Role models come in various flavors. Some are experienced, senior professionals who take on trainees as part of their responsibilities. Others are more junior and the relationship feels more like a lateral partnership than vertical mentorship. Role models can even be people in a vastly different field or someone you don’t know personally, but would like to emulate . I think it’s important to not only have a role model, but ideally one from each of these categories. I find they serve different roles and having multiple people you can turn to means you get multiple perspectives. When dealing with a difficult problem, typically no one answer is absolutely right. You have to choose among equally ill-fitting options and having various perspectives to sort through such options helps you get a 360 view.
Hero worship is a real danger with role models you don’t know personally. Remember, nobody is perfect; the sides of others lives we see (especially for well-known people) are carefully curated to give the appearance that everything is effortless and without problems. ↩