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How do I find a proper mentor within my company?

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Senior Software Engineer [5A] at Uber2 years ago

Here are some thoughts from me:

  1. Freshly promoted to Staff - This means they are very close to the same path that I'm on.
  2. Not within my org - To remove bias
  3. Smooth conversation - So it's easy to talk with them

Do these make sense or is there something I'm missing?

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(2 comments)
  • 7
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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    2 years ago

    First, I recommend this other discussion around finding a mentor which covers (and agrees with) some of the tenets of your question: "How do I find the best mentor for me within my company?"

    Moving on, I think #1 and #3 are 100% correct, but I actually don't agree with #2. While a mentor outside your org can work, I haven't really seen the bias thing come into play (a good mentor should be honest no matter where they are in the org chart relative to you). This is why I heavily prefer having a mentor from within your org, ideally within your own team:

    1. They can be tactically helpful - Closer to you means a higher chance of having worked with the tech stack that you're working on. While a mentor, especially for a senior engineer, is going to be more high-level and about behaviors, having a mentor that can help you with code helps a lot, especially if you're newer to the company.
    2. They understand the culture of your org - In a huge company like Uber, there's bound to be sub-cultures across orgs, which means that different things are going to be valued when it comes to engineering performance. Since they're familiar with the culture, your mentor can help you pitch your work and behave in a way that's conducive to the org's culture.
    3. The incentives are way better - Local impact is almost always better recognized than vague, high-level impact that applies somewhere across the company. Let's say I'm a Staff engineer on your team, acting as its TL. It makes a lot of sense for me to mentor you as I can directly work through you to achieve impact. It makes less sense to mentor a senior engineer in an org on the completely opposite site of the company as I can't work through them - It's also harder for me to achieve a concrete delta there as it will be harder to understand what their life is like.
    4. Manager alignment is easier - It is vital for whoever is mentoring you to stay in sync with your manager, so they can give you the proper projects and grow you in a way that fills in gaps in your team. This is obviously smoother if the mentor is on your team (having the same manager) or on a sister team (probably knows your manager well, especially as this mentor is probably Staff).

    Related resources:

  • 6
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    Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    2 years ago

    How do you typically find a mentor at Uber? Is there some sort of matching process? Your criteria seem fine to me (though I like Alex's point about a mentor in the same org), but I wonder if a better question is "how can I best present myself to be mentored?"

    I've seen that entering into the relationship is harder than finding the right mentor. The best mentor-mentee relationships are those where both sides feel like they're getting something.

    If I'm a Staff engineer, what I'd look for in a senior eng to mentor is:

    • someone likely to get promoted. The mentee promo will reflect well on me.
    • someone interesting to talk to. perhaps I can even learn from them (either about some tech, or another part of the org)
    • someone who takes my feedback and applies it quickly

    So your job is to show these traits in your outreach or interaction with possible mentors.

Uber is an American mobility as a service provider, allowing users to book a car and driver to transport them in a way similar to a taxi. It is based in San Francisco with operations in approximately 72 countries and 10,500 cities in 2021. Its services include ride-hailing, food delivery (Uber Eats and Postmates), package delivery, couriers, freight transportation,[2] electric bicycle and motorized scooter rental.
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