#MentorSpotlight: Julian Sarkar
Name: Julian (Jules) Sarkar
Hometown: San Francisco, CA
Your first job: Assistant to a real estate agent (through Enterprise!)
Your current job: Attorney
What do you love about your career?
Pick one: the opportunity to change someone’s life for the better, the intense intellectual challenge, or the ability to set legal precedent and protect the rights of those you care about.
How did you hear about Enterprise? How long have you been a volunteer/mentor/etc?
I first heard about Enterprise for Youth as a high school student, though it was still called Enterprise for High School Students back then. I found my first job through Enterprise. Over a decade later, I ran into a college classmate in my apartment building. The coincidences didn’t end there—he was serving on the board of Enterprise for Youth. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Enterprise for Youth was still around, and providing even more robust training to high school students. So I started getting involved and mentoring this summer, and am proud to be working with a group of high school students from my alma mater, Lowell.
Why do you volunteer?
The same motivations that drove me to a career in law—through volunteering, you can make a difference in the lives of those who can’t easily afford professional services. I’m very appreciative of what Enterprise did for me as a high school student, and want to give that opportunity to the current generation of high school students. At this stage these students are competing against peers who had access to professional consulting for college applications and other advantages, so I feel that Enterprise for Youth helps level the playing field for participating students. I also volunteer with other legal non-profit organizations and can say that the experience is consistently fulfilling and rewarding.
Can you tell me about a mentor who was important in your professional development?
It would be unfair to pick one of the many mentors who went out of their way to help me navigate my way from serving in the U.S. Marines to becoming a practicing attorney. What these mentors have all done for me is help me anticipate and prepare for all the obstacles between me and my dreams, whether that meant picking undergraduate majors or determining which legal organizations offered the most useful experience. And often times, this meant directing me to the most useful resources out there, such as those geared towards the law school application process. If you’re reading this and you’ve mentored me (and generously bought me dinner and drinks, which aren’t forgotten), I very much owe my success to you.
What’s your favorite part of working with Enterprise for Youth?
In addition to giving back to the organization that landed me my first job, my favorite part of working with Enterprise for Youth is that the mentees are already full of ambitions and initiative. Because the dedication is already there, it requires little effort on my part to help them reach their goals. And you know that these mentees are going to be the next generation of successful professionals, who will be giving even more back to the next generation of high school students.
What advice do you have for a student applying for their first job?
When you’re marketing yourself to a prospective employer, remember that you’re more than just a student. You have years of experience and skills you’ve picked up to help you make it this far. In many cases, you have technological skills that your prospective employer doesn’t, which could be very useful them. As my college writing professor put it, you don’t enter a separate world after you finish college—you’re in the real world right now. The abilities you already have now are very real and useful, too.