Why Mentoring Is Overrated And Why Sponsorship is Better

A mentor has become one of those things that we are all ‘encouraged’ to have if we want to get anywhere in our career. But, do you REALLY need a mentor?

No.

Mentoring is overrated, however there are ways you can leverage this approach if you apply these 4 career strategies.

A board of directors

It is important to have many mentors, and not only rely on one person. In this way, you have access to a wide range of people whom you may seek guidance from. Example, have someone who inspires you across different aspects of your life . You could admire someone for living a healthy lifestyle, how they prioritize family, how they run their business, etc. Mentors can be more senior than you, junior or even peers. It depends on what you want to learn from them.

Would you like to be my mentor?

Let’s be honest, no one wants this pressure, it’s just too much to ask someone to be your ‘ultimate’ role model. I have never approached anyone to be  my mentor, but I have a handful of people who I learn from across different topics.  I have people who inspire me to:  stretch myself at work, integrate home and family,  look after myself, etc. Labelling the relationship is not required. 

Additionally, approaching someone from scratch and asking them makes the relationship seem “forced” and one dimensional. I believe that a mentor and mentee relationship is beneficial if it is built on a foundation of mutual friendship and is mutually beneficial.

Having a sponsor is better

A sponsor is someone with decision-making influence in your organisation. They attend meetings higher up than the ones you attend and this person ‘leans in’ on behalf of you. You may not always know who your sponsors are but they use their social and political clout to support you. When a special assignment comes up, this person will advocate for you in your absence. A reality of the working world is that visibility of your contributions (not the contributions by itself) is what will get you the recognition. A sponsor plays a key role in helping you achieve this visibility. By being a strong performer, adding value to the organisation and others you will acquire sponsors.

Stretch assignments have a big impact on growth

Let’s be honest, do you really need another company leadership programme or another mentor link up? Assignments with increased complexity have a strong impact on career growth, more so than what a mentor can provide. This is especially true for females, where companies invest heavily in implementing leadership programmes. The impact of sponsorship and growth experiences can have a bigger impact on career growth than a leadership programme.

In closing, have many mentors at all levels and ensure that these relationships are built on a foundation of friendship. Very importantly have sponsors, and ask for stretch assignments. Now go be a lady boss!

Related Post: Working Mom Hack: How to ask for what you want at work, the right way

 Featured Image: istock

 

10 things I miss about my life before kids

I do love my kids with all heart and cannot imagine my life without them. They do drive me crazy  at times. And I will admit to the fact that I do miss my life before kids, if only sometimes. Only a tiny little bit 🙂

Here are the 10 things I miss about life before having kids

#1 Money

Yep, having kids costs a bundle, its child care, school, clothes, medical costs and don’t forget we do need to feed them as well.

#2 Sleeping in

This is the number one thing I miss the most, and I did not realise how precious this was when I had the chance. When sleeping till 6am is considered ‘sleeping in’….the struggle is real.

5 am wake up

#3 When I was done working, I was actually done working

Before I had kids, it was wonderful coming home and having time to just relax and chill out. Now the reality is that when I leave work and I come home I am on duty for at least another few hours depending on what time my kids go to bed (I highly recommend an early bedtime).

#4 Going to the bathroom without having to explain myself

My daughter seems to be fascinated by me visiting the bathroom. Going to the bathroom requires a lengthy explanation to my 3-year-old, why I am going, and I get escorted to the bathroom as well.

#5 Going out to dinner

Man, it was so awesome to just decide to go out to dinner (or movies) without needing to make any arrangements. The freedom of it all was bliss!

#6  Watching normal TV programming that is not animated

How I miss being able to kick back on the weekend and do series’ marathons!! I remember my husband and I watching endless episode of CSI: MIAMI. We did not even need to leave the bed on a Saturday. *sigh*

#7 Free time, so much free time

I miss being able to do whatever I want, whenever I want. Reading, watching a movie, cooking (jokes! it was never cooking).

#8 Weekend getaways…without taking the equivalent of a small flat with you

Going away has changed from just taking a small overnight bag to…a whole boot full of stuff. Its the cot for the little one, enough blankets for the little one, a special blanket for the older one, clothes, back up clothes, food, back up food, towels and back up towels…the list is endless.

#9 Drinking a cup of coffee without it getting cold

I find myself constantly reheating  cup of coffee in the microwave. A very weird fact, but true!

