I've recently moved into industry after doing a postdoc (in inorganic/materials chemistry). Having gone through a few academic interviews before shifting my career focus, I get the impression that many new professors are matched with a mentor in their department, who can help them in their professional development. Several new professors have told me these mentor relationships were extremely important and useful.
However, I haven't found anything remotely similar in my experience in industry to date. I suspect this may be due in part to the size, focus and location of my current company (small, industrial chemistry/chemical engineering, and [redacted], respectively), and the lack of available time to devote to a non-profitable activity.
I have been wondering what I could do to deliberately and effectively cultivate useful mentor relationships and a stronger professional network. Is this something you or your readers might be able to offer advice toward?These are great questions - I wish I had a really good answer, but all I have is my own experience.
If you're looking for mentors at work, I might suggest picking one or two people and routinely asking their advice on things one-on-one and seeing if that builds a relationship that could grow into mentorship. I've found that local professional society meetings (ACS, AICHE, that sort of thing) can also be of use in finding people who like to give advice on different issues. If you're attending local section meetings (which are usually held around a meal or a cup of coffee, that sort of thing), most folks are very open to conversation.