Posted on September 3, 2014 by

The Importance of a Mentor

I haven’t written in a while. It’s not because I have nothing to say or share, or even jotted down. Ultimately, I just wonder if it mattered.

There’s this constant wonder within myself if anything matters, what I do, how if I share, something if says something, if I don’t say something. Some sort of doubt.

People from thinking of me as Alpha male with Beta tendencies, while I see myself more as a Beta male with Alpha tendencies.

As an audio engineer, I was much more confident, I knew exactly what I was doing and how. I knew my limits and where I could fake things to make them seem like I was the best person for the job. It all concluded by getting a job at Capitol Records. Under that I was able to consult on 2 major CD releases and acquire two minor studios.

It was my highlight of my life at the age of 22. Being at the top of the world and I could not do wrong.

So I walked away.

Now with a different career, I have been pursued by certain companies, some startups, some well established software makers, some somewhere in the middle but I can’t help to feel like an imposter. Knowing that my skills aren’t just quite there. This was a with a company I met with earlier this year. If a bug slips by in consumer software, it’s cool, a fix can be pushed in a day, a week. In this type of company a bug could prove to be dangerous to people’s lives. I walked away.

Another company offered me a great salary to live in the city I have dreamed of living (no, it’s no in the US). But I would have been the first. The first person to set quality standards, at a medium size company with over 100 people with millions of VC money and highly visible to boot. I felt it would have been too much a challenge. I didn’t think I was the right person. I could go into this well establish company with teams working well with their methodologies and change them. It just wasn’t in me, even though it was all I wanted. Somewhere where the company values aligned with mine, the passion was the same.

And even now… while taking some time off I have gotten emails and calls from certain companies and wonder, “Are you sure you want to talk to me?” Are you sure haven’t mistaken someone else’s resume for mine?”

All I can adhere or find a correlation between these two careers is that when I was in the music business, I had a mentor. I was taken under someone’s wing. I was taught the ropes and had someone to ask for advice.

As a person in tech, I don’t have that. I don’t have a person I can go to and ask for help. The things I know are skills I had to learn on the job or to get a job. I’m not sure how to go about finding a mentor.

While in Portland a few weeks ago, someone told me something that resonated with me:

“If you got as far as being called, getting an email, or an interview, you should be able to stand on your merits, experience, and education by now.”

Yes, the way I got into tech wasn’t as common as others, but I’m here now. And it seems like I’m either doing something really good as to grab the attention of all these companies, or they are scrapping the bottom of the barrel for talent.

With the quality of software these companies have to put out, I am sure hopeful it’s the former rather than the latter.