Mentorship Days

Rajdeep Gupta

At the onset of the Mentorship program, I asked myself two questions:

  • Do I have the capabilities to be a mentor?
  • How will it help me in my professional career?

Thankfully, I have the answers to them after the completion of the program.

The Mentorship program organized by the STC India chapter 2009 has been quite an enriching experience. This is the first time that I volunteered for a mentor role. It contributed immensely to my professional growth as a mentor, and, most importantly, I am happy to be of some help to a fellow writer’s success.

I have been associated with STC India for some time now, and though I have been organizing and managing technical writing sessions, I wanted to work alongside a fellow writer and share the inputs that I have received in my career.

My mentee came across as a wonderful human being, who not only had a spark to learn, but was equally diligent. It makes a mentor’s job far easier, but then, the mentor too needs to be equally diligent towards the job. This program allowed me to work closely with a fellow writer and understand the areas that writers generally need guidance in. Such a program also gave me insights on how each writer’s working style is different, and what their approach os towards developing documentation.

The mentorship program went fine. It could have been better but, unfortunately, my mentee could not take out much time due to professional and personal assignments. Nevertheless, the mentee showed an appetite for learning. Over the mentorship period, I delivered sessions on the basics of technical writing, writing styles, and tools, suggested changes, and gave assignments.

The major areas of my mentee’s scope-for-development area in writing were in the inconsistency in the usage of terms, punctuation lapses, and grammatical mistakes. As my mentee was the lone writer at the workplace, entrusted with the entire documentation portfolio, it was a rather trying responsibility. In addition, because my mentee never had an opportunity to work with other technical writers, the person was at sea when it came to collaborative writing. Hence, I decided to give my mentee an overview of the product life cycle for a document, and then briefly touched upon other metrics of documentation. I talked about project estimation and was happy to see it being implemented in the online help created by the mentee.  We concluded by working together on a user manual for Google Talk.

As a mentor, I think the program gave me insights to the following:

  • Giving impromptu talks on assigned topics.
  • Gaining speaking experience that relates to specific career needs.
  • Sharpen  listening and evaluation skills, and be patient.
  • Gain valuable leadership management experience through leadership positions.
  • Gain personal confidence that helps when speaking – whether to one person or one thousand.

The mentorship program has been a wonderful experience to me, and I am now confident about engaging in more such programs. I wish the program could be organized twice in a year so that it allows more time for mentors and mentees to collaborate and work towards their goals.

About the Author

Rajdeep Gupta is a writer for the last 5 years and is presently working with Misys. He is presently the Secretary of the India Chapter of STC and the Assistant Organizer of the Bangalore Technical Writers Meetup Group. He loves quizzing and is an avid blogger.