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To connect the practical and the spiritual: "A lot of times, the mentors and bosses we have are products of random chance" - or divine planning.

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I had an extraordinary teacher in Junior college in electronics. He was a true Socratic teacher, though he neither knew of Socrates nor understood the word Hueristic (teaching). He taught things, rules of thumb that could make a career. Things that were not in the book/curriculum. He helped me make the jump to Electronics Engineering technician. He became my senior manager for a number of years. Then a decade later He came to the company I was working at, to become my senior manager again for many years. His teaching had made my success prior to his arrival there possible. He worked closely with me to come up to speed on the product issues. Then I saw the man. It began with him saying he told his boss he hides things to give his boss deniability. Then he ordered me to organize a task group, I warned him this might try be a violation of company policy, I ended up paying the price in spite of direct email order from my manager to execute. Then a product failure investigation was handed to me, he didn’t like it though he said it was technically excellent work. He tried to obscure the problem I had revealed to management, Quality Vice President acted on my recommendation. One day an engineer I worked with came out of a meeting with our director. The director referring to my old teacher said: “He just lied to me.” These issues did not square with my Catholic upbringing, my Air Force ethics training. Or what I knew I owed Jesus based on my knowledge of Gods’ commands My old senior manager is still the most gifted teacher of electronics I have ever known.

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I don't disagree that there are benefits in having a mentor, but isn't more than a modest interest in it Machiavellian? Too much concern about a mentor suggests a fixation with success and a willingness to out-maneuver coworkers through favoritism. Isn't it more virtuous to try to do one's best, be respectful and cooperative with one's boss (because it's the right thing to do), and try to help and encourage co-workers, and forget about currying favor with the right people? Such an approach may not lead to the corner office, but so what.

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