Can I Get a Mentor?

I hate to say it, but medieval Europe might have had better job preparation than we do today. In short, they used apprenticeships. I’m glossing over a lot of details and caveats here but, if you wanted to be a blacksmith you found a blacksmith and talked them into teaching you. You then spent the next several years working for and with that blacksmith.

That’s on the job training in its purest form. And since pretty much everyone was illiterate back then there wasn’t a whole lot of reading involved, if any. An apprentice pretty much spent every moment supporting and learning from the craft master.

Unfortunately, a lot of training seems to be the opposite these days. There’s lots of reading and too little hands-on application. And what’s more, that long-term personal bond has largely dissolved too. Most organizations seem to have travelling trainers who learners see a few times before they move on. And subject matter experts are often busy and are sometimes kept at arms’ length from everyone else. That makes it difficult to have someone dependable you can go to for advice.

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