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Definitely do not try to take this mentor under your wing in hopes you will have him/her feeling rainbows, puppies, and lollipops. Just leave the bad mood alone and try to gain as much good mentorship as you can while limiting face-to-face interactions.
This mentor is also prone to gossiping about colleagues or other students, so limiting your physical interactions with this type of mentor may help you escape the black hole of drama and pettiness that we’ve all seen in academia. Never around – either through physical or technological means – this mentor has very little time for you.
In the past month I’ve been seeking out a new mentor to help me adjust to junior faculty life.
In my first year as an assistant professor, I relied heavily on what I learned in the past from great mentors, but towards the end of the academic year I felt I needed to gain mentorship from someone closer to my experience at my new institution.
If you have less than two interactions with a mentor a year (and desire more), you should re-evaluate whether this mentor relationship needs to survive.
It’s completely understandable if he/she has a big name and can help you network into a great school or job, but don’t totally rely on his/her advice or support for major decisions.
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He/she doesn’t have real intentions to put in the time and effort to mentor you, but you have no idea this is the case until you’re in the middle of a dilemma and he/she could not be less caring.
Here is a list of types of mentors to keep an eye out for, and some recommendations on how to handle these ‘bad’ mentors: Some mentor relationships start off so well.
Promises of advice, support, and other assistance sounds blissful to your ears, especially when you are a novice that needs a lot of help maneuvering the field.
Of these 15-20 mentors, I still have contact with about half of them (I’m pretty lousy about keeping in touch with people in general).
Surprisingly, whether or not I consider them a great, good, ok, or terrible mentor doesn’t correlate with whom I’ve kept in contact with, and I’m not sure what that signifies.