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How a mentor leaving can inspire you

At the beginning of the year I started a new job as a junior designer taking on a different but potentially more fulfilling role, one of the main draws to this job was the ability to work under the Senior Web Designer & Developer there. This was an opportunity for me develop my skills further and learn much more about the industry from someone with greater experience than myself, perfect for someone who has been working in the industry for less that one year since graduating.

About three months in to the role and I have settled in, we’re working well together and pushing the work out quickly and to a high standard. I was very happy and every day I was learning new things about the industry, both to aid with my development in my current role and beyond. Then a bombshell, the senior designer & developer is leaving… he’s been offered a better position elsewhere and no one can argue that it wasn’t perfect for him. Four weeks later he’s gone and I have now been left in the position to take over the workload and keep on top of the everyday tasks as well as picking up some bigger projects.

Initially I’m a little concerned that I’m not experienced enough for this and I kept telling myself that there was a reason that I was brought in to help out as there is just too much work, however I quickly realised that this is the opportunity that I have been waiting for. I took a deep breath and looked at the workload from a different angle, learning new skills and increasing my organisational abilities along the way. I stepped up and emailed my mangers just to let them know that I will not let the workload go back to how it was and I will do my upmost to keep everything in order and on track which they really appreciated.

"Someone really has to believe in you as an individual too. It’s an intangible thing having talent, especially if we’re in a position to teach and mentor others. Also powerful skills and habits can be picked up very quickly when thrown in the deep end. Never stop learning and never quit on yourself, Believe in yourself and others will believe in you."

Dan Cunningham

Rather than letting the loss of a mentor hinder your progress use it as a learning experience, don’t be afraid to step up and put yourself in the hot seat, I quickly realised that the people I look up to most in the industry and didn’t get there by waiting around to ‘be experienced enough’… they jumped in at the deep end and took the risk. But every risk comes with a greater reward and if you persevere and work hard the rewards can be yours, as for me… I’ve just been promoted to the Senior position and at 22 years old I’m proud of that. Don’t think for a moment that I’m going to sit back and adore my work though, I’m fully aware that there is more work to be done and I’m going to continue to develop as an individual and hopefully one day I will become a mentor for someone else!