Move Over Mentor! Why Every Young Professional Should Have an Industry BFF

Move Over Mentor! Why Every Young Professional Should Have an Industry BFF

 by Jasmine Gossett

Do you have an Industry BFF?
Do you have an industry BFF?

We all have that one friend we confide in and trust with all of the intricate details of our personal lives. That friend is designated to receive all of the latest information concerning our love lives, family and shopping splurges. But, who do you call when you’d like to chat about the newest trends in your respective industry or want someone to go with you to a professional conference?

As a young professional, you are finding your way, securing your networks and [discovering your true passion].

More than likely, you are already joining professional organizations, attending conventions and working the room at happy hours.  And although all of the things that come with a new career can be very exciting, it is important to ensure that you also have a solid foundation and a sea of support.  Specifically, you’ll need someone you can confide in when you want to vent about your bosses and colleagues, discuss your current projects and your future career goals.

About two years ago, I found myself getting closer to an associate from college. We shared the same major, took a few classes together and served on the same executive board for students within our major.  Then, our relationship consisted of planning monthly meetings and talking about how she’d win best macaroni and cheese for the cook-off challenge at the organizational potluck. Now, she’s the first person I call when I’m thinking of making major career moves.

Of course, I still bounce ideas off of my two mentors who have “made it”. They are older, established in the field, have worked out all of the kinks and have extremely successful careers. Yes, the lessons I learn from them are invaluable because they’ve been here and done this already.  So while they do guide and push me in the right directions, they are several years removed from the everyday struggles I experience as a young professional.

Stemming from the small disconnect with my mentors, I have learned just how crucial it is to have what I have coined as a “professional best friend.” Having someone who is going through the same things professionally at the same time has proven to be a vital and irreplaceable [source of comfort and support].

I can vent to my professional BFF about what it’s like being an early 20-something immersed in corporate America and working to find my specific niche.  And, I can relate when she shares stories about how her older co-workers shoot her down for “not having enough experience” when she talks about her ambitious goals.

Through our support for one another, my friend and I are able to hold each other accountable and strive for what we really desire for our careers. We have daily progress updates, and make sure the other knows about the latest industry news and events, while also sharing relevant opportunities.

All professionals, regardless of age, should have someone in their field that they turn to for accountability and support. This is even more important as a young professional because you are developing and honing your overall career path.  The professional world can be extremely stressful and hard to navigate, but when you have someone close to you that is running the same race, you’re more likely to accomplish your goals and reach the proverbial finish line.

My relationship with my professional BFF has been essential in my career journey. We’re always pushing each other to be better and to stay focused on the things that matter most. This isn’t to say that I wouldn’t be successful without this person in my life, but I can acknowledge that having this support system in place makes the journey a whole lot smoother.

Do you have a professional best friend or mentor that helps you accomplish your career goals?

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Jasmine Gossett is a public relations professional based in New Orleans. Follow Jasmine on Twitter @_Jazziness.

(Photo Credit: Pinterest)