Milestones and Obstacles of Being a Mentor

Published Jan 22, 2018Last updated Feb 17, 2018
Milestones and Obstacles of Being a Mentor

Bee-ing a mentor

Prelude

Once upon a time, I was on vacation and interested in development mentoring to improve my mentoring skills.

I was preparing for the Senior S/W engineer assessment for my main full-time job, so codementor.io was an ideal fit for that purpose.

My vacation was full of mentoring sessions and these are the main obstacles I encountered during that experience. I want to share them with people who want to start their own mentoring activities.

Obstacle #1 — Money transfer if you are from post-USSR countries.

I am from Ukraine and the only working method for me is Bitcoin. Because the Bitcoin tranfer fee is quite large at the moment, I need to ask Codementor Support to put my weekly payout on hold every week and transfer monthly instead.

The possibility to manually trigger transfers will be a good approach and I'm looking forward to using it once it is implemented. For now, it is my main and only payout method.

The second possible solution is Transferwise, but for Ukraine, transfer by email is not supported for the regular Transferwise account. I have requested a Borderless account, but be ready to provide document scans for your identity validation.

Validation takes some time, but Transferwise support is very helpful. I am still being validated, so I cannot tell you whether it is a convenient method or not as of publication time.

Receiving money through PayPal is not permitted in Ukraine.

Obstacle #2 — Oral arrangements work 50/50.

Some mentees prefer oral arrangements. However, a few times when I connected at the discussed time, there was nobody on the other side. ISP problems, life issues, blah blah.

Just be ready for that and use Codementor scheduling — it decreases the probabilities of such events. To prevent time wasting, I usually have some Plan B activity I can switch to in case of any delay or session postponement/cancellation.

Obstacle #3 — Technical issues (mentee side).

Some mentees cannot install Zoom on their computers for many reasons: lack of experience, work computer restrictions, some specific OS installation. Be ready to wait for your mentee or reschedule the session.

Obstacle #4 — Technical issues (mentor side).

I use the full scope of Codementor applications: website, Android app, and macOS application for my Macbook Pro.

What I've noticed is that the Android application shows new request notifications with a five to ten minute delay. That is enough time for other mentors to have already grabbed your mentee 😃

Now, I just keep my open laptop close to see new requests on the website ASAP.

Obstacle #5 — Budget.

Some mentees don't have enough budget to cover all of the time you've spent for their issues. If I have time and want to help, I agree to their conditions.

We will then use free sessions and the mentee will make a direct Codementor payment (as a freelance job). I know that Codementor Support recommends against this approach in case of dishonest mentees, and there is no possibility to help you to get money, but thank God there have not been any incidents yet.

Obstacle #6 — Doubtful offers.

Twice I was propositioned with direct payments, bypassing the Codementor site. However, that is unacceptable for me, so I said that, and we continued working according to the Codementor flow.

Obstacle #7 — Personal issues.

a) Sometimes I experienced some sudden session interruptions and excuses like:

  • Sorry, my boss entered the room.
  • I need to postpone, have urgent work to do, or no excuses at all — the mentee just disappears (possibly ISP issues). This is not a disaster if you're prepared.
    b) One more interesting thing — asking for a small piece of advice in a chat, which you answer in five minutes, but all you get is 'Thank you, sir'. Should I ask for some bonus fee for that?

Obstacle #8 — Combining main job/family with Codementor activity.

I have a full-time job that I like. I started mentoring when I was on vacation, so there were no problems with job duties and family time.

When I start working full-time again, it became tricky to combine all of these activities, so I had to restrict my Codementor time to a few hours in the morning.

Sometimes I have sessions during working hours and then work out afterwards. Evening time is for family, so my mentoring activity has been drastically reduced for now.

Obstacle #8 — spent time.

Be aware that time you get money for and time spent for mentoring are different: sometimes you should prepare and then spend time to understand the issue (sometimes you see you cannot solve it, so you say that to the mentee — it is time spent also) and postpone the session for a mentee's personal reasons.

All of these can take quite a bit of time.

Whether I like mentoring now?

The answer is YES.

Why?

Because it is interesting to speak to different people. It pumps up my problem solving skills and makes my professional vision much wider.

I learned some technologies in the scope of mentoring activities. You should understand quite quickly where the problem is and find the solution fast — this is the way I like to work, yeah 😃

Good parts:

  1. Most mentees are really polite and honest — they don't waste your time and are ready to cooperate and explain the problem in detail.
  2. Bitcoin payout method really helps to avoid transfer problems (looking forward to manual payout triggering).
  3. Codementor Support is very polite and helpful. They are ready to discuss your new codementor.io features proposals (Adam, Joyce — I am talking about you guys 😉).
  4. Codementor provides a really convenient and easy-to-use environment for mentoring activities (I especially like the Incoming Request Popularity diagram and schedule page timezone widget, which I see on the mentee-type account page).

Do I have enough money to leave my full-time job?

Depends on the job you have 😃 For me — no, if you're confined to mentoring sessions only. However, mentoring sessions are a good way to feel out your developer strength and start looking into the elite freelance development field (CodementorX, etc.) if you didn't have experience before. I am still on the mentoring step, so I cannot tell you more.

Conclusion

Stay hungry, stay foolish (Steve Jobs). Be honest, be clever (me 😃).

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