#10 Not having to deal with kids’ bodily fluids

I am not going to explain this.

Life before kids
Source: Giphy.com

 

Do any of these resonate with you? Anything in particular you miss about life before kids? Its okay,  admit it…

 

 

 

 

{Working Mom Hack} Asking For What You Want At Work (the right way)

Knowing how to go about getting what you want at work does not need to be a mystery.  As your company invests more in you, you return the favour by being the awesome employee that you are. It really is a win-win. It all starts with asking. Here are 5 working mom hacks you can apply right away, to get what you want.

What do you have to lose?

Related Post: Bye Bye Mommy Guilt, Why You Should Feel Proud of Being a Working Mother

#1 More training / study support

So, you want to study further but HR advised you that the company only covers a fraction of the fees ‘as per the policy’? Here is what you do. Work with a sponsor (your supervisor or mentor) and draft a one page motivation to request an exception. Your motivation should outline costs and acknowledge the policy (this shows you read it and you are not disregarding it).

Finally, it should include why this programme is good of your career and for the company. The fact that you have applied your mind to your studies in the context of your career will count in your favour.

#2 More flexibility

Importantly, be good at what you do when you are in the office, then  ask for flexibility . You want to be in a position where no one really cares about where you work, as you always deliver.  Suggest a trial period at first and show how it helps your employer (i.e. you will be more productive, not just easy for you).  You will often find a manager being more open to flexile arrangements if its positioned as a trial at first.

[bctt tweet=”If you are requesting more flexibility at work, ensure your work output is impeccable!” username=”cherralle_”]

#3 More maternity leave

Your company will probably have a  set policy in place, but if you want to take more time off you need to negotiate your maternity leave with your manager.. This is quite a challenging one to navigate.

Position the maternity leave request as early as possible (immediately after your completion of your first trimester). The critical factor that will be considered in an extended maternity leave is the backup plan. You will be leaving your colleagues behind to take over your work while you are off having a baby (as important as this is, it’s a pain for those left behind).

Related Post: The Other Side of Maternity Leave: The Coworkers We Leave Behind

Come up with a unique way to cover some of your responsibilities. Example, volunteer to train an Intern, you could groom someone for 6 months and you can set this person up to support the team in some activities.  Whatever the solution is, do not throw your hands up in the air. You need to lean in and work with your manager to work out what your backup plan is. This may help towards getting that extra bit of maternity leave.

#4 More professional memberships

If you want to join a professional community, whether your company has a policy or not, you should request your boss to sponsor it.  This reflects your dedication to your craft. It also helps with you remaining up to date with trends (which is good for business) and allows you to network.

Related Post: The Side of Motherhood That We Do Not Post on Instagram

[bctt tweet=”Studying further and professional memberships reflects your passion for your craft” username=”cherralle_”]

#5 More visibility

If you want to gain more exposure to high value projects, or gain more access to senior leadership – ask. Be good at what you do, and then ask for more. Your manager would be willing to expose you to more opportunities, if you have shown your credibility in other tasks.

In closing, an employer will invest in employees who have demonstrated their commitment to the company through their performance. As a valued employee, you can and must enhance your position in the company by asking for what you want. Spend time with your manager, mentor or HR to understand what is available but also be encouraged to lean in and ask for what you want. 

What do you have to lose?

What do you think, do you have any tips for asking what you want at work?

 

 

 

You Should Try This – Interview With A Toddler

I had such a fun time interviewing our 3 year old daughter, Caitlyn. If you are looking for a way to kill some time on Saturday afternoon, interview a toddler!

Although it was a challenge to get her to focus and sit still. There were way more questions, and this is what we managed to get out! She is growing so fast, and cannot believe the end of her toddler years are approaching.

cute toddler natural hair

 

Interview with a toddler

1. What is something mommy always says to you? Caitlyn, come eat. (I thought it would be something more profound..hahaha)

