Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Anti-Mentor

So I've been whoring myself this week on interviews. Whoring myself, nothing new to these parts. But seriously, four interviews in five days. Virtual insanity, without the moving floor. But I've been thinking of the mentors in my life -- the things they've taught me, how they've helped me grow, etc. etc. But then I got to thinking about the anti-mentor. They people you vowed you would never turn into, or do things how they would do them, etc. etc. So for those of you who know me, you'll prolly know some of the anties, but it should be mentioned that I have learned just as much from the anties, that I have from the mentors.

Drum roll please for the anti-mentors list and what they will teach you.

Loyalty. You'll find out quickly from those that turn on you who you can and cannot be loyal to.

Character. I think to think I have and had character at places that I have been an employee. But anti-mentors will test your character. They'll test you on who you are and will help shape the person who want to become ... i.e. not them.

Handling confrontation. That's the biggest thing with the anti-mentor. They will challenge you on stuff, in front of people or challenge you in ways you didn't think possible. Such as working 90 hour work weeks and getting no recognition for it, or having them give the credit to someone else who hardly did poo. But they will also make you a fighter if you have the balls to be one, because you will get sick of taking their shit. It's true. In fact I've submitted a grant proposal just to consider exploring the idea. kidding, of course.

Blaming/Passing the Buck. Single-handedly the best thing I've learned from the anti-mentor. I'm a team player, I knew this before, put I will never put blame on an individual. We all sink and we all swim. And that I think encourages and fosters a good team spirit. When everyone has each other's backs and everyone believes and trusts each other. I think when you work in a "me" or a "blame atmosphere" the "it's-not-my-fault-but-(insert X name's)-fault" that you go counter to the working team environment you are trying to portray.

Never sit with you face to the door. It's uncomfortable to the people working under you and it's anti zen. It's passive agressive and more like a "keep you under my thumb" thing. If you think an office space (sidenote one of my top ten films) set-up doesn't play a role in the team dynamic, think again.

Now I could easily write a list about how great my mentors have been and the attributes they have. But what is great about people who are you mentor is they are there for you, they encourage you, they can be hard on you, but that toughness is out of love and not out of threat, or fear, or dislike. It's out of a good place. And besides things they would do, that's what separates the anties from the mentors. The anties are usually stuck in a place of negativity "I, I, I, me, me, me" or they are passive agressive, love power, or are socially inept. The mentors are usually a combo of the me-we, usually aggressive, may/may not love power, but love a team environment and are no way socially inept.

So lesson learned. Although it pains me to say it. I've prolly learned more from the anti-mentor, because I know who I am as an employee and person and know who I don't want to be, ever.

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