Having started out on another career path, Marcin wanted to make a change, building a career in an industry that he feels a real passion for – so four years ago he went back to University to re-train in IT. Within five days of completing his last exam, he’d landed his first job. He told me all about his experience, and how this has helped him to achieve his career success to date.
At the outset of his degree, Marcin became involved in the London Java Community (LJC) and was introduced to RecWorks’ Meet A Mentor Programme; thanks to finding the Meet A Mentor programme at the start of his student life, Marcin has been able to use the expertise of its Mentors to really shape his career. He goes as far as to credit his involvement in the community as one of the deciding factors for the hiring manager when he was offered his first role.
As well as being able to use the programme as a tool for learning from the successes and experiences of others, Marcin’s Mentors have also been on hand to give him great pastoral advice, helping him to manage the stress of his first software development role.
“About 3 months after I started my current role, just before the end of my probation period, I became very stressed about whether I was doing a good enough job. I asked my Mentors for advice; I wanted to know how they cope with the pressure of their roles. They told me to ask for feedback from my supervisor. In my previous jobs, I’d really felt that no-one cared about me as an employee, so this approach was new to me, and I felt very unsure about it. But after a few chats with my Mentors, they convinced me to give it a go. I received great feedback and my stress disappeared.”
Although Marcin was fortunate enough to find the programme at the outset of his career, it really is for everyone, no matter what point you’re at, from graduate through to CTO.
“Meet a Mentor is a great source of knowledge and an inspiration which has helped me to make better decisions about my career; it’s open to anyone, irrespective of your background, culture or experience. It’s a place for anyone who is eager to learn; it’s a great initiative, which came from people who love to help others succeed.”
Marcin feels he’s gained so much from the programme, he’s now a Mentor himself; as well as this being a fantastic opportunity for him to give something back, he’s also taken a lot from being a Mentor. “It gives me a different perspective on problems. I think it’s a great exercise for anyone who wants to better understand other humans and be a good leader.”
The Meet a Mentor programme has evolved a great deal since its creation 4 years ago. When Marcin first became involved, it was run as a series of cyclical events; now, when you sign up to be mentored, you have the opportunity to select the kind of Mentor you’re looking for, and RecWorks will match you with the best person, or people, for you.
Finally, what are Marcin’s summary words of advice for people thinking about signing up to be mentored?
“Mentors want to help you to become a better professional. We want you to succeed and we’re here to help you when you need us. Don’t hesitate to ask questions, be curious, challenge us. This benefits us, as well as helping you, so don’t feel guilty asking for help.”
If you’d like to get involved with the programme (and we’d really love you to) please visit our website: