When you're in need of advice or in a professional pickle, "who you gonna call?" Your mentor, of course! But if you're like me, you've gone to dozens of coffee dates with your mentor, and, honestly, you cannot drink another pumpkin spice latte (sorry, Starbucks).
However, before you get the jitters from too much coffee and caffeine, think about how best to spice things up. Whether it's going to your mentor's office or meeting for an after-work jog, a change of scenery could spur more ideas and further connect you to the professional who inspires you the most.
We've come up with 5 activities to do with your mentor that don't include coffee. Read our list then send a calendar invite, ASAP.
1. Attend a networking mixer.
Need a plus one to an upcoming event after work? Call your mentor to ask him to join you. What's the saying about "two birds with one stone"? Remember to make sure that the mixer will be fun and advantageous for both of you. Therefore, a young alumni cocktail hour should only be considered if your mentor is also a young alumni.
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Identify a community service activity that your mentor is passionate about and offer to lend an extra hand this weekend. Or bring your mentor along as you volunteer at the ASPCA or Habitat for Humanity. You can bond, talk about career goals, and give back at the same time.
3. Have a Google Hangout or Skype chat.
Sure meeting face-to-face is ideal, but be mindful of your mentor's schedule and the demands on their time. Suggest a video chat to catch up. The key here, as with all mentor-mentee interactions, is to give as much as you take. By that, we mean contributing what you can to your mentor's life as you ask for advice, connections, and feedback. A Google Hangout is the perfect way to offer your help with a social media task or providing references for a temp assistant if that's needed. The give and take necessary in a mentor/mentee relationship.
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4. Take a one-off class together.
A cooking class, Soulcycle session, or a General Assembly workshop, these are all fun options for you and your mentor. The goal here is to ensure that your mentor/mentee relationship is something you both look forward to. A mentor is more than just his or her job, and there is more to you than your job. Therefore, get to know each other beyond the topics of career goals, promotions, and navigating office politics.
5. Schedule an in-office lunch.
If you do not work in the same office as your mentor, schedule a lunch date where you bring salads or tasty take-out to her desk for a 45-minute lunch date. She'll be grateful that you came and went the extra mile to bring lunch making it easier for her jam-packed schedule. A bonus perk to this activity is that she could introduce you to her colleagues or even invite you to sit in on a meeting to shadow her. It's a win-win.
When all else fails and time is just too tight, grab coffee with your mentor—just don't forget to pay. To make the coffee meeting special, find a local coffee brewery to go to or consider an unconventional juice shop off the beaten path.