A Non-techie’s Perspective on Mentoring

By July 23, 2019 November 6th, 2020 No Comments

A Non-techie’s Perspective on Mentoring

23 JUL, 2019

Not long ago, I was a doe-eyed newbie standing at the ‘tech-savvy’ fortress of Tavisca.

Dazed and confused. Me on the first day.  You see, I am a member of a breed, people call ‘technologically disabled’. I am a writer, a wordsmith, a creative soul and technology, well… never been my thing really. And yet, here I was on my first day trying to swim along with tech piranhas – front end developers, programmers, QA engineers, database administrators and what not!

On the second day, ‘perplexed’ was my state. I remember thinking if this tech-savvy fortress kept a tech dictionary. You know, a book that would help me with terms like, ’DevOps,’ ‘Jira,’ ‘Automation,’ ‘API,’ ‘AWS’.  Words my colleagues used with efficiency, while I stood there confused trying to figure out what they meant. There were moments, when I had to remind myself to breathe.

On my third day, my boss suggested, ‘Let’s do a teams meeting.’  And I thought I was supposed to summon my team for a team meeting.  As a newbie, I didn’t have anyone’s contact information.

“How am I supposed to summon my team for a meeting at 8:00 a.m. at such short notice?” I thought nervously. I managed to call a teammate. I asked him to help me rally the rest of the team. ‘The boss summons us all,’ I informed him rather gingerly.

He listened to my anxious ranting and responded calmly, “Teams is an application like Skype and your boss wants you to call him using the app.”  My team mate then patiently explained how one went about using applications to virtually connect with people. I felt silly. Not for long though. For after that meeting, it was like almost every second person at Tavisca took it upon themselves to help me, guide me and mentor me.

Whether it was an application, a technology or a simple task of uploading a file on a mind boggling work-space tool them techies call ‘Confluence,’ there was always someone to guide me. With the ‘mentoring’ I received, I bravely took baby steps towards understanding technology. A giant leap for a creative soul, with no technology genes in her whatsoever!

It took a while, but I gradually began to relax around all things called ‘technology.’ To my surprise, I found myself breathing normally when someone announced to me that they worked on something called, ‘JSON’ and ‘Scala’.

I knew I had a team to fall back on. They would help me understand things, I didn’t understand. Or point me in the direction I could get ‘guidance’ from.  By the time my first salary came along, I was feeling far more confident. I spoke up. I asked people doubts when I had them. And on most occasions, I was assisted. I was helped. I was mentored. Gently and patiently. Their efforts made me want to put in that little more effort to understand things I didn’t understand.

Oh, by the way, did I tell I am a qualified HR professional too? As an HR professional in the past, I delivered sermons on the importance of ‘mentoring’ newbies. And quite eloquently, might I add. Theoretically sound. Practically, well…. I was never sure. It was not until I found myself on the other side of the fence as a newbie that the finer aspects and nuances of ‘mentoring’ dawned on me.

My two cents on how a newbie feels when she is adequately mentored – she knows she has joined an organization that is willing to invest readily in its employees. And once she knows that, rest assured you are working with someone who wants to invest in the ‘organization’ readily too. It’s a win-win situation, if you ask me. For both, the newbie and the organization.

About the Author: Nothing much really. Kavitha is an aspiring writer, a true blue dreamer, a control freak and then there is that bit in her, that people refer to as ‘Pollyanna’. 

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