Seeking Mentoring Support in the Age/Time of Covid

Guest writer: Anne Kirchgessner, LCPC, NCC, Career Counselor 

You may be feeling the need for extra mentoring support during this challenging time of the Covid pandemic. Staggered work schedules could be making you feel like you are never able connect with your PI or colleagues for one-on-one support. Remember that everyone in the world, including your mentors, may be affected by the disruptions that the pandemic continues to bring.  Also, sometimes a mentor may not be able to help you with a specific concern; e.g. a fellow wants help with an industry job search and her mentor has no experience that is related to Industry.

Have a conversation with your PI/Mentor

If you are feeling burnt-out or having difficulty with your workload, try to consider what might help you adjust or modify your work and talk with your PI or mentor about it. Sometimes it can feel intimidating to initiate that conversation, so if you would like to brainstorm what to say to your mentor and you are a trainee at the NIH, feel free to schedule an appointment with a career counselor who can help you sort this out and practice some of your talking points.

Seek out multiple mentors
OITE has long supported the philosophy of identifying multiple mentors. With this approach in mind, consider reaching out to find new ideas and support from other scientists who share your scientific interests. This can be energizing and help you to move ahead.To find NIH PIs you might want to look at the NIH Intramural Research Reports or NIH Scientific Interest Groups (some are more active than others) to learn about new research, find collegial support and possibly identify some additional, informal mentors.

Lastly, remember the OITE is here to help. We offer stress and resiliency resources to support you during these challenging times. You can view workshops on our OITE YouTube channel and you can register for the  OITE listservs at : https://www.training.nih.gov/listservs  so you will get daily updates on upcoming OITE Wellness Events.  

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