Switching Mentors: Does It Help a Researcher?
At some point in their career, many researchers feel that communication with their mentor is ineffective, but other researchers say that good relations with mentors are possible and you feel that you are missing out on a helping hand. However, if these feelings are not temporary and all your alarms indicate that you should switch to a new mentor, why not consider doing it? Here are some reasons why switching mentors can help you if your relationship is not working:
It Can Make You Happier
It appears that giving more importance to our feelings than to our careers is not professional or effective. However, it is no longer a surprise that people who are happy at their work places are more productive and achieve better results than those who are not. Therefore, don’t undervalue your subjunctive desires; if you consider that working in a friendlier environment or with a more supportive mentor is going to make you happier, go for it.
It Can Help You to Grow Professionally
A mentoring style that doesn’t meet your needs is not going to help you find motivation and develop your research as well as you could. For instance, the fact that your mentor doesn’t give you the feedback you need or that you have different approaches to the study can really slow down your research. A good mentor should understand your needs and help you but also be concerned about your future and do the best for you to succeed professionally.
Challenges Make You Stronger
Switching to a new mentor implies a lot of effort and decision making, involving changing your lab, meeting a new group, dealing with the paperwork. Many cannot cope with the idea of making a wrong choice, and therefore don’t dare to take the final step and switch their mentors. However, facing all these difficulties can help you to grasp other opportunities in the future without hesitating a lot. Above all, you must learn to not consider switching a mentor as a defeat.
It Makes You Responsible For Your Decisions
Don’t blame external factors. The worst thing you can do is to remain in the same position while thinking that your mentor is the origin of all your problems. Sometimes, researchers feel a huge lack of motivation but cannot easily find out why. If you are sure that you can find this motivation by changing your mentor, do it. There is no point in continuously blaming another person when the decision to change is close at hand.
Remember you are not going to be the first one who does it and does not regret it; switching to a new mentor can have a happy ending. Sometimes, the most difficult decision is the bravest and the effort is worthwhile.