Watching Whiplash again reminded me of the power mentors (or more correctly in this case, people who we look up to and whose opinions we cherish) can have over us, driving us to become singularly focused on achieving, thereby impressing them. The merits and demerits of the influence of Fletcher on Andrew may be open to interpretation – the methods certainly are – but the intensity with which that final scene was delivered might make up for every thing.
I have had the blessing of both being helped – and hounded – by workplace mentors. What comes to mind again and again is how the intensity of those formative years have stood me in good stead and influenced my work ethic. Over a decade later, those mentoring relationships have lasted, and when I pop into Houston for work or pass through Lagos (for those still there), meeting up for a drink or a meal is never up for debate. We make it happen.
So for the moral, a useful reminder for me to celebrate the mentors – past and present – in my life.
Day 3 of the Better Man in 30 days Challenge – Find a Mentor
In thinking through today’s challenge, I realised there is a shed load of historical mentors I had to acknowledge – the Artful dodger (so nicknamed by his own father no less) whose MO always seemed to be to stay just on the right side of the law at all times (he was the inspiration to go into engineering), OO, the social studies teacher who intervened when yours truly was nabbed trying to pilfer a book from the secondary school library, Dr K at the Steel plant where I interned in 2000 who sowed the seeds of an appreciation for materials in me and DEL and MMK who held my hand as I took my first shaky steps as a rust geek back between 2003 and 2008. All that is part of why mentoring and mentorship are core values I intend to hold on to dearly both as a giver and a recipient.
For today’s challenge, three gentlemen stand out.
- OO’s a bloke I count as a friend. We connected strongly from our first meeting when I made the move up north after Newcastle. He has featured heavily in my professional life since then, providing much needed guidance when I first set off on my quest to make CEng. He has successfully made the transition from working in Nigeria, returning to school for graduate studies and excelling at work after that. A big bonus is that his (now) nine year old daughter keeps me well grounded, providing a much needed connection to my inner future father.
- K leads the tech team I volunteer with in church. As a fellow introvert, he continuously impresses me with how he goes out of his way to draw out the more introverted team members, ensuring that our often soft voices are not lost in the bedlam of decision making. In addition to his responsibilities as Tech Team leader, he manages to juggle work (at an employer of the same ilk as UX5), and a young family.
- F is someone I am less familiar with but who from a distance fits the template – slightly older, married with a young family and succeeding professionally, topped off with being the lead pastor at a church plant just outside town. Our interactions have been limited to the context of a publications team I volunteer with at church.
My action – and I’ll pop back in here to update on how it’s gone – is to set up a face to face with K and kick off an informal mentorship as OO already counts as one in a sense. On the balance of the evidence, I need a few non-church/ work pals. Wild, young and free (single) men apply within… 🙂