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Do you have a “sod all” box?

A meeting report for the Peer Mentoring Workshop…

Most of the Cambridge AWiSE AGM was devoted to a workshop on peer mentoring. We defined peer mentoring as providing mentoring in a group of peers. In such a group everyone mentors each other.

We brainstormed rules for our peer mentoring session and came up with the following:
• Professionalism and respect to each other and regarding others
• Listening to what each has to say as well as talk, giving each roughly equal airtime
• One conversation at a time
• Conversations should be cooperative, constructive and solution focused
• Conversations should be challenging rather than pedestrian

• Conversations should be defined, focused or within an agreed scope

The next part of our whistle stop tour was to come up with possible topics to discuss and decide which ones were viable to form groups around that evening:
• Increasing confidence
• Asking for promotion/ salary increase
• Returning to work
• Job hunting
• Setting up your own business / working in young businesses

We had to break off the fabulous networking and conversations mid-flow to give feedback to the whole group with some nuggets of real wisdom being shared:
• Conversation is great!
• The phrase ‘empowered employability’, a great phrase and the title of a series of evening lectures at Cambridge University.
• Consider starting a ‘Sod all’ box: when you find yourself worrying about something you can do ‘sod all’ about, put it in the ‘Sod all’ box and concentrate on things you can do something about
• Give positive feedback. It makes it more likely you will receive such feedback yourself as a culture where giving positive feedback is the norm will slowly grow
• Maybe confidence is defined by what we do, not by how we feel…
• Don’t limit yourself, question the limits you believe are holding you back. (For example, it is completely valid to apply for a full time job and negotiate part-time hours once it has been offered to you.)
• Set measurable goals so that you can judge whether you have reached them (ideally goals should be SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time limited)
• Use appraisals as an opportunity for development rather than a box ticking exercise. If you don’t get appraised, consider appraising yourself
• Make yourself and your accomplishments visible: if you don’t tell people about them, no one else will
• Consider letting luck play a role in your life, by creating your own luck….
• It was useful to hear people’s experiences of similar situations
• It was useful to get wider perspectives, listen and reflect.

What was the most useful thing you learned that evening?

One last thought….perhaps have a go at incorporating a dose of “planned happenstance” into your strategy.

Tennie Videler.

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