2. What is something daddy always say? Caitlyn I am going to ‘bliksem’ you

3. What is your favourite thing to do? Swimming

Related Post: The Side of Motherhood That We Do Not Post On Instagram

4. What makes you happy? Teacher at swimming (on this day she had her swimming lessons)

5. How old are you? 3 (showing three fingers), but I want to be 4 (shows four fingers)

6. How old is Mommy? 3 (okay)

Related Post: 10 Things I Miss About My Life Before Kids

[bctt tweet=”Super fun parent and toddler activity is to ‘Interview Your Toddler’. Here are some questions to try out!” username=”cherralle_”]

family photography toddler natural hair

7. How old is Daddy? 2 (okay)

8. Who is your best friend? Mamma (awhhh). Last week it was Eli and Evan from school, but okay.

9. What did you do today? I fell in the water at swimming (yes she did and her dad pulled her out, nothing serious)

10. What is your favourite food? Soup, bread and chicken (that was her lunch)

11. What is your favourite song? When it’s storming… (what they sing at school when its storming outside, I am not really sure?) and second favourite is Shosholoza

12. What do you want for your birthday this year? Rainbow dash (favourite character from My Little Pony, she also likes to be referred to as ‘Rainbow Dash Caitlyn’)

13. What is your favourite animal? Lion – so it can bite daddy

14. What is love? Mamma (awhhh…..too precious)

15. Where do you live? At home (well, what other answer did I expect)

This is definitely something I would want to do on an ongoing basis, these memories are too precious and the ‘interview’ was such fun. Even though I had to chase her  bit around the house. 🙂

 

Related Post:

Bye Bye Mommy Guilt – Why You Should Feel Proud of Being A Working Mom

 

 

 

 

5 signs that you are a millennial mom

A millennial mom is smart, technology savvy and  does not succumb to societal norms. Born during the 1980s to late 1990s, this is a generation of moms who have grown along with the rise of technology. They also have the unique challenge or raising kids completely immersed in the digital age.

Here are the 5 signs that you are a millennial mom

There is an app for that?!

If there is an app that can make your life easier, you have it. You use Ubereats for your takeout dinners, you use takealot  to purchase anything from formula, nappies, kids toys and  you book family vacays on Airbnb.

Brands and products who have managed to “integrate digitization and mobility”  and can make life easier for millennial moms will be highly valued, see article from DigiDay. 

Are you smarter than a millennial mom?

You are educated and comfortable researching a variety of topics online pertaining to your kids. Millennial moms are  more educated than any other generation of moms, and they use this to the advantage of their families.

They said what?!

You don’t move on a brand purchase, until you have found their online presence. You also ask your close friends and colleagues for advice on purchases and you freely share reviews too.

36% of millennials moms do not trust marketing campaigns, and rather want to read  unbiased reviews or chat to friends.

Do not label my parenting style

As millennial mom, you have different sides to your personality and  your parenting style is reflective of this. Thus, you may be a combination of a  home maker, fashionista, cook, bread winner and a working mom.

The one common thread about millennial moms is their focus on their children. Check out this article by Weber Shanwick  where the diverse parenting styles of  a millennial mom are discussed. This is a dilemma for brands and products who cannot ‘pin point’ marketing to millennial moms.

More than just a mom

You need to be able to express your whole self, whether that is through personal hobbies or just “me time”. Your role as a mom is only one aspect of who you are, albeit a very important one there are other sides to you.

Being a millennial mom to me is about individuality and being able to comfortably express myself . I have a traditional role in our family sometimes, but I am also independent and  driven by my own aspirations.

There you have it! Tell me in the comments, what makes you a unique millennial mom?

 

To my husband on father’s day

I am always talking about how wonderful and cute my kids are. So today for father’s day I want to  dedicate this post to my husband who is kinda awesome too.

here goes…

When we met I knew you would be an incredible father, although I did not know how much I would love you for it. Even then, you believed in family values and I was sort of overwhelmed.

 

It was a bit too intense for me then. I am glad you are the one I chose to build a family with, and here is why.

 

new baby, father, father's day

You are the foundation of our family and I appreciate all you do for me and our girls.

You constantly go above and beyond for our family, making sure we are well looked after in every way, especially by being present. Watching you with the kids, I can see that being a father to our girls is a role you take very seriously and  that you take pride in.

I can see that they bring you so much joy and you bring to them.

When one of the girls are up in the night, you are there without (much 🙂 ) complaining.

When the kids are sick and need to see the doctor or we need a quick prescription, you quickly sort it out. You always take Caitlyn for swimming or play games outside, you gladly take her. When I need to work late you are there, you are always there without complaints. And I thank you for being there, for me and our girls in all the ways.

I love you Zane, and thank you for sharing this journey called parenthood with me.

Fathers day - daughter and dad

Father's day - daughter and father
Source: i-Stock