When Odysseus went off to fight in the Trojan War, he placed his friend Mentor in charge of his son Telemachus. Odysseus was gone twenty years, ten to fight the war and ten on his Odyssey traveling back home. During this time, the goddess Athena visited Telemachaus often. She guided him in his search for his father and his efforts to stave off the many suitors seeking to marry his mother on the assumption that Odysseus was dead. She offered encouragement and practical advice during Telemachus’ quest. In order to hide her involvement, Athena disguised herself as Mentor. Today we use the term “mentor” to refer to an experienced and trusted person who advises and guides aspiring new members of a profession.
This was all brought to mind by a post by Philip Haebig on the Paralegal Group LinkedIn discussion board, describing the difficulty he had finding a mentor and encouraging the use of LinkedIn and similar media for mentoring purposes. He states in part, “In closing, it took forever to get someone to be brave enough to say yes to mentoring a young starter. It took respect and dedication in heeding that mentor’s advice. And most of all it cost me very little for the growth it has facilitated, which is why I make the most of my connections in my network. After all, one’s network can truly be their net worth. Seeing as LinkedIn and the Internet are the exact place(s) to do this with very little hassle to both potential Mentor and Mentee, I am happy to share my knowledge, resources, and encouragements. And I suggest that you do too!”
I join Philip in encouraging experienced paralegals to become goddesses/gods in disguise as mentors of new paralegals. The comments to his post reinforce the notion that paralegals associations can and do play a role in connecting mentors and mentees:
Paralegal at Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP
Hi Philip – I am the President of the Inland Counties Association of Paralegals in California. My association is actually working on getting a mentoring program together something like what you have discussed. I am sharing your link with my other board members. Would you mind if we include it in a future newsletter? We have a lot of student members, we are all on advisory boards of local educational facilities, and are hopeful we can get some people to step up and be mentors such as you detailed above.
Mariana Fradman, MBA
Senior Legal Assistant, Chadbourne & Parke LLP
Dear Philip – can I please share your post with my mentees? You said exactly what I was trying to deliver during my presentation about the benefits of LinkedIn at the NYCPA Mentor Program Workshop last Thursday.
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