Scott Barlow struggled to land on a major that fit in college. He just never felt like he knew what he wanted to do. It wasn’t until he was fired from his first job, which he hated, that he really began trying to find something that was a good fit for him. Scott found his way into HR and eventually discovered both a knack for and interest in helping people answer the same kinds of questions that he struggled with back in college.
When I was in college, I asked one of my professors to be my mentor. It felt important for me to find a mentor.
He said he couldn’t do that. He only mentors his teaching assistants. But we could get breakfast every other week or so.
I was bummed. I really wanted a mentor, and it took a lot of courage for me to ask.
In spite of my disappointment, I accepted his breakfast offer. We met nearly every other week over the course of a year. He even had me over to his house a few times.
For the past decade, we’ve stayed connected. We don’t keep up regularly, but I know I could call him if I needed something.
“Everyone leaves me! It’s not my fault.”
I had a friend who was so committed to powerlessness and playing the victim that his life fell apart. These words came in a desperate and defiant moment, as I was trying to help him see this. His actions toward a few people in his life were damaging and hurtful, yet he was blind to the effects of his action. All he could see was his own hurt and what others had done to him.
Eventually, his marriage and many of his friendships fell apart. His response was the same, “This is always what happens to me! Everyone leaves.”
It was a mess.
A young reader emailed me recently about her career goals. She wants to be a researcher and teacher but her friends all just want to play video games. She was struggling with the tension between her goals and her relationships. She felt like they were competing for attention.
I recommended she find some people who could appreciate her goals and who are pursuing similar things. Instead of spending evenings playing games online, she needs people who will share a table full of text books and study with her.
There has been some confusion in our house lately around two different words. Whenever my 1 year old sees a picture of a goose, we usually tell him it’s a goose and that it says “honk”. Honk, it seems, sounds very similar to a word he’s an expert in— bonk. So, instead of mimicking the goose sound, our little guy leans forward and bangs his head against the book. We should probably clear this up for him, but in the mean time, it’s really funny.