The Mentorist

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Mistakes and Miles Davis

We all make mistakes. Sometimes big fat ones. So big that they cloud our judgment about what to do next.

The first thought that typically goes through people’s minds after realizing they’ve made a huge mistake at work is whether it can stay ‘under the radar.’ If not, the next typically involves looking for someone (or something) to blame. And, not long after that, catastrophic thinking sets in — usually including vivid images of being fired.

So, what should you do after a ‘major screw-up’ at work?  (By that, I mean a mistake with the potential for derailing an important project or goal that others are counting on you for.)

First, invoke Miles Davis. Continue reading


Should You Negotiate Your Offer Letter? Absolutely!

Only one person has ever accepted a job offer from me ‘on the spot’ — and that person was the hiring decision I came to regret most. This probably wasn’t a coincidence.

I’m a lawyer. The people I hired to work on my Legal Teams were lawyers. The jobs I was hiring them for required negotiating on a daily basis. If someone didn’t start off by negotiating the terms of his own offer, it should have tipped me off he didn’t have ‘the stuff’ I was looking for.

Career blogs are awash with postings that discuss whether job candidates should screw up their courage and negotiate their offer terms. I’m surprised by how much ‘air time’ this topic commands, but, then again, negotiating comes naturally to lawyers — at least, it had better.

So, should you negotiate your offer letter? Absolutely.

But, like with anything else, you need to know where the guardrails are and take care not to cross over them. Be aware of the following: Continue reading


It’s Not What You Say, It’s the Way You Say It: Women at Work

I’ve just finished reading Lean In and am convinced Sheryl Sandberg has been spying on me from birth.

Most women who read the book will likely feel the same.  Lean In captures the ways women sabotage themselves in the workplace — and does a good job of explaining the sociological reasons why.

In my experience, conversational style — that is, how we say something — is at the root of most problems women have in getting promoted to top positions.

Let’s face it:  The corporate world is, in large part, still ruled by men.  That means most interactions that determine whether a woman will reach ‘the top’ are going to be with men.

And — plain and simple — they don’t talk like us. Continue reading