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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Five ways to mistreat your Guru

In Hinduism, a Guru is revered as an enlightened master who is able to bring one from the darkness of ignorance into the light of knowledge. Gurus are people who receive a lot of respect for what they do. In the job world, Gurus are a critical component to landing great opportunities. These Gurus usually work for the company or industry that you’re looking at. They are generous mentors who can greatly boost your chances at getting an offer. Just be sure not to mistreat them in these ways:

  1. Do impatient things: I’ve seen a lot of job seekers send multiple emails and leave multiple phone messages for their very busy Gurus. Always exercise patience and restraint when you’re feeling like one more follow-up won’t hurt.
  2. Don’t show up: Your Guru is probably pretty busy. Always provide as open a schedule as you can for your Guru and be at least 5 minutes early to every phone call and 10 minutes to every in-person visit. You might even do a quick phone test before you get on the phone with your Guru. Call your mom and ask her if she can hear you clearly.
  3. Come ill-prepared: There is so much information you can gather before you speak with your Guru. Always have questions or talking points prepared, and if you’re really amazing, send them to your Guru the day before.
  4. Don’t be conscious of time: Ask your Guru how much time she or he has at the beginning of your call or visit and keep a clock or watch in sight. A few minutes before the time runs out, make sure to offer to end the conversation.
  5. Lose contact: This one hits home to me. During my first semester in the business school I was part of a mentor program. I had an awesome mentor who guided me to my current path. Unfortunately, I found that it was really easy to not keep in touch after the program had formally ended. I still regret that decision today. Keep track of your Gurus by using a free service like highrise, and set reminders to send quick update emails.

As I've avoided these pitfalls with my Gurus, I've found success and incredible friendships that will last a lifetime. I'm especially grateful to my Gurus at Google who helped me jump on my current career path. Thanks Gurooglers.

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