Dear Mentor:

What is it like? How can I do it? Who is best?

What is a typical day like on this job? How can I enter this occupation and do I need any special education or experience? How has this career changed over the years? What changes are expected in the future? How difficult is it to find a job like this? What are the salaries like in this career? Who is the best in the present line of work and what does that person do to be so good?

Plainly Vague, Singapore

Dear Plainly Vague:

First things first. We received 7 emails from you in quick succession, each one of which was a one-sentence-long question. We have no idea why you were driven to do this. The Dear Mentor: Submission Form allows you to detail your inquiry. All 7 questions are patched together above. We strongly encourage you and others to pause for a moment - think about what you want to ask, articulate your thoughts, and take the time to write clearly - before hitting the "send" button. We certainly hope that you can afford to spend at least a fraction of the time that it takes us to respond to your inquiry.

We are not sure what you mean by "this" job. We are assuming that you are referring to the weekly production of "this" advice column, Dear Mentor:. The weekly production of Dear Mentor: is not a job, it a multi-stage process involving many people. These people bring diverse educational backgrounds, skills, knowledge, and expertise. They also bring hard-earned experience in technical development, problem solving, academic and career counseling, entrepreneurship, business management, and clear writing.

The process begins with making a determination of which inquiries should be included in the Dear Mentor: column and which should be answered directly and privately. We answer all inquiries, but not all are included in the Dear Mentor: column. Only those inquiries with a broad appeal - interesting and relevant to not just the one individual asking the question(s) but also to the iMahal audience at large - are included for publication in the Dear Mentor: column. Our purpose for publishing Dear Mentor: is to offer advice and guidance on education and careers. We politely decline - via direct and private emails - the requests for research for specific and personal needs. We can not and do not conduct research for personal needs. In many instances, we notice that we have answered similar questions in the past. In such cases, the direct and private emails from us offer the website addresses of previous columns.

We then begin the process or preparing replies for inquiries selected for publication. A core group of 4 persons, along with a panel of over a dozen experts, formulate the responses. Here is a brief background of the core group of 4. They have 3 PhD and 8 Master's degrees and 75+ years of work experience in academia and business. All live in the US. Two have lived in Canada. Three have lived in India. One has lived in all the countries of focus at iMahal; that is, the US, UK, India, and Canada.

The panel of experts is equally diverse and qualified, if not more. We also have a group of volunteers in various countries with varied backgrounds, but always with extensive academic qualifications and work experience. We call upon these volunteers for information and advice, when appropriate. If you wish to become an iMahal volunteer, contact us with information on your background and interests.

Having formulated the responses, our writer(s) prepare the written replies. Our editor ensures that the responses are of the highest quality, not just in terms of writing but also in terms of content. Our technical people then prepare the webpages. After review by the core group, the Dear Mentor: column is published on iMahal.

As you can see, publishing the Dear Mentor: column is not a job; it is an aggregation of the efforts of many talented people. It is not the job for any of the participants. It is merely one among facets of their jobs.

We are simply unable to decipher any further the series of questions from you. We have done the best we can. Good luck!

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