a less experienced individual known as a mentee.
Finding a good mentor is a catalyst for success, especially in the career progression of a mentee. This is because, a good mentor not only shares knowledge but also guides, teaches, and helps to develop the mentee’s skills and behaviour necessary for career and personal development.
When looking for a mentor, consider these three things. First, a supportive person. This is someone you respect and look up to. Second, an inspirational mentor: someone who is in a place where you wish to be one day. Thirdly, a professional growth mentor. This mentor helps you achieve your professional goals. One can find mentors through networking, personal connections, or formal mentorship programmes.
Research has repeatedly shown that mentoring provides a number of tangible benefits to both the mentor and the mentee. A recent Harvard Business Review article reports, “Research on junior to midlevel professionals shows that [mentorship] programmes enable them to advance more quickly, earn higher salaries, and gain more satisfaction in their jobs and lives than people without mentors do.
As a fresh graduate who is starting out in your career, don’t walk this journey alone. If you want to succeed in different spheres of your life, you have got to get mentors, because no one makes it in life on their own, we all need strong support systems.
Some of the most influential people in the world looked at as role models consider mentorship as one of the contributing factors to their success.
For instance, in a 2002 interview, Oprah Winfrey said “I don’t think anybody makes it in the world without some form of mentorship. Nobody makes it alone.”
Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, credits the scale of his success to the help he received from his friend and mentor, business men, Warren Buffet.
“Warren isn’t just a great friend. He is also an amazing mentor. I have been learning from him since the day we met in 1991.”
When it comes to mentor-mentee relationship, it is important to always remember is it a two-way professional relationship. Both parties are invested in the mentee’s success. The mentor doesn’t belittle or diminish the mentee in any way, and the mentee ought to respect and listen to the mentor’s advice, and both must be fully committed to the process.
Be focused: Before you take on that job, sit down and plan your career journey. Project where you see yourself in the next 5 to10 years, what you want to achieve within that time frame, and put strategies in place to achieve your goals.
Knowing what you want at the start of your career will help you to stay focused. Don’t start working without knowing what you are working towards; otherwise you’re headed for failure. Remember, failing to plan is planning to fail.
Obviously, sometimes people make plans, but at times, things don’t go as planned, and such is life. Sometimes, we have no control over certain things. However, planning one’s life gives one control, and he or she is able to make choices and decisions rather than leaving things up to chance. Best of luck to all graduates in their future endeavours!
Vivian Agaba, Journalist