Just got fired, by my mentee

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railprof:
So I'm a tenured Associate Prof in a smallish department at a teaching oriented but still research required school.  We hired an Assistant Prof in a very similar but not the exact same field two years ago.  I was the "official" mentor for this person although our mentor system is very informal.  All we really did was have one official meeting a semester, usually over lunch where we talked about things.  We'd also informally chat a lot.  I didn't have a mentor when I started over a dozen years ago and tried to be the sort of mentor that I would have wanted.  I did offer advice, even when not asked, when I thought it was important.  I wish someone had done the same for me when I was a new faculty member. 

We had a nice chat today and was basically fired as an official mentor by my mentee.  The reason given what that my style was incompatible and that the mentee preferred to find their own way.  Mentee does not respond well to statements like "You should...".  Mentee said they have chosen someone else in the department as an official mentor because that person has a more compatible (i.e. hands-off) mentoring style.  It was a friendly conversation and I'd already come to the conclusion that I'd really back off on the unsolicited advice and let my mentee find their own way but still be there for them if they had any questions.  The first semester one has a lot of questions but after a two years the basic stuff is usually figured out.  Mentee is doing a spectacular job and adjusting very well to the institution and the teaching, research, and service roles and I've told them so.

I guess I'm both proud and happy that my mentee no longer feels they need my advice and is leaving the nest so to speak but still feel like I've let them down.  How could I have done a better job? 



Also I'm back on the forums after a long absence.  Hi all!     

yellowtractor:
Um.  Mentee is a schmuck?  Let him or her go and don't worry about it.

anthroid:
Mentee is doing well, by your report (and welcome back!).  You must be proud.

You were not fired.  You made yourself redundant by being such a great mentor.  Don't worry.  Be happy.  Be a colleague, now, rather than a mentor.

And well done.

tuxthepenguin:
That's probably a bad idea. The third-year review and, obviously, the tenure review are the times when mentors are very important.

The good news - less work for you. If mentee does great, good. If mentee fails, good. It's not your problem.

ruralguy:
"Forced mentoring" is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard of.

It makes sense to be assigned a mentor as "backup", in case a junior faculty member has no close contacts on campus and
doesn't feel comfortable with other dept. members. But, if the faculty member wants another mentor, or wants no mentor
(officially), or, agrees to have an official mentor but actually gets advice from someone else, then thats OK.

We could give you the benefit of the doubt, OP, but maybe your advice is out of date, or inaccurate for another reason, or
perhaps you are just too frenetic or smothering?

In any case, your role is to HELP, not to "make sure person X gets tenure."



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