There are plenty of aspects of working productively within our discipline that have nothing to do with scholarship. How do you know when it’s time to take a break? What do you do when you’re at the end of your rope? What are the dangers of dating someone within the discipline? Are there any shortcuts on the way to tenure? … And these sorts of questions are really just the general questions. Anyone might be interested in these conversations, and they really are most productively engaged with a mentor who is honest and trusts whoever might be listening.
Trauman also examines the role of intimacy in mentorship and concludes that perhaps it's a combination of obscurity and privacy—even when the conversations are not particularly secret—that are important to fostering a mentorship.