Throughout our careers, we all come in contact with people that really change our lives. I remember when I landed my first job as a project archaeology crew chief. College was a recent memory and I had a long way to go. All of my skills were pathetic. I couldn’t map very well. I needed my compass on survey for almost every single step. Writing technical reports is a lot different than college papers. My writing was bad…..very bad. About all I was good at was digging.
After one of my first reports, my boss, who had spent part of the night editing my work, left a paper copy of the report on my chair at my desk. In red Sharpee she had written, “DO OVER” on the cover. Underneath the report was a stack of about seven 100-page CRM reports. A Post-It was taped to the uppermost report that said, “READ THESE.”
Needless to say, I was disheartened. I went into her office to ask her what I should do. I thought I was fired.
“I saw the note on my desk,” I said sheepishly. “What exactly do you want me to do?”
“Did you see those reports?” she responded. I said I did. “Then, read all of those and rewrite your report.”
“How much time do I have?” I asked.
“Have it on my desk by the end of the day tomorrow.” And that was that.
I read the reports that day at work (looks like that speed reading I did in college was finally worth something). Then, I stayed up half the night rewriting the report. I had another version on her desk by 4PM the next day.
She read it and more than a week went by before I heard anything more. The suspense was killing me. Finally, I caught her in the break room and asked how she liked the second draft.
“It’s good enough. Thanks for re-doing that one,” she smiled. “Did you learn anything?”
“Yeah,” I said. “Do better the first time so I don’t have to redo it again.”
She just laughed and went about the rest of her day.
That woman became one of my best friends and mentors. She came to my wedding and bought a present for my son’s first birthday. She let me have months off so I could see my father before he died. She paid for me to travel across the U.S. and Canada giving presentations and helped me fund the research that would be part of my first academic article.
Years later, when I left that company, my first boss wrote a single word on my going away card– “Write.”
Good mentors are hard to find. That’s why I’m happy to tell you about a new professional coaching program that’s backed by my personal mentor Kimanzi Constable. This is a man that literally decided he’d had it with his job, wrote some e-books that have sold more than 60,000 copies, and made a plan to move to Hawaii (check out his blog). Kimanzi is helping people around the world go for their dreams and he’s started a free coaching program that you should check out at: http://180x.eventbrite.com/
I would really love to hear from you. If you have any questions or comments, write below or send me an email.
Learn how my résumé-writing knowledge helped four of my fellow archaeologists land cultural resources jobs in a single week!
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