I can’t believe it’s been over three years since I left my career as a teacher and college administrator and began my career as an instructional designer. On some level, it feels like the time has been long and slow. The bow ties, leather-patched sportcoats, and endless faculty meetings and turf wars are thankfully long gone. The need to adhere to the rigors and rituals of the academic calendar has vanished. I do not miss these relics of a world becoming more atrophied by entrenchment. I am thankful for so many benefits my new corporate life has entitled me to as I navigate these new spheres.
Given the number of teachers that continue to look for ways to transition out of education and into the world of instructional design, I am constantly impressed and not surprisingly horrified at some of the ways I see individuals ask for help. Recently, I came across the first email I sent to several thought leaders and mentors in the instructional design world. I was struck by the clarity and the directness of what I was looking for at that time in my career transition. In the spirit of supporting those seeking to live the good life and looking for a way into a new career path, here are my thoughts about how to contact your next mentor. These tips, tricks, dos, and don’ts are not in any order; they are just meant to guide you as you journey through and into your following career path.
I hope this list helps you to better reach out to these incredible people who are making a strong difference in our community. It’s vital that you put your best self out there. Ultimately, what you want to get out of this is a mentorship that, over time, moves you from apprentice to colleague.
So what are your thoughts? What advice would you add to this list? Let’s grow our collective wisdom and support those making the shift into instructional design.
*Special thanks to several individuals who shared with me their stories and experiences that contributed to this article.