Find a Maritime Mentor - Be a Maritime Mentor"
That's the first thing you'll read when you click on the Maritime Mentors logo above - and it clearly states the case. An initiative begun by Murray Goldberg of Marine Learning Systems, who also blogs on Maritime Professional, the Maritime Mentors site just went live a few days ago. I think it's got great potential, and have backed my judgment by becoming one of the site's mentors. I'd like to encourage you to have a look, evaluate it, and to consider joining the site - either as someone who is seeking a mentor, or one who is willing to help by becoming a mentor.
As Mr. Goldberg notes in his Maritime Professional blog, “The maritime mentoring initiative will either be an amazing and valuable resource to the entire industry, or it will quietly fade away. The difference will be determined primarily by how well we get the word out.”
That's true - success will depend on developing a "critical mass" of mentors and mentees. So in that spirit, I'd like to draw your attention to the new site, and encourage you to give it a try!
The first thing I want to point out is that Maritime Mentors is not a money-making venture: neither Mr. Goldberg nor any of the mentors will be paid, nor does the site cost anything to join. The idea is simply to encourage and empower those who are trying to build a career in the maritime business, by allowing them to connect with mentors who have proven experience in the fields the newcomers are interested in - in effect, mariner helping brother mariner.
The number of mentors already signed up, and the breadth of their experience, national origin, and languages spoken, is impressive. If the word continues to spread, this pool of talent should only get wider and deeper.
Choosing a mentor (or accepting mentees, if you sign up as a mentor) is entirely voluntary, and the mentoring relationships can be tailored to suit individual needs, no matter where in the world you work, what you do, or what language you speak, so long as you have even occasional Internet access. Signing up doesn't obligate you to anything, and it could be a gateway to raising your qualifications and powering up your career. I'd urge you to read Mr. Goldberg's Maritime Professional blog post referred to above, where the site's purpose - and how you can benefit from it - is laid out in clear detail.
Most professionals would agree that much of what we need to learn in any field is learned not at school, but through on-the-job experience, in our association with others who are already professionals in that field. So you surely have been mentored in the past, perhaps without really thinking about it, by some senior person who took an interest in you and taught you something you needed to know.
I know that has been true in my case: whether it was as a young seaman studying for his first license, or later on when I was learning other branches of the industry such as shipdocking and tractor tugs - and even when I moved into the office at the age of 59. You never outgrow the need for good advice, and there's nobody like a fellow mariner to provide it.
So, check out the Maritime Mentors site and give it some thought - let the rest of us know if you found the site to be helpful, and how it could be changed to work even better for you. And spread the word to others who might find the site helpful, or who might be able to provide their expertise as mentors. Good luck!