Finding a mentor at work is quite the accomplishment! A growing body of research shows that mentors can seriously boost your success. After all, many mentors wear multiple hats; they can act as advocates, support systems, sponsors, coaches, friends and more.
Mentors, in other words, are the people who can help you cultivate a career about which you're passionate — one that motivates and fulfills you, and ideally affords you the lifestyle you want to live. It's no secret, then, that losing a mentor can be a hard pill to swallow.
FGB'er Katie Farello asks the community board what she should go in this case.
"My manager and I have had a great working relationship, and I just found out she’s moving on to a different position at a different company," she writes. "While I am very excited for her, I am equally as sad. I loved having a mentor at work — someone to offer guidance in my career, give me advice on day-to-day responsibilities and help me succeed within the organization. How do you cope when your favorite manager / mentor / colleague leaves?"
Here are five ways to keep your mentorship relationship alive, even after your mentor leaves the company.
1. Keep in contact via email.
"She can definitely still be your mentor! It sucks when this happens, but the relationship doesn't have to end with her leaving the office," says FGBer Lenna.
One surefire way to keep your mentorship going is by keeping in touch! You don't need to communicate as much as you perhaps did when you worked together, but sending emails every now and again when you have questions, to touch base on conversations you've had or to share news of your achievements can keep the relationship strong.
"It's important to be sure that you keep in touch with your mentor to keep the relationship going," adds FGB'er Alyson Garrido. "It won't be as easy as before, but it's totally possible. You can send email updates, schedule regular coffees, etc. Her feedback will be just as valuable, and maybe you'll end up working together again down the road. I changed jobs, then moved countries and still regularly check in with my mentors and mentees all over the world."
2. Schedule regular phone calls.
"My favorite mentor left the company I was working at, and we continued to talk on advice and situational questions every week," says FGB'er BossBrandy. "Schedule time to connect on the phone or over coffee because I'd imagine she would be able to still provide you with the advice you were looking for. "
Phone calls are often even better than emails! Actually taking time out of your day to pick up the phone and call your mentor to talk for a few moments or even an hour every now and then will go a long way. This will help to keep your mentorship strong, even if you're miles apart.
3. Have meet-ups in person.
"I've had this happen to me several times — while it is difficult at first, keep in mind the person doesn't have to stop being a part of your life," says an anonymous FGB'er. "They can still mentor you and give you guidance, you just won't see them daily and, who knows, you may wind up working together again down the line."
Meet up with your mentor in person outside of the office where they no longer work. Just because you don't share the same four walls for work anymore doesn't mean that you have to stop spending time together. Grab lunch or happy hour some time — and try to make it regular.
4. Keep an eye on your mentor's career path.
If your mentor is out of reach now that they no longer work for the same company as you, the most you might be able to do is keep an eye on their career path and learn from the moves they make. Stay on top of their social media like LinkedIn, for example. Check out what they're doing and where they're going with their careers — knowing that alone may be all the inspiration you need.
5. Find another mentor through your former mentor.
"Keep your mentorship relationship with the women who left, and use this as an opportunity to find another mentor within the company," says FGB'er Penelope Sage.
While your mentor may not be able to mentor you anymore, they may be able to introduce you to someone who can! Keep the relationship alive through another mentor with whom they've connected you. It's likely that they've recommended this person to you because they share similar values, have a comparable career path or goals, or because they just think it'll be a good fit!
Besides, this could open new doors.
"This may turn into an opportunity for you to spread your wings a bit on your own and gain more confidence in your own instincts," says FGBer CabaneStudios.
AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreport and Facebook.