Now that your mentee has been in the workplace or certificate program for several months, it is a good time to check in and see how they are adjusting. Expectations in the workplace may be vastly different from what your mentee experienced in high school, and these expectations are compounded by COVID 19. Encourage your mentee to celebrate small wins and reflect on areas of their performance which they hope to improve. Giving and receiving feedback is a valuable lifelong skill, and it may be challenging to develop at first. If your mentee has not yet found a network of support within their program or workplace, you can encourage and support them in doing so.
Your mentee may also need additional support navigating their newfound independence, workplace culture or the rigor of their certificate program. The type of support that your mentee needs will depend on the challenges that they are experiencing. As your mentee describes their adjustment to their program or workplace, it is important that you suspend judgement and practice active listening. Your mentee may need tactical support with their time management and organization skills. If your mentee is having a particularly tough time adjusting to workplace culture or their training programs and may be experiencing impostor syndrome, or feeling like they don't belong or that they made a mistake by joining the workforce or enrolling in their program. It is important that you help affirm them, connect them to resources and remind them that you and your Program Manager are there to support them.
As your mentee progresses through their certificate program or at work, they may incur additional financial costs that they did not account for. Additionally, as the COVID 19 pandemic continues it may impact your mentee's ability to secure and maintain a job, they may have to commute further than anticipated, or may see a decrease in the number of hours they are working , all of which, which may impact their overall budget. While conversations about finances can be awkard or overwhelming, it is important to have this dialogue with your mentee. There may be financial resources available through their workplace, certificate program or iMentor.
"When we draw on the wisdom of a workforce that reflects the population we serve, we are better able to understand and meet the needs of our customers - the American people. So, we have an obligation to ensure we have a diverse, qualified workforce that is drawn from all segments of society, including our socioeconomic spectrum."
-- Tinishia Argamonte, director of US Department of Commerce's Office of Civil Rights
Prompts for Communication:
Here are some ideas for questions or conversations starters you can use this month to open important conversations with your mentee.
- What are some of the successes you've had so far in your program or at work? How can you continue to build on those successes?
- What has been the most challenging part of training/your job so far/ Why? How have you addressed those challenges?
- What feedback from you received from your supervisor, manager or advisor? How have you incorporated that feedback to how you approach training/work?
- What tests, projects or performance evaluations have you had? How did the go?
- Have there been any changes to your schedule? How often are you expected to show up in-person? Remotely?
- Do you have everything that you need to train/study/do your job on remote days?
- What do you do to prepare yourself to participate/work/train every day? Have you had any absences? Why? What did you do to make up the work that you missed?
- Do you need emergency financial support? You may be eligible for SNAP or TANF benefits.Reach out to your PSP Program Manager about the iMentor Emergency Fund
- What other concerns do you have related to finances?
- Learn more about Impostor Syndrome here: https://time.com/5312483/how-to-deal-with-impostor-syndrome
- Learn more about how COVID 19 is impacting the job market and how communities can respond here: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2020/09/17/in-many-communities-covid-19-will-permanently-kill-jobs-heres-how-they-can-respond/