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My #MentorStories is about my team leader who taught me how to upskill and be patient with learning new things!
She is Bulgarian, while I am Indian. We have never met face to face. We know each other only through our profile photos in Microsoft Teams. Yet, despite the geographical gap and the cultural differences, Vee is the mentor I have always wanted in my corporate life.
By the way, I have spent more than a decade here.
I have assumed various roles in my organization, but I never got a chance to mentor a woman or get mentored by one. My male managers and colleagues have been cooperative and sensitive to my requests.
Yet, I have often wondered how it would be if I had to work in an all-women’s team. That opportunity came in 2022.
Vee and I had occasionally interacted before. I would require a report from her, and she would be prompt in creating it. My quick responses to her queries sped up the process. Hence, we had mutual respect.
So, when the management picked me up for her team, Vee sent me a hearty welcome email. I was delighted and looked forward to learning from her because she is a dedicated professional.
Vee was a patient mentor. Before joining her team, I had a decent knowledge of MS Excel and PowerPoint. But within a couple of months, I found myself effortlessly navigating through the maze of charts, pivots, formulas, functions and short-cut keys.
Vee never rebuked me for my initial silly mistakes. On the contrary, she waved them off with a calm reply. No worry! It happens to me too. Also, she insisted that I take frequent breaks to clear my mind.
Her logic was simple – take your time to learn, but perfect it. I could relax, knowing I had someone who had my back. No doubt her training method was effective.
She didn’t just go through the procedure mechanically; she also explained the reasons for preparing the monthly, weekly and daily data. It helped me in the long run when colleagues came to me for help in her absence in generating automatic reports.
Vee and I never indulge in informal banter. We don’t even possess each other’s mobile numbers. On Fridays, at 5 PM CET, we type a ‘happy weekend’ and switch off our minds during the weekends. But during the weekdays, it is hectic as we race against time to deliver the PPTs and analyses.
Yet, we have a good time as we share our knowledge. Our relationship is based on trust and respect, not on small talk.
During her planned leaves, Vee still assures me of her support. Though I hate to disturb her during her valuable time with her family, sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures. But Vee never complains. She logs in and instructs me on the next steps.
However, I pride myself on the fact that my frantic calls to Vee have reduced. It would not have been possible without her unconditional help.
My association with Vee continues to this date. Her knowledge of various processes amazes me. But I am no longer intimidated by the challenges. It’s my dream to take on the mentorship role and be a Vee to another woman.
Thank you, Vee. May our tribe increase. I envision a future where we helm a team consisting of only women. Should such a scenario arise (I am crossing my fingers), we will surely ace it.
Editor’s Note: For IWD 2023, we’re publishing #MentoringStories in both fiction and non-fiction, for the IWD2023 theme #EmbraceEquity. See all mentoring stories here.
Image source: Deepak Sethi, via Getty Images, free and edited on CanvaPro
I am an IT professional, lost in the monotonous world of Excel. So, I seek refuge in Word, pun intended.
I write for various literary platforms and have quite a few anthologies to my credit.
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