Houston, TX – We know that Baby Boomers are retiring at such a rate that we cannot replace their talent and experience overnight, and yet it seems many Baby Boomers do not recognize the talent in their organizations. I know the talent exists and this blog series will highlight everyday people doing extraordinary things. Fortunately, these young professionals are being recognized in their organizations and there are lessons to learn from each of them. It is important for all generations to listen to what these young professionals have to say as it is important to our present and our future.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Don Henderson who is a successful attorney at the age of 33. Don is a graduate of Centenary College of Louisiana with an undergraduate degree in Political Science and Business Administration. He earned his law degree from the University of Houston Law Center.
Based on his success, it is not surprising he is part of our unconventional success blog series. Don credits his career success to the way his parents raised him.
Don feels he has his dream job right now working as an attorney. He works at a small firm with two (2) other young attorneys plus the owner of the law firm. He enjoys the various fields of work the law firm typically participates in which includes: corporate, contract, mergers and acquisitions, oil and gas work, international joint ventures, and estate planning and probate work. Generally, they describe themselves as business/corporate attorneys but like to refer to themselves as “outhouse counsel” for businesses. Don says, “It is a family atmosphere here and a wonderful work environment.”
I asked Don to help baby boomers or more experienced professionals better understand some of the biggest misconceptions people have about people his age. Don said, “Each generation will have a slightly different way of going about business that has been influenced by prior generations and available technology. Businesses must continue to try and better themselves via new methodologies to understand what works best. Further, I feel if more companies took the following approach they would find themselves more successful: If you take care of your employees, they will take care of you and your business. A motivated employee with take care of your customers and produce a better product/service for your business.”
In addition, Don said, “being a lawyer is not for everyone, and it is not a guarantee for quick wealth like movies and tv shows typically portray. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree, you still have another three (3) years of law school to look forward to, and tuition can be expensive. Law school does not teach you how to be a lawyer. Law school teaches you the subject matter to pass the bar exam. If you want to be a solo practitioner after passing the bar exam, it can be sink or swim very quickly if you do not have a mentor to guide you. Lawyers who practice in different areas of the law all have different experiences. A family law attorney will have an entirely different outlook at practicing law than someone who typically works exclusively with corporate and business clients.”
I asked Don if he had advice for younger professionals entering the workforce and here is what he said, “Do not expect instant gratification, as career success often takes time. The likelihood of immediately vaulting up the corporate ladder is limited. You must strive to ensure that you continue to better yourself in your chosen career and gain the critical experience that only comes with time. Often, what truly distinguishes you from others are the tips and tricks you learn from your experiences in a position”.
As the interviewer, I would describe Don’s success in large part because of his strong work ethic, growth mindset, authenticity, problem-solving ability, and love of learning. [Don?] has what I call the X-factor, you might not be able to describe it, but you know it when you see it.
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