Tim Russert’s Lesson to Job Seekers

To some, it may seem like old news. Anyone who is plugged in knows that Tim Russert, host of NBC’s Meet the Press and influential political commentator died suddenly of a heart attack while at work. The fact that he died so young (at 58), right before Father’s Day, leaving a son who just graduated college and his own father as well as his wife is so sad…Having lost my own mom right before Mother’s Day two years ago, the timing of his death was especially poignant for me. All of this by way of saying that I’ve thought a lot about Tim Russert and his family, considering that I don’t know them personally.

Since I try to only write about my niche – job hunting topics with the occasional foray into general career issues, in the day or two after his death, I didn’t immediately see a connection in this story that I wanted to share in my blog. Today, with some distance, I realized that there is a critical career related lesson I’d like to mention.

As I watched and read coverage of Tim Russert’s death, everyone who worked with him pointed out his generosity of spirit and willingness to mentor colleagues. In fact, the quote on one of the memorial programs for Tim Russert reads, “No exercise is better for the human heart than reaching down to lift up another person.” I heard him described as someone who pulled others up and then held them there, nurturing and celebrating their successes.

My sense from the tributes memorializing him is that this quality, along with Russert’s reported love of family, work and life, may have contributed as much to his success as his tenatious questioning of political figures.

Yesterday, I wrote about being a “connector” and what a great aspiration it is to become a networker who networks generously and links people for their advantage. Similarly, this is a great time to think about the value of a mentor. Being a mentor can raise your career aspirations. People who see your kindness and generousity of spirit will help lift YOU to higher career heights. How much easier will it be to find people to offer recommendations and references if you are a strong mentor? How much more will you enjoy your work life if you really care about the people who work with you?

For young people entering the working world for the first time, the lesson is to seek a mentor and to someday aspire to be one. Get to know the people who work with you. Care about their lives, their children, their sports teams. Connect because you care and people will respond. Your career and your life will be the better for it!

Keppie Careers hopes to encourage, enlighten and empower you for success. www.keppiecareers.com

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4 Responses to “Tim Russert’s Lesson to Job Seekers”


  1. 1 segan123 June 24, 2008 at 3:06 pm

    Wow – what a great entry. I haven’t really sat down and thought about Russert’s death yet, but you really put it into my head… You’re right – he’s remembered just as much for his soul and personality as he is for the quality work he did.

    It just goes to show that having a heart for your coworkers and the people around you adds so much more to your legacy than your resume.

  2. 2 Miriam Salpeter June 24, 2008 at 4:56 pm

    Thanks for your comment. It IS a special person who is remembered for the quality of what is in their heart AND mind. I know I’ll miss Russert’s commentary on this historical presidential election, and I am glad to know that he was a person who cared about people as well as power.

  3. 3 Lindsey Pollak June 24, 2008 at 6:06 pm

    Miriam,

    Thanks for the great post. I was really sad about Tim Russert’s death too. He really did appear to be a generous mentor to the people he worked with. I was also struck by how much he absolutely loved his job. There were so many stories about how he could talk all night about politics, even after being on air for hours. And it’s inspiring to see a man who was just as dedicated to his family as he was to his work.

    Lindsey

    Lindsey Pollak
    http://www.lindseypollak.com/blog

  4. 4 Miriam Salpeter June 25, 2008 at 9:59 am

    Lindsey,
    I agree…He teaches us a lesson about the importance of work-life balance and the memorials are a reminder of what people really remember. Thanks for your comment!


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