The Importance of having a Mentor in Meteorology09 Dec , 2011 | 8
This is one of my favorite topics to discuss. I can’t stress enough the importance of having a mentor in your life. And sure your mentor can be a family member like your Mom, Dad, Uncle, or Aunt. But I’m talking more about a “professional” Mentor.
Having a professional mentor is extremely important in helping guide your career path, introduce you to contacts, and be a strategic voice in helping you make better decisions. Ideally, you’d want your professional mentor to be successful, well respected in the industry, and most importantly someone who inspires you.
I have been fortunate enough to have the same professional mentor in meteorology since I was 15 years old. As I’ve discussed in one of my earlier posts, “What inspired me to become a meteorologist”, Bill Martin of Fox news is my mentor. Even though my career is not in TV weather, it still does not matter. He’s still an amazing meteorologist and to this day he inspires me to become a better person both professionally and personally.
I believe that anyone (at any age) should have a professional mentor in their life. However, there are likely some of you that don’t have a mentor in Meteorology. So, how do you find one? Well let me ask you a question. Is there anyone in meteorology that truly inspires you? Maybe they are a top-notch meteorologist in your professional network? Maybe it’s a meteorologist you see on TV everyday? Or maybe it’s your favorite weather professor. Whoever it may be, you should reach out to them. My theory is if people hear that they are an “inspiration”, they feel like it’s their way of “giving back” to the community. So it doesn’t hurt to try and reach out, right?
Speaking of reaching out, I’d like to take this time to reach out to employers in meteorology. I believe ya’ll also need to do a better job in inspiring and mentoring new hires and students. Let me throw out a couple of ideas:
First idea: I believe each employer in Meteorology should have an internal “mentor program” where a new hire is paired up with a senior leader in the group. Sort of like a “Big Brother” or “Big Sister” where a senior leader in the group acts as a mentor to the new hire. I’m not just talking about having a senior person “train them” to do their job…but a mentor who meets them once a week to go over all their questions about the position and to make them feel right at home. I think it’s important to do this at least for the first year for each new hire. I believe it will make the new hire really feel part of the work family.
Second Idea: I believe employers (both private and government) in meteorology should also have a mentor program with Meteorology students at various universities. Perhaps every quarter, you can allow one lucky student to come in once a week (for a month) to shadow the meteorology team and have a sense for the work environment.
Most of these students have never seen an operational meteorology desk, or TV studio, or even a trade floor. It would seriously make their day. These students are the future of meteorology. Plus, it is great PR for the employer to extend a hand to them. Your company will not only attract better talent, but you will be known as a company who values young people.
And if some employers want to go through a third party source to find students, the AMS has a mentor program called “The Private Sector Mentorship program“. I would highly recommend that ya’ll at least start here. I think it’s an invaluable service.
Bottom line, having a professional mentor in Meteorology is very important. If you have any stories of a how a mentor inspired you, please do share. There are many folks who read this blog who need some inspiration, especially in this job market!