This week in the Brazen Careerist blog, Penelope Trunk discusses the role of the mentor in the career of a person and how she found her own favorite… a good laundry list for beginners to networking:
From the moment I started realizing the value of other people and their wisdom (around the age of 15), I have taken similar steps in finding mentors in my life. Being around a group of people much older than myself, common in historic aviation groups, I quickly learned respect for their knowledge and got the gumption to talk to them and become their friend… not sit in a corner and pick daisies like most of the kids my age.
It always frustrated me while I was at the college to hear of graduating students complaining that they had no contacts and no network to help in their career beyond graduation. This is inexcusable at an airport like Nashua, NH.
Nashua is one of the busiest general aviation airports in the Northeast and there were literally hundreds of planes and pilots at it every day. Pilots ranging in skill from beginner all the way up to the chief pilots of companies and airlines. All these people within a few square miles of airport!
All it takes is for a person to venture out of their comfort zone and talk to people. Walk around the airport, introduce yourself, listen, learn! I did this and it yielded not only several great friendships, but also the best job a kid could have in college, a great mentor, and the introduction to a great job after college.
In this day and age of social media and networking, there is really no excuse for an aviation student to say “I have no contacts…” Aviation is a community of passionate people — people who like to talk with other people about that passion. Take a chance and step out of the protected environment of the flight school and get to know your fellow pilots… it will yield returns far greater than the time it takes to say hello.