Mentoring 2020 – want some help from me?

[Edit 8/19/2020: the offer is now closed – pleased don’t post any more comments – thanks]

Back in 2015 I mentored 54 people for a few months in a huge variety of non-technical subjects, including:

  • General career development
  • Deciding whether or not to change jobs
  • Becoming a consultant
  • Résumé review and enhancement
  • How to hire people
  • Increasing influence
  • Learning how to work with their manager
  • Communication skills (e.g. writing emails, writing documents, writing clearly)
  • Community exposure
  • Value of certifications
  • Managing a team
  • Persuasion skills
  • Questioning skills
  • Dealing with stress and frustration
  • Work/life balance
  • Blogging
  • Presentation skills and public speaking
  • Time management
  • Evaluating SQL Server skill set
  • Goal setting
  • Dealing with people
  • Mentoring people

If I remember correctly, I think I helped 8 or more people decide to change jobs for a better work environment suited to their goals, and several people go it alone as consultants. It was hugely satisfying to help so many people with their careers and lives, in a non-technical capacity.

Now it’s time to do it again, as I haven’t done any public mentoring since 2015, so this blog post serves as a call for prospective mentees!

Please read the rest of this post carefully, so you’re clear how this works. We’re making a time commitment to each other so I want to be up-front about a few things.

Here are some rules for how I do this:

  • Everything is over email, no exceptions. I like asynchronous. And sometimes I might not be able to reply for a week or so.
  • I only speak English, but I’m more than happy to work with anyone as long as I can understand what English you have.
  • Mentoring will end mid-December 2020.
  • This isn’t SQL Server consulting or mentoring, it’s about you. I will not answer technical questions about SQL Server, no exceptions. But things like what to learn, how to learn, and so on are fair game.
  • What you get out of this depends on what you put in – I won’t chase you up to reply to anything I send.
  • My mentoring style is very blunt and honest and I do not sugar-coat things. I don’t mean I’m rude, I’m just clear and direct with my feedback and advice. If that’s going to offend or upset you, don’t enter.

Here’s how to put yourself on the list:

  • Important: you cannot have been part of the Class of 2015.
  • Write a blog post explaining why you would like to be mentored, and then post a link to your post as a comment on this post (it won’t appear right away as comments are moderated due to the amount of spam comments). No blog post, no entry in the list, no exceptions.
    • Edit: same day – I’ve been asked for an exception three times now. No exceptions, means no exceptions. Same as in 2015.
  • Don’t make the post about me, make it about you. I already know about me :-) Think career, not technical problems.
  • You’ve got until Tuesday 18th August at 23:59:59 PST – entries after that will not be considered.
  • Comments are moderated – you won’t see your comment until I approve it (which after 7-ish PST won’t be until the next morning) so no need to post multiple comments.

I don’t know how many people I’ll decide to mentor this time around, and will likely just number everyone who wrote a good blog post and use a random function to pick X names. X will be between 10 and 50. What does ‘good blog post’ mean? You put some obvious thought and effort into it, but it’s at my sole discretion. I don’t care who you are, where you are, who you work for, what gender you are, or how good your English is; you have as equal a chance of being picked as anyone else who wrote a good post.

Don’t like the rules or how to enter? No problem – but they’re not up for discussion, so just don’t enter :-)

I’ll pick the Class of 2020 and announce them in a blog post on Wednesday or Thursday 19th/20th August, so you’ll need to watch for that post, which will ask you to email me.  Note: if picked, your name and a link to your post will be published in that post. If you want to be anonymous online, write under a pseudonym and email me so I know who you are, and I’ll use the pseudonym in the blog post.

Have fun – I look forward to helping a bunch of you!

56 thoughts on “Mentoring 2020 – want some help from me?

  1. As a member of the 2015 class and one of the ones that changed jobs/careers because of Paul’s insights and wisdom; I can truthfully say without hesitation that this experience was the best! Since 2015, I have doubled my salary, found a stable company that appreciates my skills, and allows me to further my learning to different aspects of the “data world” (not just MSFT SQL). Hello AZURE!

    Anyone who is one the “fence”; let me be the first to push you over; into the world of Paul Randal. You will NOT be disappointed.

  2. To start with…
    I dont have blog post… that would one of the thing that would like to learn/know whats needed to get blog up…
    I want independence from typical working environment. Second thing I need to learn/advice…
    … lots more

    I hope I make the cut…

  3. That was five years ago?
    But you destroyed my career!!

    Actually, you improved it and gave me a sense of direction, which I didn’t have at the time.
    I was one of those that you advised to move on from their current position and you were right. I’ve made a couple of mistakes since then, but they were my mistakes and overall – no regrets.

    People, you really don’t want to miss out on this opportunity.

  4. Hi, Paul,
    My name is Guy, I’m working with data since 2008 and I was Fired at 2016 and got to work as ETL developer in Bank (which I did not like) but at the first month at my work, I got a heart attack that let me think more about my health rather my carrier…last month I had 2nd heart attack and my motivation for looking for a path in my carrier went down to zero…
    Next month I will be celebrating my 40 years birthday and yure mentoring will be not just a gift for me it will be a gift for my wife and 2 daughters.
    hope to hear from you.

  5. Everyone has been very gracious with their appreciation for your extending this offer and I can only reiterate everyone’s accolades. You are a true legend in the IT industry and I would be honored to be among the fortunate who you select for this amazing opportunity!

    btw, long time reader, last-minute candidate, first-time blogger, thanks to you! Obviously, there’s a method to your requirements! LOL

  6. Paul,

    Due to COVID-19 and my employment woes, I have some time to do what I want (which is actually a refreshing change). So today, I’ve spent the time to go through all of the blog posts submitted here and get a feel for the candidates. I must say this is an amazing group of people and I thank you for your efforts and offer of mentorship.

    I’d also like to point out how successful your blog post requirement proved. I count about 15 NEW bloggers that you can take credit for, including myself. Not all attempts were successful or pretty (mine included), but it’s the effort that counts!

    You also inspired 11 individuals to revive their blogs up to 5 years after their last entries!

    I enjoyed this opportunity to get to know the motivated few who took you up on your generous offer and will be reaching out to network where I can. Regardless of the outcome, this has been an encouraging and enlightening experience.

    Best Regards

    PS – if anyone would like to connect, reach out to me at

        1. Yes this is one of those watched pot never boiling situations! F5, wait 5 minutes, F5, wait 5 minutes, F5, wait 5 minutes, F5, wait 5 minutes, F5, wait 5 minutes,……

  7. hi Paul it is been 3 months since I got resisted for this may i know the status of it when it will start ??
    with regards

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