Advisor Breakdown: The Fairy Godmother
Spoiler Alert: It's really weird to rest your head in your Advisor's lap.
Fairy Godmothers, like Advisors, come in all shapes and sizes. Since FGMs, like seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race, are so ubiquitous we thought we’d hone in on what we consider to be the OG of them all: Cinderella’s.
Think she’s all an Advisor is cracked up to be? Read on and find out.
The (Inappropriate) First Meeting
We all have that one friend that gets dressed up to go out to a ball thrown by the most eligible prince in the land, and then her evil stepsisters tear her pretty dress to shreds because it’s Wednesday. Unfortunately this happened to poor Cinderella on her way out the door so she was left with nothing to wear and some deep emotional scarring. Left to cry alone, as her family goes out to have a grand ole time at the ball, The Fairy Godmother magically appears to comfort Cinderella in her lap.
Ed Note: HUGE DISCLAIMER. It doesn’t really matter what your relationship with your Advisor is, there is basically no good reason why they should comfort you in their lap unless you are unknowingly turned into an adorable puppy named Mr. Snuggles. If that is the case then of course they are going to pick you up and play with you, but that is literally the only instance we think that is ok. We are obviously suspending some personal boundaries to dissect this story, which is making us question our childhoods, but that’s our own thing to work out.
Earlier Cinderella told her only friends (the mice that live in her home) that a dream is a wish your heart makes; but given the current circumstances (crying alone in a garden) she had lost her faith that her dreams would come true after her run-in with her evil step-sisters (you would too!) Her FGM materializes out of nowhere to tell her that if she had truly lost her faith she (FGM) wouldn’t have appeared.
So, lap comforting aside (we cannot stress how much we are NOT on board with this), this is exactly the function an Advisor should fulfill for their Advisee. An Advisor helps you on your way (the path you designate, not one anyone has designated for you) because they believe enough in your abilities that they think you are going to succeed.
Granted, we hope that the stakes are higher than going to a ball in the hopes you might marry an eligible prince (mainly because HRH Meghan Markle took Prince Harry off the market this year…) the sentiment is there. Cinderella desperately wanted to go to the ball, and the FGM appears to make sure she can do it.
Isn’t that what you want from an Advisor: support, guidance, and mild spoiler alert—a carriage that turns into a pumpkin?
Hey, recognize that word? So Cinderella wants to go to the ball, and the FGM has the ability to get her there. Perfect right?
Well, the assistance comes with a few caveats.
First, Cinderella’s mice friends are to be turned into humans, her rags will be turned into a beautiful gown, glass slippers will magically appear on her feet, and yes, a pumpkin will turn into a carriage.
This is all going above and beyond what an Advisor should do, but probably in line with the job description to be a fairy godmother, we’re guessing at least. Our FGM has been on a prolonged cruise in the Caribbean it seems
Now, here comes the weirdness—it all goes away at midnight. Which, since it’s dark when the FGM encounters Cinderella (let’s assume its about 8 pm) that only gives her 4 hours at the ball. Cinderella better get herself into gear and be ready to shoot her shot, because she doesn't have a lot of time to do it!
As weird as it sounds, it’s pretty applicable to the Advisor/Advisee relationship—Advisors help when they can, but it’s not unconditional or unilateral. It too comes with time constraints (they can only meet in a short time frame on a certain day, etc...) and yes, their help comes with limitations—the carriage they provide isn’t yours to keep indefinitely. It’s just there to give you a jump start to get you on your way so that one day you can be the proud owner of a pumpkin-turned-carriage of your own!
Finally, the help requires the Advisee to be accountable to the constraints the Advisor outlines—"Want to go to the ball? Great! I can get you there, but there’s a time limitation, and you gotta be ok with mice-footmen. Cool? Cool.”
Cinderella agrees to these parameters, and so the Commitment is made. The FGM provides; and Cinderella (supposedly) leaves the ball by midnight. Easy-peasy! (We imagine in YOU the Commitment would have looked something like this: "Attend fancy Prince's ball, with an assist from FGM. Agree to be home before midnight because carriage will turn into pumpkin.")
The Happily Ever After
Cinderella, grateful for the help, goes to the ball and has the Prince fall madly in love with her. Naturally.
Unfortunately, time management isn’t her strong suit (we’d probably recommend she add the White “I’m Late! I’m Late!” Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland to her team in YOU to provide a more well-rounded perspective on the importance of time management…) and Cinderella cuts it reeeeeeeeal close to her midnight curfew—leaving behind a sole glass slipper in her wake, much to the Prince’s chagrin.
Because this is a fairy tale, and not the 21st Century, the Prince embarks on a kingdom-wide hunt for Cinderella with the belief that only her foot could fit into the left-behind glass slipper (sure guy, I guess they don't have a Lady Footlocker in that kingdom). The grand culmination of which leads him to her door step, only to have Cinderella’s evil family shatter the glass slipper moments before she was to try it on. (It must have been Wednesday, again.)
Not to worry though, our girl has a spare, and she goes on to marry the Prince and live happily ever after (we assume.)
So what does this mean for the FGM as an Advisor? Well, you gotta hand it to her—she gave Cinderella the tools (well, shoes) she needed to achieve her goal, and even though that assistance was temporary (and frankly, the role of your Advisor should not be to help you marry a prince, but should be grounded more in personal and professional development, but we’re letting that one slide for the sake of this blog), she left her with something after their interaction that continued to help Cinderella.
That’s exactly how an Advisor should function—give you some of their time and set you on the right path towards achieving your goal. It also helps if they sing a weird song while clad in a robe, like the FGM did, but we consider that a bonus and not a feature requirement.
All in all, while she started out a little weird (and again, it is wildly inappropriate for your Advisor to comfort you in their lap) she ultimately did a fantastic job of advising Cinderella to achieve success.
We’d rank her job the opposite of "Bibbidi bobbidi bogus”. Well done!