Having a godfather is good sometimes; at least you will have someone that watches your back. The good thing about godfathers is that they force you to sit-up and work (or get ditched). So it’s not bad to have one; at least it’s not really bad if you can find a good-hearted one (unlike The Dons in Mario Puzo’s “The Godfathers” – lol).
At times, someone may seek a mentor and end up with a godfather. He may find himself getting good jobs, business contracts, overseas trainings, better positions in offices, rapid promotions and so on, because he has ‘connection’. But he may find out later that a slight fallout with (or loss of) his ‘connection’ will crash-land him to the very rung of the ladder where he was before he met this ‘connection’, or even lower than that. This is why it is necessary that you know if that person you are ‘following’ is a mentor or a godfather ( I believe we all want to sustain what we have when we land in a better place).
Before going into the differences between a mentor and a godfather, I’ll like to state here that they both share some similarities. For instance, both of them are well respected and admired by the ‘seeker’. If not, he wouldn’t have approached any of them in the first place. Another thing is that they are in positions that this ‘seeker’ admires and wants to attain. And then, they are both advisers – at least they can both guide you to achieve a goal (the difference now is whose goal is being achieved).
So, here are the differences between a mentor and a godfather. Kindly note that the notion of mentor and godfather used here isn’t in relation to crime, but to legal career attainment and progression.
- Professionalism: Both mentors and godfathers are well established in their own professions; in fact they are experts there. But a mentor can only take-in a mentee in his own profession. He offers professional advice that are well needed by his mentee. It will be quite odd for him to take up someone whose career interest isn’t in his area of specialty because he won’t be able to help him (as needed).
But godfathers don’t necessarily take-in people in their areas of specialisation. Their godsons are like their tentacles which they spread to tap into other areas. The advice they can offer their godsons that come from other fields is a general one that will push them to get the job done. This means they may not be able to offer deep insights into some aspects of their godsons’ professions (this is one major reason godsons lose it all when they have fallout with their godfathers – they actually don’t know much about their careers).
- Financial Gain: A mentor doesn’t necessarily need to gain financially from his mentee. Of course mentees will always tag along and do some errands for their mentors because that’s how they learn. They (mentees) can also decide to work for them (their mentors) in order to gain deeper knowledge on their profession. But, a mentor doesn’t really take in a mentee because he sees him as a money-making machine.
This is not the case with godfatherism. Every godfather sees his godson(s) as an extension of his businesses. Godsons are to increase their godfathers’ income. They are not there to learn and gain insight into their own profession unless that will be the best way to increase their godfathers’ earnings.
- Career Growth: A mentor grows as his mentee(s) grows. He wouldn’t mind if his mentees become ‘huge’ in the future. They even take pride to announce to the world that they were in their mentees’ success stories. Truth is, they are there so the mentees can learn and become independent.
In a godfather-godson relationship, a different thing is obtained. A godson can never, and I mean ‘never’, be ‘bigger’ than his godfather. He (the godson) is meant to ‘serve’ him (the godfather) for as long as the relationship lasts. Any career growth the godson gets is because it will place him in a position to serve his ‘master’ better. In summary, there is no financial independence for a godson – he will always be under the whims and commands of his godfather.
- Encouragement Type: Mentors encourage their mentees but godfathers compel their godsons. This means that your mentor will encourage you to leave your comfort zone and face your challenges by making you see reasons you need to do that. In most, if not all cases, the reasons proffered by these mentors do not benefit them (the mentors); but they don’t consider that.
But if the person you have is a godfather, he will force you to leave your comfort zone to carry out whatever duty you are given. He doesn’t care about your comfort or welfare unless it will affect his ‘businesses’. This is to say that godfathers are very pushful (and I think some people need them for starters).
- Goal Achievement: Mentors are selfless because they help their mentees achieve their (the mentees’) goals. This is quite different in the case of a godfather who places his own goals before that of his godson. Put differently, in the case of mentor-mentee relationship, the goals achieved are the mentee’s; while in the godfather-godson relationship the godfather’s goals are achieved.
- Sustenance: So long as you are ready to learn, work hard, grow and improve on your skills and career, your mentor will always be there for you because he loves to see you grow. In fact, by teaching you, he too is sharpening his own skills. A mentor only drops a mentee when he (the mentee) ‘refuses’ to improve or waste his (the mentor’s) time.
But a godfather will only keep you as long as his need for you lasts. Once that ‘project’ he took you in for exhausts (and he doesn’t have any other ‘project’ for you) he will ditch you. So pray your godfather always have something for you.
Anyway, this is just a little piece for us to really look deep within to find out if we have a mentor or a godfather (or even to know what exactly we wanted). I believe we all know the right thing to do.