Marketing has changed a great deal since I was a fresh-faced graduate in my first job. I was keen, full of enthusiasm, passionate about what I had learned, but, I was oh, so very green and totally oblivious to the ways of the business world. Luckily for me, I had an opportunity to work with a great boss. I gained a lot of knowledge working for him, then working with him and from him becoming a mentor. I was lucky. Very. I knew what I wanted from my career, and with guidance from my mentor, how I could make that happen. He was a sounding board, a font of knowledge and someone who’d been through it many years before.
Today’s graduates may not be so lucky. They are entering a business world where bosses (and other colleagues) are stretched beyond belief, not to mention stressed and there are few companies that offer a mentor/coaching or ‘buddy’ system as part of the HR function. Whether you’re new to the business world or you find yourself in need of a little bit of guidance, where do you turn for support?
For its members the Chartered Institute of Marketing provides a mentor service through it’s branches. The Mentor program is a great way to find a marketing mentor, to meet new people and to find that extra support when you need it.
I recently attended a mentor event with my local CIM branch. It was wonderful to meet so many new people, to talk about marketing, business, and career paths with them, but also quite upsetting that so many organisations just aren’t doing enough for their employees.
For example, with budgets squeezed, a number of companies are not offering ongoing training/development options to employees. Those employees are struggling to see how they can possibly progress in their careers as a result. Not only that, they find it hard to see where their future lies within the current company. The economy will take some time to recover from the ‘recession’, so as senior marketers we have to make sure we do our best to support the next generation as they come up through the ranks.