Now I’m supposed to tell you that now is the time in my career when I become a mentor and teacher. But often this is reserved for a very chosen, very successful few, who really deserves that status.  But for me, a humble HR Generalist, not so much.  But wait a minute, don’t’ I have something to offer?  You’re damn right!

Like you, I am humbled by those Social Networking gurus who proclaim their success, both monetarily and personally who made the journey to becoming a coach, consultant, expert, solutions provider, or other self-imposed titles.  It appears they have arrived at professional nirvana: but I’m not that guy.  I can’t profess to be the provider of all solutions, but I can offer insights that could be of value to those navigating their own daily work or life challenges.  As I said before, I just want to remain relevant.

So, what does that mean exactly, you may ask?  Ok, here it is:  I really believe the average person wants to succeed, be happy, provide for themselves or their families and someday retire or down-tire (future article to come) at a time of their choosing.

So, in lies relevance!  I try to define this as being the person in the room whom the team considers the person who has “been there, seen that”, but has incorporated wisdom into the formula and extract solutions and alternatives that others cannot see. 

The tricky part is how to not sound like you are a crusty, tainted, tarnished person in the room, who should have left the company five years ago!  Your approach would be to remain fresh in your learning and thinking.  To remain enthusiastic in the ideas and efforts of your peers, and most of all, be supportive.  This exercise is not just for the conference room, but for the little person inside your head as you change your own thinking.  To push beyond the thoughts of “I have dealt with this before and here is the solution”, or God Forbid, “these kids have no idea what they are doing and I know the answer, but I’m not saying anything because they don’t ask”.

Frankly, it’s a play on ego.  The ability to pause, realize your new place, and celebrate that you have graduated to this new plane of existence will take some brain reprogramming or even a completely different approach to your work.  The job may now be simpler, but you must listen to those next in line and help them learn from their mistakes, and make yourself the person who is there for them.  Also, people seek a reassuring and wise perspective who will listen and provide advice when the time comes. 

But you are being sought out as that mentor may not arrive that soon or often.  Think about a time early in your career when you were stuck.  Did you seek out the guidance of the seasoned ones?  Likely not.  But as the Buddhist saying goes, “When the student is ready the Teacher will arrive”. 

This is a tough lesson, but please think about it.  Discard your ego and see the new opportunities before you.   -Rick Baron (

For more, check out the book, “Claiming Your Place at the Fire: Living the Second Half of Your Life on Purpose” (2004) by Richard J. Leader