FSP broke her blog hiatus today to discuss mentoring by blogging. I would like to think that I am a mentor to young/inexperienced geologists through my blog, although I have neither the audience nor the blogging stamina of FSP (how on earth did she find time to think up and then write so many posts for so long?).
One of the milestones of being a professional, for me, is that I have started to become a mentor to other geologists. And one of the most concrete ways I can do that is by being a reference.
Whenever I applied to jobs or to school, I always felt like it was a big imposition to ask someone to be a reference for me. But I've been around long enough that younger geologists are asking me to be a reference. And it's not an imposition. At all. I am happy for my mentees that they are moving up in their career. Even the most convoluted reference questionnaire reminds me of the hoops I jumped through to get where I am today (I'm looking at you, grad school applications!) and brings back memories of starting out my career.
Of course, I may be overly cheerful about giving references because when I've had to fill out the written ones, I've been thoughtfully provided with a pre-addressed and stamped envelope and more than a week to fill them out. I've also genuinely respected the folks who have asked me for references. So maybe the moral of the story is to pick your references wisely and make their lives a little easier by doing as much of the work for them as you can.