Navigating the many sub-disciplines, roles, career tracks, company types, toolsets, training programs, interview processes and countless other considerations can be overwhelming. Early-stage software engineers can benefit immensely from support from senior and management-level engineers to offer insight into such questions such as what to study next, how to work through difficult management or co-workers, how to navigate planning for career advancement, etc.
In the post-covid era, mentoring takes the form of semi-regular video conferences. We meet 1-on-1 for 10-30 minutes and discuss anything on your mind. I try to offer any and all support that I can. Often my professional experiences have given me insights into avenues to pursue to reach your goals. Other times my personal experiences or the study of such things as personality systems, communication methods such as NVC (nonviolent communication), Authentic Relating, meditation, spiritual development, community building, etc, have given me insights to bring to bear.
We would meet once every month or two, according to our schedules, and try to make progress on the things you'd like to bring into your life. No strings attached.
Put simply, I mentor because it feels like the right thing to do, and it feels like a good thing offer into the world. I suppose I could philosophize a bit more and make it sound fancy, but that is the simple truth of it. Digging deeper, and consulting my mind and heart for the underlying reasons, the metaphor of an ecosystem comes to mind. I feel that I exist as part of a larger ecosystem. I have been given much. I've received unearned generosity from many people over the years, and many chance meetings have positively changed the course of my life.
It feels right and natural, in my more senior years of experience, to give back in a similar way. That's how the ecosystem thrives and grows strong. I believe that mentorship, or you might call it intentional investment in the development of another being, is key to developing strong communities, strong societies, strong companies, and a quality life.
Many people are drawn to volunteer their time and energy to support a cause or organization that they believe in. Off and on over the years I've looked for organizations like this to help in the cause of. Sometimes it was a church, or a youth group, or a community center. In all honesty, I didn't always volunteer enough as I felt called to. Part of this was business and yes perhaps laziness. But also, part of it was a less-than-optimal alignment with the goals of the organization and my skill set.
Offering free mentorship for software engineers feels like an ideal alignment with purpose and my skill set. I feel this is one of my avenues of volunteerism, and one where I can make an optimal impact, build relationships, and play an important part in the circle of life.