This isn’t the first time it’s happened to me. The last time my mentor was fired, he reached out to me a few months later, and I followed him to a new job. It was a great run. We built a business, sold it to a competitor for a shit-ton of money which culminated in him getting fired yet again. That time, I hung back, determined to figure out if my success was my own or the result of me clinging to a much brighter man than myself. I did very well for about a year, then the luster started to fade. My mentor was at a company that consisted of a lot of our network. Three years after the last company was sold, I followed him again. This time was a little different, though.
I came to this company to work for him again. Plus, the CEO hired me into this industry when I was 25, quite some time ago. The CEO just retired, and my mentor is next, leaving me to fend for myself yet again.
Now, I’m faced with the question – do I go it alone again, follow my mentor yet again, or find a new mentor?
It’s not that easy to find a mentor.
If you’ve read my bio, you know that I’m nearly 50 and feeling the new twinges of ageism that I never saw myself, or admitted actually existed in the technology field. One assumes that other technical people realize that being technical is something that people are for life, not just something that blossoms in your 20s. I was wrong. I’ve heard our CEO now wants to find “younger blood” and that definitely has me on edge. I don’t think there’s any way to prove these types of accusations, and I’m not one to bring lawsuits, so most likely, if it happens to me, I’ll make mention of it to HR in an attempt to get a decent severance package – something that will allow me to stay out of bankruptcy until I find my next job. I don’t need to soak a company for money, I just don’t want to be kicked to the curb without a chance or plan.
To sum up how I feel about this is very similar to how I felt this summer when my father passed. I was half prepared, knowing that my mentor is older and has alluded to retirement many times with me, and half completely bewildered. No matter how old one gets, we always find comfort in the good advice of close friends and colleagues. I’ve now lost two of my best trusted advisors within six months, and I know that I will be hard-pressed to find someone else as I move on. Perhaps this is what makes people become mentors.
I would say my future is bright, but I’m past the high noon of my years, so my future is definitely looking more like the late afternoon sun, albeit on a perfect day with just enough pollution in the air to make a spectacular sight.
I’m not down and out by any means, I just have to adjust and reset my expectations and soldier on knowing that hard work and dedication continues to get rewarded in this world.
If you like my writing, please subscribe here.