Re: Mentoring

Subject: Re: Mentoring
From: "R. Downey" <rdowney -at- matrox -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 16 Mar 2000 10:03:35 -0500

When I began my current job - I had a mentor. He taught me three lessons.

1. When you think it's ready (or you hit deadline) - pass it one to someone
with good english editing skills. Never skip this step.

2. Listen to all commentary. The commentator may not be right in his/her
assessment of how to fix the problem, but that they think there is a problem
is a sign you should re-examine it.

3. 4 finished pages a day is your goal. 4 quality pages is your objective.
Try to write only as much as you absolutely need. 3 is good, 2 is better.

He didn't try to teach me english (although his reviews were skathing, so
much so I often considered quitting because it was obvious I couldn't
write). He didn't try to answer all my questions. Instead he taught me how
to find answers. He was very conscious that I was learning a trade from him,
and was quick to point out his own mistakes. If I ever have a chance to
train someone, I think I'll add a fourth lesson:

4. Question. If something is done a particular way - ask why and examine the
answer. If someone says what you've presented doesn't fit the customer
profile ask how the profile was generated, and for a copy. Listen to the
answers. Questionning is not a method of defending your own position, but a
way of learning what went wrong to assure it does not go wrong again.

Gordon, if you're reading this, Thank you.

This list has since become my mentor. Many of the problems and situations
here are things I'm currently facing. If the list says: buy this book, I go
out and examine the book (read reviews, check stats, etc) and sometimes even
buy it. I appreciate the information on contracting (even though I'm a full
time employee) and the topic of portfolios has given me a lot to think

If a mentoring service were offered through the techw-l, I'd take part.
Rebecca Downey
Matrox Electronics Systems Ltd. Networks Division
Technical Writer
1055 St-Regis
Dorval, Quebec
Canada , H9P 2T4
Voice: (514) 822-6000 x. 2073
Fax : (514) 822-6272
Email: rdowney -at- matrox -dot- com

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