Mentors for Hire
Would you hire a mentor to help you change careers?
Brought to you by Liberty Mutual's
The Responsibility Project
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has never attempted to estimate the number of times people change careers in the course of their working lives, and for good reason. For starters, there’s little consensus on what constitutes a career change. Then, there’s the complication in a sour economy of a “web designer who was laid off from a job, worked for six months for a lawn-care service, and then found a new job as a web site designer,” the government agency writes.
But in the last several years of difficult economic times, who hasn’t changed careers – or doesn’t know someone who has? I certainly have.
For those of us who have considered making a major change, mentors are not only useful, but also sometimes critical. For instance, a former Navy pilot friend was recently telling me about the fear his friend – a corporal, no less – had of retiring and entering civilian life for the first time.
That’s why I was interested in a recent New York Times article about “taste-testing” a second career with a mentor. In the article, a pastor (and former Frito-Lay employee) and his operating nurse wife were considering making the leap from his career to coffee shop owners – a drastic change to say the least. Through a website called PivotPlanet, which matches people interested in switching careers with mentors who can tech them to start, they found a coffee shop owner they could shadow and get tutorials “in most everything from selecting the right espresso machine to making money from leftover bagels.”
PivotPlanet lists mentors in about 200 fields. Here are some of the opportunities, as selected by NYT: “Want to be a meteorologist? Paul Cousins of Portland, Me., will Skype you some advice for $84 an hour. Want to be a winemaker? The site lists four mentors. Interested in becoming a ‘tiny home builder’?” and so on. The site has been joined by other online “dating” services for mentors and mentees, including Skillshare and MentorMob.
Prices for professional mentorship aren’t cheap. The Times sampled job mentorship prices from PivotPlanet, including $150 per hour for actor instruction, to $180 per hour to learn how to be a fitness trainer, to “finding your signature voice” as a voice-over artist for $90 per hour.
Have you considered switching jobs, and would you consider paying for professional mentorship, or does relying on friends, family and networking still seem like the best way to get professional career help?