advice, articles, attorney, best, blog, contest, first place winner, forum, group, guidance, help, how to, jessica dokachev, law firm, mentee, mentor, mentorship, paralegal, pointers, social, student, submission, support, the paralegal society, tips, top, winner, writing
Happy “Mentorship Monday,” TPS readers! Today, we’re pleased to announce the 1st Place Winner of our writing contest – Jessica Dokachev, a paralegal student from East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. What struck us most about Jessica’s extremely creative take on mentorship was not only how applicable it is to virtually all mentors/mentees, but the way the piece made us feel. It was like Jessica wrote this letter to (or for) each person who reads it. Don’t believe us? Go check it out!
First, I want to express my appreciation for the time you will dedicate to helping me, and hope that you know how important your guidance and insight is to me. I hope that you had a mentor when you were first navigating the waters of paralegal-dom. I also hope that whoever that person was, they gave you whatever knowledge and wisdom you needed. I bet that if you did have a mentor, they are proud of you paying their kindness forward.
There are a few things that I would like to ask of you. Most of all, I want you to be candid with me, both the good and the bad. It’s great to have someone tell you how good you are at something, but most people already know those things. Please tell me what I need to work on. Please don’t stand back while I trip over my shortcomings because you were afraid to hurt my feelings or anger me. I’m a big girl now. I will understand that you are doing the hardest part of helping someone when you tell me to improve a skill or to alter a behavior. This is what anyone being mentored needs the most.
I also hope that you will push me out of my comfort zone. Like anyone else there are things that scare me, and those fears will hold me back. Make me sign up to give a presentation on something, anything, so that I learn that public speaking is not a death sentence. Ask me to write a newsletter item that will be shown to my colleagues, to help me push past the fear of writing for others. Fear is a limitation, and facing those fears when I have someone (you!) to hold my hand will be so much easier than trying to do it alone later on.
Please help me learn to swim in the political stream of our office. Your experience there is invaluable to someone who is new. I’m not asking for gossip, I’m asking for the unwritten rules. Every workplace has them, and some mistakes made in that area are not easily forgotten. Please tell me if a half hour early on the clock is a half hour late in my coworkers’ eyes. Make sure you mention that no one wears open-toed shoes even though there’s no rule against it before I do so. Please, save me from ignorance on the subtleties that are all around us, in every work environment.
It would be great if you could steer me to other people who are as great as you are. No one knows everything, and I can learn from so many people in so many areas. Let me know who the go-to people are, it’ll make both of our jobs easier.
Lastly, I hope that you will see yourself and your efforts in my success. I will. Thank you again, I know you don’t have to do this, and I appreciate it.
Sincerely,Your “Mentee” Jessica Dokachev ____
Jessica Dokachev is currently a student in the paralegal studies program at Lehigh Carbon Community College. After 6 years in finance and 8 years as a stay-at-home mom to two fabulous boys, she returned to school to pursue her certificate in Paralegal Studies. She hopes to find employment in the fields of securities law or white collar criminal defense.
We’d like to congratulate Jessica on her impressive 1st place finish! Not only will she receive a spiffy certificate, but full-on bragging rights. (How impressive is it that a student won our writing contest? Actually…2 of the top 3 winners were students…in case anyone is keeping track. See, students, You really do have a chance to win! So, be sure to enter our next writing contest).
Until then, Jessica shall reign as the TPS Writing Contest Champion!
Be sure to check back in with The Paralegal Society on Wednesday, TPSers! We have a very exciting piece planned for your reading pleasure. (And you better believe we know exactly what you like to read. After all…we are paralegals, which means we’re telepathic.)
Our first honorable mention will run on the next “Mentorship Monday.” We’ll see you soon!