TABLE 4

Unwritten Rules of Mentorship

• Seek out mentorship
 Advocate for yourself. Find a mentor in your department but also look beyond. Make use of national conferences and e-mentoring, but be aware of challenges with long distance relationships.
• Know your role in the mentorship relationship
 Mentors: Be supportive and available, but let the mentee drive the focus.
 Mentees: Take the lead. Know your goals to be able to shape the agenda.
• Don’t take on a mentorship relationship unless you have the time
 Mentors: Consider collaborative mentorship if stretched for time.
 Mentees: Be organized to be most efficient and able to follow through on set goals.
• Keep the conversation focused (but not too focused)
 Prepare an agenda with advancement of the mentee’s career as primary focus, but don’t forget about personal development and work-life balance.
• Accept mentors’ limitations
 Mentors: Be self-aware. Know when to point a mentee to another, more helpful individual.
 Mentees: Form a mentorship team.
• Seek institutional support for mentorship
 Consider formal training for mentors and recognition/protected time for both mentors and mentees.
• Break up with ineffective mentors or mentees
 Address concerns early. Discontinue the relationship if issues can’t be resolved.