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Finding a new mentor

(8 Posts)
MarasmeAbsolu Sun 15-Jan-17 15:03:07

I am in a bit of a weird spot: I am applying for tenured positions which require external referees from outside my institution and my "immediate" circle of co-authors.

Problem is, I have very few properly "senior" colleagues outside these circles (none?) who can produce a reference that would be based on a true knowledge of "me and my profile" - those I knew well are... dead, and the others are too peripherical, junior, or just not trustworthy.

How do I go about finding the older, respected scientist who will provide occasional advise, but more essentially, the sponsorship that I am very much lacking just now? I feel awkward about googling people and sending them an email out of the blue. I would also suspect that they are swamped with prospective mentees and existing mentoring responsibilities (I am, so can sympathise :/)

munchkinmable Sun 15-Jan-17 18:15:34

Conferences are your best bet I think.

MarasmeAbsolu Sun 15-Jan-17 18:47:40

I don't go on conf very often (combination of health + childcare) - when I do, my scene is usually one where people are not that senior.

Interestingly, on one of my last trip abroad to a very select meeting, one very senior and respected academic and I had a lovely long chat about our research area - how refreshing, I thought, to speak about study design and results with someone genuinely interested..... and then, he asked me to his bedroom. I am not exactly a "young" scientist - so I am not sure we could call this anything else than an old guy trying his luck, but it did put a serious dampener on all my interactions at subsequent meetings.

My next trip is in the next few months - I can't see it happening there. I am not the type to trawl the exhibition area to butter up the old senior academic. I am not sure I could ever be, TBH.

munchkinmable Sun 15-Jan-17 20:40:14

Have you tried small conferences? I tend to find they're better than the huge ones.

If they won't work have you thought about twitter? The senior academics in my field who use it put themselves all over it so would presumably be more open to 'cold calls' than those who don't use social media

MarasmeAbsolu Mon 16-Jan-17 17:35:16

Yes - i ve been to big and small conferences (have been around for quite a few years). I never quite manage to engage in a meaningful way beyond professional exchange. Not sure if this makes sense.

Twitter - in my field, it s mostly junior people. Very few "seniors" around, and none that i would feel in a position to "pursue".

Parietal Mon 16-Jan-17 23:26:51

if you can't travel easily, invite the people you want to meet to speak at your university. even better if you can get a small pot of money and arrange a 1 day or 2 day workshop where you invite 4 or 5 speakers, promote your own work and make lots of useful contacts without even having to leave home.

munchkinmable Tue 17-Jan-17 05:40:18

Sounds like you need to spend less time 'professionally networking' with people and more time at the pub with them

MarasmeAbsolu Tue 17-Jan-17 17:50:32

Good point re small meeting parietal! I am planing a medium one in 2018, but could fit a small one maybe by autumn 2017.

Munchkin - i ll come across as ungrateful i'm sure, but the pub is not everyone's scene professionally (or not). Last time i did go with people i didn't know well, i had to deal with unwanted invitations. At best, it pisses me off.
I am also the type who helps more junior people, rather than the type who try to lose them to follow the old crowd. I am hoping it will pay off in 20 yrs time grin

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