Upgrade to Pro — share decks privately, control downloads, hide ads and more …

Secrets of a Stealth Mentee

Katherine Wu
November 13, 2018

Secrets of a Stealth Mentee

Your dream mentor is right around the corner, but they don't need to know that! In this talk, you’ll discover how to find and work with the great mentors you deserve. You’ll learn how to extract insights tailored to you and to keep the great advice coming. The best part? You can use these strategies even if you're not in a formal mentorship program. Maybe you don’t even know what you want right now, and that’s ok! You can still receive mentorship to help you identify and grow into the next stage of your career. We don’t have to wait to be chosen--let’s help others help us.

This talk was presented at RubyConf 2018.

Katherine Wu

November 13, 2018

More Decks by Katherine Wu

Other Decks in Business


  1. @KWUGIRL AGENDA ▸ the problem ▸ why do we care?

    ▸ the solutions ▸ recommended resources

    matched up to somewhat randomly ▸ good intentions on both sides, but not sure what to talk about ▸ nothing is different afterwards
  3. @KWUGIRL AFTER! ▸ applied for (and got offered) jobs I

    thought I wasn’t qualified for ▸ changed careers ▸ conference talks ▸ salary negotiation
  4. @KWUGIRL YMMV ▸ comfort level with asking for help from

    others (ask vs. guess culture) ▸ play to your interests and strengths ▸ get creative
  5. @KWUGIRL CHARACTERISTICS I LOOK FOR ▸ someone who has a

    similar personality and communication style ▸ but who has had different experiences or surprising thinking ▸ someone I admire but also could be vulnerable with

    at conferences ▸ giving positive, thoughtful feedback ▸ sharing their projects ▸ taking people up on their offers to help
  7. @KWUGIRL WHEN REACHING OUT TO PEOPLE ▸ conversations usually easier

    than emails, but it depends ▸ offer a few options on scheduling time & location ▸ take the initiative on the administrivia ▸ no homework needed
  8. @KWUGIRL KEEP IT LOW-KEY & CASUAL ▸ lessen the burden

    or sense of responsibility: “unofficial mentor” ▸ be specific on why you’re reaching out to them in particular ▸ tone: "I respect your work and would love to learn from you.”
  9. @KWUGIRL ASK FOR EXPERIENCES, NOT ADVICE ▸ Cal Newport’s strategy

    for extracting insights ▸ consider people you meet as interview subjects ▸ ask for experiences, rather than advice. then consider the insights
  10. @KWUGIRL SAMPLE TOPICS: PROBLEM-SOLVING ▸ go over current dilemmas you’re

    facing ▸ discuss options ▸ get feedback on proposed solutions
  11. @KWUGIRL SAMPLE TOPICS: DECISION-MAKING ▸ anything that is ever mentioned

    as “case-by-case” ▸ need to build up technical intuition over time ▸ what made you decide to ____? ▸ what factors should be considered? ▸ what would have changed your mind? ▸ how did you decide what project would be interesting to do next?
  12. @KWUGIRL SAMPLE TOPICS: BEHIND-THE-SCENES ▸ effort shock: getting the real

    details on effort to hone skills ▸ how did you do that? ▸ what was your strategy to achieve your goal? ▸ how did you work through a mistake?

    in my performance or approach that I could do better? ▸ If I want to get from 'x' to 'y' in my career, what do you think I should be focusing on, and what kind of path would be most helpful? ▸ How can I be perceived as more ___? ▸ What would be helpful for me to learn more about?
  14. It’s remarkable how much people appreciate hearing from you when

    you don’t want something from them. Tina Brown @KWUGIRL
  15. @KWUGIRL PAY IT FORWARD & MENTOR OTHERS ▸ learn something

    better by teaching it ▸ consider from an instructor’s perspective ▸ Thoughtbot’s mentor handbook: https://github.com/thoughtbot/ apprenticeship/blob/master/mentor-handbook.md
  16. @KWUGIRL ARTICLES: REACHING OUT TO PEOPLE ▸ https://cate.blog/2015/11/23/advice-mentors-and-questionably-helpful-emails ▸ https://www.inc.com/alison-green/when-your-mentor-wont-respond-to-your-

    emails.html ▸ https://www.elle.com/culture/career-politics/a22521435/black-women-talk-tech- mentorship-questions ▸ http://www.beleaderly.com/ask-jo-whats-the-best-way-to-approach-a-mentor ▸ https://daedtech.com/how-to-write-emails-people-wont-respond-to-give-them- homework
  17. @KWUGIRL MOAR ARTICLES ▸ https://cate.blog/2014/04/16/sponsors-mentors-and-allies ▸ http://www.effectiveengineer.com/blog/secret-to-effective-one-on-ones ▸ xyproblem.info ▸

    http://www.cracked.com/article_18544_how-the-karate-kid-ruined-modern- world.html ▸ https://blog.ycombinator.com/what-to-do-with-too-much-advice ▸ https://cupofjo.com/2018/07/easy-way-to-network
  18. @KWUGIRL PODCASTS & VIDEOS ▸ Ask A Manager podcast ▸

    https://www.shouldwe.co/season-02/give-advice ▸ https://cate.blog/2016/05/17/management-and-misanthropy-with-cate-and- camille ▸ my Ask vs. Guess culture talk: http://kwugirl.blogspot.com/2015/05/ask-vs- guess-culture-communications.html
  19. @KWUGIRL BLOGS ▸ Cate Huston (cate.blog) ▸ Ask A Manager

    (askamanager.org) ▸ Julia Evans (jvns.ca) ▸ Camille Fournier (elidedbranches.com) ▸ Cal Newport (calnewport.com/blog)
  20. Pinky & The Brain, 
 tv show “Baby Cobra”, 

    Ali Wong’s standup comedy special Glengarry Glen Ross, movie the awkward turtle Anne of Green Gables Are You My Mother?, children’s book Harmony Bear & Friend Bear, 
 Care Bears Rosie the Riveter