John U. Bacon says, “Choose mentors, not money, especially early in your career,” on his Let Them Lead podcast. This is a great quote that really rings true, and now is a relevant time of the year to talk about it. We have many college graduates coming into the workforce, looking for jobs and starting their careers. Choosing mentors over money is great advice and an important starting point.
Looking back on the start of my career, I had no choice but to do this. I switched from a secondary education major to starting a career in sales, so I had no choice; I wasn’t really in demand in the marketplace. I started selling health club memberships, then long-distance services, and then technical documentation services.
At the start of my career, I learned a lot and had a couple of great mentors. When I was in Nashville, Tennessee, Tena Mayberry helped me out tremendously. Then when I came to Service Express, our Founder, Mike McCullagh, did as well. Choosing mentors over money resonates with me because if it weren’t for working with them, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
Conversely, I also had some not-so-great experiences before these great mentors, and I learned a lot from that. It’s kind of like the anti-mentor if you will. Have you ever had that experience? There’s value in experiencing a bad boss or bad company because you learn what you do not to do.
One of my past jobs had high turnover, didn’t back up its service promise and wasn’t honest or forthright in many areas. This experience taught me that if I got in a position to lead, I’d never want to lead that way. I’m not perfect by any means, and I’ve made mistakes, but I’m going to be honest and forthright. We’re going to deliver on our service promise because I know what it feels like to be in front of a customer and doubt whether or not your company will back you. That’s why Service Express is passionate and adamant about delivering our customer service promise.
Choosing mentors over money is great advice from John U. Bacon. I highly recommend his podcast, he’s fantastic and has great advice!