Apprenticeship/Mentorship Success!

January 25, 2010

One of my apprentices from this past summer just accepted a job… at another company.  I’m totally pumped for him, but most of the people I brag to about it say the same thing with the same reaction:

<sigh_of_defeat>Shoot, we didn’t get him.</sigh_of_defeat>

As if we failed miserably.

For me, the apprenticeship/intern process has the following 4 goals (in order of importance, most to least).

  • Teach and develop the apprentice as much as they can possibly absorb.  This includes technical skills, sof-tech skills (like how to learn, what it means to be an engineer, passion, etc.), and soft skills (e.g. how to deal with your lead/PM/that annoying guy next door, etc.).
  • Learn from the apprentice as much as I possibly can.  These guys are at school at an amazing time with amazing things happening.  Leech this new knowledge… it’s relatively free. (I’m unapologetically selfish in this regard… I love to learn 😉
  • Develop an environment where the apprentice feels comfortable with his mentor, and can start to learn and teach with his mentor back and forth… a true partnership.
  • Oh yeah, the last/least benefit… recruiting.

If at the end of this he happens to also be productive, great, win-win… but that isn’t the point (again, that’s my opinion).

After that list, does this look like defeat?  Not to me.  This looks like a dead-on success.  We NAILED it.  Let’s celebrate!  Congrats Man.  Next time we meet, I’m sure I’ll have something to learn.

[I’m at least going to pretend I played some small part in this outcome.  Whether I really did or not, is debatable.]