Since starting my own Executive Search Firm about six weeks ago, I have found that one thing I miss from having been a Partner in a large established firm is mentoring. Over 25+ years, I have mentored dozens of very bright recruiters. Many have gone onto great careers in recruiting, some became Rookie of the Year, some have become partners in the firm and some have decided that headhunting is not their destiny, but (I hope) all learned something of value from me.
I have gone though a range of emotions when mentoring from frustration when they just don’t get it to feeling like I am investing a lot of time with no returns to a feeling of pride when something clicks, and they turn a corner.
I did get a small financial return when one of my mentees succeeded. The emotional return was much larger and more satisfying to me. Last week, I had a turn down on a high-level position which would have paid my mortgage for a couple of years. As resilient as I have become, I was down in the dumps all afternoon. That night, I got a call from someone I mentored many years ago, someone who I have not seen in probably ten years, though we do touch base every once in a great while. They called to congratulate me on starting my new firm and offered me any help or support that I needed. They thanked me for all the time, advice and energy I shared with them so many years ago and let me know that, though no longer in our business, I had greatly helped their career.
No longer in the dumps, the rest of the week was the most productive I have had this year. I may have to hire some employees, just to mentor again!
A quick note to this person and the dozens of folks who have reached out to me with support and encouragement in the last six weeks. I can’t thank you enough and value your friendship more than you can know.