The thing about Alices

So, I’ve been quietly mentoring a young woman who works in my office.

We’re not in the same work group or function or even “job family.”  But, there’s something about her that I recognize: a quiet dignity that screams, “I need a change. I can do more. See me. Please.”

She’s educated. Intelligent.  Articulate.

She’s also stuck, frustrated and scared.

I’ve encouraged her to research other roles within the company; we have a national presence, there are opportunities, but one must look for them.


Alice in Wonderland

I’ve explained the path I’ve taken, of volunteering to improve a process, of stepping in to help other departments, of being part of the solution, not part of the problem.

I’ve supported her as she applied for open posts and offered my help as she readied herself for interviews.

I’ve silently cheered when she stepped up and inwardly cringed when she talked herself out of new opportunities.

I’ve suggested she try a simple exercise called “to a tee.

I’ve taken it all in as she explained how busy she was with whatever and why she never did do it.

And … I’ve stepped away when I realized she just might just be an Alice.

“Alice came to a fork in the road. ‘Which road do I take?’ she asked.
‘Where do you want to go?’ responded the Cheshire Cat.
‘I don’t know,’ Alice answered.
       ‘Then,’ said the Cat, ‘it doesn’t matter.”

― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Categories: Attitude, Determination, Growth, Life, Uncategorized, Women, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

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30 thoughts on “The thing about Alices

  1. That’s great of you to mentor this young lady. But, in the end, each of us is somewhat responsible for our own destiny!

    • Yes, exactly. Lesson learned; You can lead the horse to water but it takes a lot of effort to hold his face down long enough so that he drinks it!! 😉 MJ

      • that is awesome that you’ve taken the time to plant seeds in her life! You can’t make them drink but you can put salt in their hay 😉 I’d say that is exactly what you’re doing…being around you has got to stir some hunger in her heart for more..and @ some point, when she’s had enough nonsense, she may just start drinking.

      • “salt in their hay.” Yes! That’s it 🙂 I hadn’t heard that saying before but that’s exactly it.

        Not up to me to make it happen, it’s up to her to start dreaming it! Thanks, DM

  2. Grace Wilson Anderson

    We all need encouragement at one time or another, but like you say in the end we are responsible for our own destiny

  3. OMG! Thank you so much for your post… Like Alice I feel stuck. I’ e contemplated leaving my job for something else, but haven’t found the courage… You have a real good idea about volunteering in other depts. I’m going to speak to my boss a out and take it from there… Thanks again…

  4. Sorry for the misspellings. I can’t see all the small letters…

  5. Great post MJ. So much joy in mentoring the next gen.

  6. I feel like this happens a lot to me with one of my friends. I try to help and encourage but, at the end of the day, she makes her own choices, and they usually drive me crazy….aka the opposite of what I’ve encouraged her to do. Oh well. I like the Alice quote!

    • Sometimes people just want you to listen and that’s OK but, in this instance, she actively solicited my input & advice. I.e. my time. I gave what I could, freely. It was a little saddening to see nothing come of it at that moment – BUT – I think it will in time, I probably won’t be there to witness it 🙂

  7. I had a friend that I “tried” to mentor. He always complained about not getting ahead but was never willing to try something new. I even got him an opportunity at my company but he was not willing to take a slight pay cut to move upward. He stayed bogged down for the many, many years I saw him. Haven’t talked to him in 10 years and I expect he is in the same spot and approaching 70 so a little old to move.

  8. Dianna said it exactly — and sometimes being a good mentor is knowing when to back away.

  9. It sounds as if all she is lacking is confidence. You’ve done a great job in helping her build it up, but it may take her some time to believe in herself as much as you do.

  10. I love mentoring young adults but we do have to know when to step back and let their journey be their journey. What a great mentor you are!

  11. You have such a kind heart, MJ. It sounds just like you to mentor someone who feels stuck. But there are some changes no one can make but us. If we don’t do the hard work, no mentoring we receive can be put to good use. Sounds like you’ve done the right thing.

    Hugs from Ecuador,

    • That is very true — change must come from within. I can only do so much and, for now, my work is done.
      Hugs back to you!

  12. This is reblog material…love it. I’m saving it for a rainy day. Thank you.

  13. Your co-worker was so lucky to have you as a mentor. She probably just isn’t ready yet, but your mentoring has likely inched her forward so when the right opportunity comes along she will have the courage to spring to action.You sometimes just never know when your mentoring will pay off, but it eventually will!

    • I hope that’s the case, that what I’ve given her so far will kick in at just the right time. Thanks for the encouragement 🙂

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