Mentor is a big word. It’s a word that has a lot of meaning. When I was a young woman I remember hearing it on TV or a movie, or by someone giving a speech thanking their mentor and thinking how cool it was, the idea of someone caring enough about someone’s future, fostering growth, that they’d take that person under their wing and make them better.
Fast forward a couple of years, I’m working in marketing and sales support, DB (we’ll call him) is hired and becomes my boss. This guy is old school, not super old, but definitely old school. He knows everybody, has a great, big reputation, he’s all that and shocker, he’s not a fan of me (or so I thought).
He was savvy, his dress, his talk, how he worked people, how he got things done (his way), he had more leeway than I’d ever seen anyone in the company have. He was smooth. Unfortunately, when I walked into the room all that savviness was out the window and was replaced with hardnosed, hard assed DB. It felt many times like he was two people and in fact looking back, he was.
To everyone else he was an associate, a co-worker, an employee, a friend, but to me, for me, he was a mentor. I will never be able to forgive how hard he was on me, but more importantly I’ll never forget how much better he made me. His lessons, though hard, stuck with me, made an impression and are with me still today. In truth, I didn’t like him very much. I respected him, but I didn’t like him.
Instead, I’ll always be grateful that he saw something in me and instead of taking the easy road of being the nice guy with me, like he was with everyone else, he took a different road and fostered what was to be great in me.
Thank you DB.
What my mentor taught me:
It’s not about me. It’s about what’s best for the company.
Show up, whether you’re sick, down, hung-over, show up because you’re expected to.
It’s the good ‘ole boys club. Work with it, not against.
Work harder, work smarter than everyone else.
Don’t involve “feeling” words into any verbal or written communications (ie I think we should… Instead should be, I recommend we…)