Thursday, February 4, 2010

Ask AWNY: The Money Issue

Q. Dear AWNY,
This is my first year being a mentor, and I was wondering if it’s customary for mentors to pay the bill when they meet up with their mentees. Thanks!

A. As a mentor, you are already sharing valuable time with your mentee, giving them one-on-one attention and guidance, so please don’t feel any pressure to grab the check every time you meet. Going dutch is the norm, especially for mentors who are just a few years senior. Some pairs take turns- then every other month one person gets to be treated!

On the flip side, if you want to celebrate your mentee’s personal victory at a fun, new restaurant or your favorite wine bar, you can insist on paying if you’re comfortable doing so.

One rule of thumb is to stick to casual spots if you want to keep things simple--grab coffee and something sweet at your favorite coffee shop so you can always pay with a few singles and still have change for the tip jar.

Whatever the setting, when you keep the focus on your mentee’s professional progress, it will help you build a relationship of trust and gratitude more than anything else!

Ask AWNY features questions sent in by the Mentoring Program community! Send your anonymous mentoring questions to

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