I never think of myself as having had mentors. I suppose I thought they were supposed to announce themselves or wear an ID that said “Mentor” on it. They were the teachers that listened to me. Who really read the papers I wrote and didn’t give me an automatic “A” because I was good with words.
My favorite grade was an A+/D. It was a 40-page paper and I thought it read pretty well. So what kind of grade was that?
I went up to him after class and said “Huh?”
He said: “Great writing. Pity you didn’t do the research. Writing is a wonderful skill, but if you don’t do the research …”
If you don’t do the research — or ignore the results of the research — you become Fox News.
I actually did have a few over the years, although not in the usual sense. They weren’t people who “advanced” me professionally, but they were the ones who sat with me and taught me.
Tsvi, back in Rehovot — Thank you very much for teaching me systems analysis — and somehow getting it done in three weeks. My brain almost exploded, but I remember.
Hal & Mitch – Thank you for teaching me about how linking and modern databases work. I learned more than I imagined I could learn, especially since I had absolutely no technical background and yet — a month later — I got it.
Amazingly, the knowledge stayed with me. I may not know why I went into the kitchen but i remember tables and links and DB-1 and so much more. It doesn’t help me cope with customer service dummies, but it helps me know that they don’t know and I need to keep looking until I find the answer.
I feel like I got two masters degrees, just without the piece of paper!
And there were more. In college and even in High School. The men who taught me I had to write it all out, all of it, even when it was “obvious” to me. Who forced me to find the sources, to never say what could not be proved.
Life was made better by them all. Pity they could not teach the world.