Teacher and Mentor by Jeff Varney

Experience is the worst teacher. It always gives the test first and the instruction afterward.”    Zig Ziglar

 The late Lynn Gernert was the best boss I have ever had.

 In the formative years of my professional growth, Lynn Gernert, earned my respect and admiration with everything he did.

 As a recent college graduate working as an engineer in my very first job, I was surrounded by colleagues of my age and education level who were doing the grunt work. For them it was a very challenging time in their career, they did not sign on to do calculation after calculation. They wanted to be challenged and they wanted to do some higher-level thinking. However, they were not as lucky as I was because, Lynn Gernert was my manager.

Lynn did not assign me menial tasks of a repetitive nature. He would give me a vision of the task because he had the ability to sit down with that vision on a piece of paper and to convey that vision to me.  With Lynn, I did not feel like I was an employee; I felt like I was a colleague and a partner in the project, even though this was my very first job right out of college. Once he assigned the task to me and he was always successful in his vision instruction. However, once I had the task assigned, he gave me the latitude and the leeway to do it my way.  The task did not always have to be done his way. He understood that creative and educated people could come up with a variety of ways to solve a problem.

Lynn also recognized my abilities and could sense when I could only take on so much of a project.  He would allow me to work as far as I could and then he would wait for me to come back for additional instruction.

The real skill was his ability to keep me in the industry when my other college friends were not challenged and wanted to go into another field of endeavor. They were given grunt work and repetitive processes and it drove them nuts. However, with Lynn’s help, I was given the opportunity to do very interesting things.

The best thing about Lynn was his ability to always learn. That challenged me to always learn too. Those were his best skills to inspire me to think and work through projects, to continue to learn and grow and to give me interesting work. Now that I am a manager, I try to emulate his style.


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