How I Became A Mento

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, welcome to Mentor Spotlight Week!

Inspired by my awesome mentor in all things, this week I will be sharing with you Wonderlings some of the Fonz’s obsessions, his words of wisdom, and maybe even a post from the man himself.  I hope you all enjoy the first themed week of Defining Wonderland.

But before we begin with Mentor Spotlight Week, let me tell you about the beginning of our mentorship.

When I started at my job four years ago, the Fonz was one of the people I had to check in with.  Being escorted from office to office and meeting with dozens of new people, I don’t remember our first encounter.  I guess it’s good that he at least didn’t make a bad first impression.

The Most Interesting Mentor in the World.

My desk was situated outside of the business director’s office and the Fonz, being another manager, would frequently meet with the business director.  Over time, our small pleasantries turned into sarcastic conversations about anything and everything.  This was a man who not only got my sick sense of humor, but had one even more twisted than my own.  Also, he could keep up on the pop culture references with an impressive knowledge of movies, music, and television shows.  He thinks he’s the white Shaft for crying out loud!  After a lengthy conversation about The Rocky Horror Picture Show, I suggested that he show up at the building Halloween party dressed as Dr. Frank-N-Furter.  Luckily, he didn’t take me up on my suggestion.  That would have just been wrong.  So, so wrong.

The business director noticed our rapport and suggested to the Fonz that he become my mentor.  Now, it is not common practice at my workplace for employees who are not interns to have mentors.  There is no official program on how to establish a mentorship and what to do after you find yourself a mentor or mentee.

Shortly after his conversation with the business director, the Fonz told me about his suggestion.  We had no idea what we were doing (he as a mentor, I as a mentee) and I was on board immediately.  I was already going to him with my issues so we might as well slap a label on our roles.  He became my mentor and I became his mento.

Yes, his mento.

You see, the Fonz hates the word mentee.  He has often described it as “a retarded word, like a screwed up version of manatee.”  Who was I to fight with an argument like that?  I was christened a mento and I have been dutifully living up to the title.

I went on a Mediterranean cruise in 2010 and brought back Mentos from every country.

Our mentor-mento relationship has been one filled with great learning opportunities for each of us.  I have come to the Fonz’s office on countless occasions seeking advice and justification on subjects including my career, my dating and social life, and my future.  In turn, he has allowed me to return the favor by lending an ear for his annoyances and talking him down from the ledge when need be.  Whether it be bragging about his sons—two strapping young boys who are athletic superstars—or the latest in water cooler gossip, seldom a day goes by without some kind of chat between the two of us.  Except when he undoubtedly injures himself over the weekend and has to seek medical attention.  It’s happened so frequently I’ve begun to look at the first day of the work week as Mentorless Monday.  I think it might have something to do with the spinning class that we I attend Monday nights.

One of the greatest things about having a mentor is that I always have someone to talk to.  Not that he always listens, but at least he pretends to.  The door is always open for me to boast about good days and bitch about crappy ones.  I never feel like there is anything I can’t say to the Fonz and believe me, I’ve said more than enough.  And I’ve definitely heard more than enough from him.

That’s just how we roll.

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2 thoughts on “How I Became A Mento

  1. Fonz says:

    I can’t imagine ever being a mentor again. Ever have a childhood pet? I did, a mutt named Chief. We were such good friends I never could own a dog again. It just wouldn’t be the same, and I fear it would make me think of Chief too often. The Mento might be a mutt, but she’s certainly no dog, but she’s still ruined me forever. Turns out the most important thing in wonderland is its author.

Don't let me do all the blogging, join in the conversation. Otherwise, I just feel like I'm talking to myself...

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