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WANTED: A MENTOR

December 6, 2012

I want a mentor. I’ve been hoping and waiting for a mentor all my life. Everywhere I go, professionally I always end up supremely disappointed with the powers that be. No one has integrity. No one understands standards of excellence. No one fights for what’s right or holds themselves and others up to even a minimal level of…….being the best you can be. Of doing the best we can for a common mission or goal.

I saw it in the newspaper business. In the educational system. At the city I worked for. And now, here.

My boss gave me this big project. It was going to be my baby. I was finally going to be able to tell the story of one this country’s biggest accomplishments from my perspective. I’ve been studying this subject for years. I was going to present in a way that’s never been done before. Designed just for the space it needs to fit. Form follows function.

He keeps pulling me back. He keeps changing the expectations. What started as a unique opportunity to do something we’ve never done before is turning into a cookie-cutter bastardization of what it could be. Classic. Let’s do what’s easy. Let’s dumb it down.

I’m tired of being disappointed. I’m tired of the level of respect going down as my knowledge of an individual increases. I’m tired of working on the Island of Misfits.

I’m not a leader but I’m not a very good follower. I’m not going to be that mentor that leads a team to excellence, nor can I ever be the mindless worker ant who just does what she’s told and trusts that there’s a greater good.

I have a strange and somewhat mediocre set of talents. So, I can’t get my foot in the door in the places where standards of excellence rule the day. I can’t cut it at those places. I’ve tried. I’ve interviewed. I’ve applied. People way more talented than me get into those places. So, I’m left in these weird little organizations where everybody else who’s quirky and weird ends up. Like the weekly paper owned by the guy who thought journalism was publishing puppies and birthdays. Or the daily paper where you had to ask permission to get staples for your stapler and reporting was a farce. Or the city where the Mayor thought his friends and relatives should get a pass on the code inspection and idiots get elected to the council.

I don’t do well at corporations either. So much mindless policy and ridiculous rules. I always end up challenging them and getting in trouble.

The closest thing I’ve had to a mentor was one of my professors at Tulane University College. He challenged the way I thought about the world. He made me look at everything differently. He was a high school dropout who worked his way up to multiple PhDs. He brought out the best in me, recognized it and encouraged me to be more. That was in the world of academia where the work I did was completely under my control. No one told me to dumb my paper down or make it shorter or have fewer sources. I chose a topic, usually because I felt passionate about it….because I had something to say and the only constraint was the deadline. I could put as much or as little into it as I wanted to. I miss that.

I long for someone to bring out the best in me. I long for someone strong enough in his/her own position in the world to see what I’m capable of and let me do it and be proud of me for doing it and challenge me to do more…to be more. I want to be inspired. I want to be challenged. I want to see what someone else is and want to be like them. I don’t want to feel the degrading and inevitable let down that comes from getting to know someone on a deeper level and realizing again….Oh….they’re just like all the others. They weren’t telling the truth when they said they wanted to do the best they can…to be the best they can….to accomplish the mission….to serve the public…..to tell the story……to tell the truth. They just want to get by with the bare minimum and move on. Or worse, they just want to do what they need to do to maintain their small world of power.

I long for a mentor just like I long for a true love. I guess I’ll have to apply the same lesson to both. I have to look inward. I need to be enough for myself and I need to find ways of expressing my passion and meeting my own standards within the constraints of the paradigm I’m in.

The ultimate lesson…..again…..is…It’s all on you, Marie.

Sigh.

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From → Rantings

2 Comments
  1. Taxlady permalink

    This is my favorite one so far!

    • nicolebellpeppers permalink

      Thanks for the comments. I appreciate it. Glad you like reading my rantings.

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