Experience Requirements for Mentors

I think I’ve now heard it all.

At a munch today, the new mentorship director of the major local kink organization that sponsors the munch (the Society of Janus) announced that lack of experience in the scene is *not* a disqualification for stepping up to the plate and volunteering to be a mentor through that organization.

Yes, apparently experience is no longer required for this job in the San Francisco area on the new board’s watch.  Because after all, everyone knows *something* they can share with others, right?

I swear to God, that is exactly what was said.

Yes, even if you don’t have much experience, you are still encouraged to apply to be a mentor.  Step right up to this organization, and you, too, can call yourself a mentor and be assigned a newbie-er [sic] newbie acolyte of your own, even if you’re brand new to wiitwd yourself.

So, newbies, beware that the mentor you get hooked up with through this organization very well may actually have only a few days or weeks more experience than you have.

In fact, this has always been true, and is one of the reasons I’ve always objected to such structured “mentorship” programs.  It’s always been true that you need to vet the mentors you are assigned in this sort of arrangement, because they can and do accept just about anyone who volunteers.  (Which is kind of moronic, given that part of the whole point of finding a mentor in the first place is to find someone to help guide you through new waters safely, and if you already knew where the shoals and bad eggs were, arguably you wouldn’t even need a mentor.  But I digress.)

In most such programs, however, and in the past in this one, it has been the *experienced* people who are encouraged to sign up to share their knowledge.

What is brand new, apparently, is that now people who have almost no experience are actually being *encouraged* to sign up to teach others.

So caveat emptor now applies even more than it ever did before.

And yes, it’s true that someone with a few days or weeks more experience may know a few tidbits to share, but that does *not* make someone capable of safely or effectively mentoring another.

There is a name for people who have little experience of wiitwd – and that is “newbie”.

Just like you, if you’re new.

It’s a perfectly valid place to be in your journey, but it does *not* qualify you to do anything but share amongst yourselves about your experiences.  That is called “sharing with each other about your experiences”, not “mentoring” someone.

Understand the difference, and do not be fooled by a label like “mentor” into believing that this person necessarily knows much more than you do, no matter how you come across the person who uses it.

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I Miss… I Don’t Miss

12/22/09

Every morning I still awaken with the thought of how much I miss you, how much I want to be with you again, how much I miss being in your arms.

And then my mind changes course, and I correct it with the new thought what I miss is the good parts, not the bad. And I try to remember what they all were… Continue reading