Indra and his young family arrived in Toronto in 2010 from Nepal. Being aware of the licensing process, Indra knew he would need to spend some time to get into his professional field of electrical engineering and land his dream job as a manager.
He came prepared, but what he didn’t expect is how diverse Toronto would be and how Canadian culture would be so different from Nepalese. He needed help and guidance, and he found it through The Mentoring Partnership.
“When I came to Canada, I knew about the licensing project, job market, colleges, documents, etc. Most of the information can be found almost anywhere: online, in brochures, through settlement agencies,” shares Indra. “But the key information and training I got was from my mentor, such as how to talk to people, how to deal with particular situations, who to copy on your emails and who not to, how to be successful in the workplace and how to handle conflicts.”
His mentor, Stephanie Tham, Manager, Ontario Power Generation, helped him to interpret the tricky situations at work and gave some practical advice on how to interact with colleagues and manager leading to successful career in workplace.
“Nowhere did it say that Toronto have such a diverse community and workplace. People from all over the world live here, and everyone has different perspectives,” says Indra. “Working in this environment is challenging. When it comes to situations like what should I expect from my manager, how to interpret and perceive feedback. My mentor helped me to understand this and many other situations.”
It took Indra almost six months to land his dream job and start building his career. Once he stood firmly on his feet, he decided he would pay it forward by volunteering as a mentor and helping other newcomers facing the same obstacles he encountered at the beginning.
“Mentoring gives me satisfaction. Knowing that you can help someone else who is in the same situation I was in is great. If I can help somebody to stand on their feet and experience the quality of life that comes with the right career and job, why shouldn’t I do that?”
Indra admits that often immigrant professional come with a tunnel vision by sticking to the titles and past experiences when in reality they have to re-invent themselves, be flexible and willing to take different avenues.
“Electrical engineering here is a small field. I suggest to my mentees that they explore other paths. You’re still an engineer, but work in a different capacity with a different title and portfolios.”
Being grateful for the support and help he received as a mentee, Indra shares a great analogy of what it’s like to be mentored and why everyone who is new to Canada should get mentored:
“You might have all the skills and qualifications; you know you can do the work. It’s like you are flying a plane with all skills required, but proper landing is essential. I called all mentors “traffic controllers” who direct mentees where to land and what to do to land successfully.”