Life | Work

Mentors and Mines

July 27, 2023

I think back to my corporate career…working for someone else. There were many things I could have (and probably should have) done differently.

Once, I was brought onboard by a mentor of mine. What turned into a good experience became challenging with a poor manager – uninvolved most of the time, and involved in a negative way when it actually mattered. Then all the details that I had signed on for had changed, also detrimentally. Instead of discussing with my mentor, I decided to give my notice to my new boss at the time, and then let my mentor know after the fact. There was nothing that could be done at that stage. I don’t regret where this ultimately led me because it brought me to consulting. …But, it was a courtesy I should have provided, and I do wish I had handled the situation differently to give a heads up. Lesson learned.

As a second example, another mentor had brought me on in a new role. A good experience quickly turned sour when I was threatened into doing something that I didn’t want to do, but probably would have had it been approached kindly. I was upset, and perhaps rash, and called this mentor of mine to give my notice. I wish I had said at the time…why was this handled this way? We were friends, why didn’t you come to me directly with your request? Alas, I didn’t, and while the bridge isn’t burned, it’s not walkable either.

In neither situation do I regret taking the opportunity, nor do I regret that it ended. But I do think back and have remorse that I didn’t manage the situations differently.

The moral is – make the choices that work for you. At the end of the day, you’re the only one responsible for your own happiness. But make those choices wisely. Think through your decisions, don’t make them quickly. Communicate what should be said, even if it doesn’t NEED to be said.

What lessons have you learned in life and career about managing relationships, endings and closing doors?