The Mentorist


How to Work a Room When You’d Rather Fall Through the Floor

My favorite New Yorker cartoon shows a worried, middle-aged man about to walk into a cocktail party.  The thought bubble above his head reads, ‘Yikes! Grown-ups!’


I loathe cocktail parties — and any other gathering that requires dealing with crowds of strangers from a standing position.  Nonetheless, these sorts of ‘mingle fests’ are a fact of professional life.

If hosted by your employer, showing up is tacitly understood to be mandatory.  (Company holiday party, anyone?)  Even if your paycheck has nothing to do with the event, you can often stand to benefit professionally by going:  Future clients, referrals, job offers and board invitations can all stem from what’s known as ‘working the crowd.’ Continue reading

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Free-Range Chickens? Good. Free-Range References? Not.

Let’s imagine you really want that job.  Then let’s imagine your ‘dream employer’ remains interested enough in you to ask for references.

If you’re like most people who ask me to fill the reference role, you’ll send an e-mail that reads something like this:  ‘Hi, [reference’s name] — I’m interviewing for a position as [X] at [Company Y].  May I use you as a reference?  [Company Y’s HR Director] will be calling you.  Thanks!’

Oh, really?

There are several things wrong with this picture. Let me list the ‘biggies’: 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