Posts Tagged ‘Mentoring’


The Mentor Myth by Debby Carreau pokes a hole in the theory that having a mentor is essential for growing professionally and reaching the top rungs of the corporate ladder. The word “mentor” is an overused term. Instead, Carreau asserts that people are responsible for their own destiny. They are in control, not mentors who barely know them and are taking a passive interest in their careers. While mentors can be useful, there are much more effective approaches to career advancement. Smart professionals lead the way down their own career paths, and they are not afraid to take risks.

Professionals who want to be in full control of their careers and success should keep the following principles in mind:

  • Others are not in control a person’s career destiny. Supervisors, mentors, and coworkers are not responsible for how far another person advances in a career.
  • Mentors can be helpful but are not a career panacea. They are not as valuable to any one person’s career as some business books and career experts would have people believe.
  • Change happens. Planning is an important part of having a successful career, but unexpected events do occur. Smart professionals think strategically about their careers but are also flexible for when such events, such as market declines or industry disruptions, occur.
  • Complacency is a career killer. Many people take too long to make necessary changes in their careers, and they get stuck. Career planning is an ongoing effort and deserves dedicated time.
  • Failure is an opportunity for growth. The fear of failure stymies some professionals from taking risks, but each failure is a learning experience that makes most people stronger.
  • People are personally accountable for their own careers. Professionals who advance are those who always go beyond the bare minimum and do what they say they will do.
  • Hard work is not enough. People who work around the clock with the hope of getting noticed rarely receive the attention they crave. More productive for career growth is working hard and strategically thinking about how to move forward.


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