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How to cope when your mentor jumps ship at work

Coping when your mentor leaves the company you work for can be super tricky, but it shouldn’t spell the end. So here’s what to do instead of panicking.

Start branching out at work

Terri Tierney Clark, an author, advisor and speaker, wrote in The Muse about what to do when your mentor who functioned as your advisor at work leaves.

“In this case, turn your mentor’s departure into an opportunity to get some new perspectives. Identify a few other people you could turn to for career guidance and input, and start slowly by asking for advice on a couple of small things and using that as a building point for new relationships. These advisors don’t have to be newly adopted mentors, they just need to be professionals you respect and trust.” she writes.

Have more than one option, just in case

This could definitely come in handy.

Kathy Kram, now a professor emeritus of organizational behavior at Boston University, told The Wall Street Journal in 2011 about how you should have more than one source of support.

The article was published at a time when “executive changes and reshuffles” were reportedly happening at Apple, UBS, J.C. Penney, JPMorgan and Hewlett-Packard.

“In today’s environment, it’s really important to have more than one sponsor … I would advise anyone to build a network of support rather than rely on one person,” Kram told the site at the time.

You never know what kind of situation you could find yourself in at work.

Use it as a learning experience

This is a great opportunity to learn, instead of spending all your time freaking out about the changes to come.

David Haigh, a Demand Planning Manager at Johnson & Johnson and a lecturer at Wilfrid Laurier University, writes on LinkedIn about the positive things he eventually learned when his mentor was fired at work, although it was difficult at first.

“But over time, and not a lot of time, I came to accept and grow from losing having that mentor at work, and learned so much more from staying in touch with that mentor in their new life. We don’t see each other as often as we should, but when we can catch up, I always come away thinking about something in a way I hadn’t before,” he writes.

Haigh continues, saying that “today, another mentor of mine is taking his next step,” and muses about what that will mean for the future.

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