Minnie and Marianne

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Photo: Suste Bonnén

Honest and open-minded communication is the basis of good mentoring and problem solving for Chinese Minnie and her mentor Marianne.

Minnie moved from China to Denmark in March 2008. She has a degree in English and twelve years of working experience as a stewardess. Minnie's number one priority is finding a job. In her opinion, having a job is the key to consider herself part of the Danish society. Everybody she knows in Copenhagen either works or is looking for a job. For Minnie being employed is also the best way of achieving fluency in the Danish language.

Minnie was matched with Marianne. Marianne has degrees in both History and French and has worked for different Human Rights Organizations. She worked for 40 years for the Scandinavian Airline, SAS, where she began as a stewardess after high school and ended her career as a manager responsible for writing the Cabin Safety Manuals and teaching Safety Training and Emergency Training for Flight Operations. After retiring last year, Marianne became a mentor.

The fact that Minnie and Marianne both worked in the airline industry helped to make things smooth during their initial contact. In the first phase of the mentoring relationship, Marianne was very aware of her "Scandinavian way of doing things," when making suggestions and practical recommendations for job searches to Minnie.
Minnie did not mind, however. Her focus was a plan of action for her future and she was willing to consider every factor that could contribute to her job search.

"I could not find a job, but Marianne kept telling me that I should not take it personal, that it was like that for a lot of people, because of a global contraction of the job market," Minnie explains. When Minnie succeded in finding a job, there were new challenges to be worked on within the mentoring relationship:

"When I finally found some part-time employment, I could not find my way through the many practicalities around my tax card."

This was not an area familiar to Marianne, but she did some research, contacted the relevant offices, and together with Minnie prepared for each and every meeting with officials and authorities. Now Minnie has gotten her part-time job and their mentoring is evolving into a more personal, relaxed and complementary experience. Both agree that their relationship has been based on honest and reliable communication, as well as a sense of respect and caring for each other.

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