How mentors helped me find my way in the work world

February 16, 2021

Starting a career is tough. Starting a career fresh out of a divorce after 18 years as a stay-at-home mom is terrifying.

My whole world changed when I moved from the country club world to the workforce. I was like a deer in the headlights – not sure of where to go and not even sure I could move at all.

At this turning point in my life, I was blessed with two mentors who built me up. Greer and Becky had been working in the financial services industry for years while raising families. They not only showed me that it could be done, but that I could do it.

I could be a single working mother. I could provide for my family. I could be a leader in the workplace. I could handle whatever came my way.

These two taught me the ins and outs of the job and the financial service industry. When it could have been easier for Greer to do something herself, she patiently sat with me and explained the reasons behind things and answered all my questions.

She had me print out forms and mark them up with questions. It may have been an old school way of learning, but having a tangible document in my hand compelled me to absorb the details. She taught me how to be patient and present in my work.

Greer and Becky also fostered the mindset of seeking solutions and answers, trusting my instincts, and finding efficiencies. This mindset has made me a skilled problem-solver.

Because of them, I treat every client as if I’ve just invited them into my kitchen. I am there to listen, to offer a beverage, to assist in a solution, or just to say hi. They helped me adapt to people’s different styles, egos, and personalities — a critical skill in a client-focused role.

While I’m grateful for the job-related skills I learned from them, the biggest thing they did for me was build my confidence and celebrate my intelligence and abilities.

I realize now how special it is to have a mentor who treats you as an equal while still guiding with a firm hand. A mentor is not just a cheerleader, nor just a trainer. It’s someone who helps you see yourself — the fortes and faults — and helps you find your way in the world.

Greer and Becky pushed me to be a better employee, workmate, mom, and even a better person. I went from expecting to be served to delighting in serving others.

Even though we no longer work together, I still go to Greer and Becky for advice or for a gut check. They help me to see the big picture and to understand when it’s time to compromise or when it’s time to stick to my beliefs.

I wouldn’t be the woman that I am today without them. When I needed direction, confidence, and reminders of my resiliency, they provided it.

The value they saw in me became the value I saw in myself.

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