The other day I was reading an article shared to me through Linkedin, which is a business oriented social media. I manage the company site and post articles and update information, which reminds me, needs to be done again. Anyway, this article which was titled Seven Signs You’re Too Smart For Your Job by Liz Ryan had a section about “No one around you looks like a mentor, a role model or guide” really caught my attention and I have been thinking about it for days. And to be honest, when something sits in your head for days being tossed about like a tennis ball in the game of thoughts in your head, then you know that you have touched upon something that is important in some way.
It really got me thinking about my whole life. I never had that special teacher that is so often talked about who inspires students to excel. I had good teachers and bad ones, but I never had that amazing educator that stands out as the person who believed in me and pushed me towards a goal that resulted in something better for my life. As a matter of fact, I was told by my Honors English teacher in high school that there was nothing she could do for me. I wrote like Ray Bradbury, and it was well known that this teacher hated science fiction and fantasy literature. So basically in her mind I was a lost cause. Okay, so this article is mostly about employers, so I started thinking about who I worked for. Not one of these people who had been my boss had ever been a mentor or a role model. Not one. I can think of two that I respected for their hard work and their honesty with me, but they were not mentors or role models. Just decent people. That would be Karen M. and Cody G.
So I really started thinking about some of the employers I had, and it actually made me depressed. There was the insecure misogynist homophobic guy who ran the art department at a T-shirt place and fired me when a male artist harassed me with threatening comments, the kindly manager who ran the geological exploration office that proceeded to tell me that the geologists were afraid of me, which shocked the heck out of me. I spent a long time trying to figure out what I could have possibly done to any of those guys to make them afraid of me, the humble map maker. I looked at them as team members and I was doing my best to get their presentation items ready so that they could make a new project out of their findings. Each geologist had their own unique style of putting together data and I did my best to make everything go as smoothly as possible. One guy could never get anything right and would make up to 30 changes on just one small presentation map. I used to love that geological draftsman job.
Then there was the ceramic shop owner who had her artists sign her name to all the ceramic pieces and she sold them as her original handmade work – didn’t work for her long. The artists were paid minimum wage and treated like dirt. Then there was the insurance guy, who I think had a mental illness, he did not want people to come in late, but if you did, you could not make up that time during the lunch time, and you had to clock out at the end of the day on time. No over time, but he wanted you to put in extra time and not get paid. He harassed me and my chiropractor about my weekly visits to the doctor, which I scheduled at the end of the day when I didn’t get much done because I felt miserable, but for some reason the employer thought he had the right to know about the visits. I also often observed one of my upper level co-workers coming out of his office in tears while the only male employee was allowed to be sexually harassed by the mostly female staff. And then the final straw was him freaking out one morning when I came in five minutes late – mind you I did three jobs and was paid for one – and he started yelling at me that he was in charge, and I never questioned him about being in charge of his company. The topic of conversation was about me being late and that he was in a bad mood from getting in an argument with the software programmer. He was hysterical. It was scary.
So no, I have never had an employer that I considered to be a mentor or a role model.
I have never had a teacher that fulfilled that role and I went to college and did graduate work in English and Fine Art.
I really wish I had had a role model or a mentor. No one has ever taken me under their wing to train me and make me better at something through their own kindness and wisdom. I feel cheated. And disappointed.
If you are a soul lucky enough to have some knowledgeable person take you under their wing and fulfill the position of role model or mentor, appreciate them. Learn from them and keep in contact with them. They are amazing people that have given you a precious gift of their time, knowledge, and respect for your potential as a person with a future.
I would love to have a mentor. I have done writing, painting, drawing, constructed and designed historical clothing as costumes, ran a small company, designed websites, geological drafting, digital photography, floral design, designed and troubleshoot software, social media, and started several online comic series. And I have had to do this on my own.
Any takers? Or is someone going to be afraid of me?
G. Winkler ©2014
You can read the article that inspired this blog at: https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140729162449-52594-seven-signs-you-re-too-smart-for-your-job?trk=mp-details-rc