Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Want Some Free Advice? I Do!

One of the economic factors that always intrigued me was the passing down of knowledge. In the past, father taught son and son taught grandson. This was easy because father, son, and grandson all worked the same piece of land and grew the same crops. Now, a physician in Cincinnati can have an engineer in Orlando for a son and a CPA in Chicago for a daughter. The lessons the father learned as a young doctor don't apply. Or maybe the lessons do? Working with people, managing a career, and taking chances are common to all professions whether medical, financial or academic.

How many of you have had a mentor? Who are they and how do you get them?

What got me thinking about this was the interview I did for the Challenger. The business is owned by father and son. The son knew he wanted to be part of it from a young age and upon graduation from a nice university told the father so. They father recommended he try another business just to see; when the son came back with the same conclusion, he recommended the son go to work for another jeweler. I spoke with the son who thought this was the best thing that his dad could have done for him. He learned so much of what he did love and didn't love about the business. I would have loved to have gotten advice like that.

Obviously, why I ask this is because I've never had a mentor? I'm now 34 and no one has offered me advice on career or school or marriage or kids or life or anything. I've pretty much made most choices from my teen years on on my own or with the only input from The Divine Mrs. M. And she doesn't know if what we're doing is right either. Is that normal?

I know parents sometimes serve this role, but I don't have that kind of relationship. I tend to only remember the negative but I'm pretty sure the only career advice I remember getting is "Learn the computer. Everything in the future will be computers (this is 1984 or so). Well, that BASIC knowledge from the class I got a D in hasn't done me much good. There's not much need to program a word processor. Also: "Learn Spanish. Everything will be international by 1997 with the EU and all." Eight years of study later and I can hardly place an order at Taco Bell and there's not much of a need to - I haven't done much international business lately. The furthest I go is the east side of Cincinnati. The Divine Mrs. M has had pretty much the same experience.

Is this normal? Do you have mentors? Do you get good advice from someone you trust? Is their anyone that you go to with life's big decisions? My fear is that I could be avoiding so many mistakes that are economically adverse if I just had an interested third party to bounce ideas off of.

Post your mentoring stories.

Just curious.

Stay You.

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