Mentors and Demons

Mentors

If you work in publishing for any length of time, you are going to come across people who will lend a hand and give you some advice as you are learning the ropes in this business.  Since book publishing is a very long apprenticeship, it helps to have individuals with you on the long career train-ride who will guide you and give you the foundational building blocks that you will need to make your way through this thing called publishing.  Seek them out, cling to them and learn everything that you can from these wise and grizzled individuals.  I have been extremely fortunate in my career to have worked with a few great people who showed me the ins and outs of this profession.  Two individuals in particular are first and foremost in my mind whenever I think back on the stepping-stones in my career path.  They were both individuals who were in the middle of their careers, so they were not threatened by this newbie who was trying to pick-up and learn as much as possible from these knowledgable gentleman.  I owe them a debt of gratitude I cannot repay, but these 2 individuals personify what it means to be a selfless guide in helping teach the next generation of publishing professionals.

Demons

You will invariably run into people who are not one with you on your career journey.  Learn how to identify them, avoid them, and if needed, escape from them as the life journey is too short to be filled with regret and suffering at the hands of an insecure or troubled guide.  There may be ways to deal with the situation if you find yourself in a battle with one of these transgressors.  Stay under cover and work to extricate yourself from the situation as quickly as you can.  Constant belittling and consternation can be a drag on you and your career goals, so stay put as long as you need too, but if you need to run for the sake of maintaining your own individual view of self, by all means make that happen.  I have had 3 different instances where a supervisor was regularly undermining my professional standing within the corporate organization.  To continually deal with the physical and emotional torment is to put oneself into a position where health becomes the paramount issue.  Your health and safety are always the most important things in this delicate balance.  Protect yourself at all costs and do what you must to leave a bad situation whole and safe.  The next work environment will be better, and may have a mentor waiting for you to boot!

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