Photographer: Drazen Lovric via Getty Images

You Don't Really Need a Mentor

Stop stressing about finding the perfect career guru and embrace this new approach to mentorships

People just starting out in their careers get one piece of big advice: Find a mentor. And that’s true—research has found the many benefits of having a career guru. But finding the right person often feels stressful and forced. Only 22 percent of organizations have formal mentorship programs. And many people under 40 can’t say they’ve ever had a mentor. For those lucky enough have a career guide, it can feel useless as industries shift and change. Someone who started their career 30 years ago might not have any actionable advice for someone who grew up in a very different world. 

Instead of getting anxious about finding that special someone, it’s time rethink the idea of mentors. Many people argue sponsorships are more important than mentorships, anyway. Rather than have one go-to career person, consider collecting a buffet of people who have various skills that might be useful in different ways. That's what Phyllis Korkki, the executive editor of the story-telling app Hooked, did. When she wanted to learn a new skill, she sought out an unconventional mentor. 

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