Minute Mentor is a series of posts profiling real people achieving their dreams. It began with the simple idea that “seeing is being.” When cofounders Rick and Faye’s oldest son was born, it was clear he was musically inclined. He was playing piano by ear at age 4 and neither of them ever even picked up an instrument! When Faye remembered an old neighbor who had gone on to become a Julliard trained musician, she immediately reached out to him and said, “What do we do?” He patiently answered all of her questions on how best to nurture her budding musician.
Minute Mentor provides a space for real people to tell their stories so if you or your little one is in search of mentorship on how to achieve their dreams, you can look no further than right here! Sometimes the best inspiration comes from seeing someone that looks like you achieving similar goals.
If you have any questions or comments for the featured guest, leave a comment, and we will do our best to bring it to their attention! Happy imagining!
Name: Napoleon Wells
Occupation: Clinical Psychologist, Columnist for The Good Men Project (“These Thoughts Are FREE”)
How hard do you work?
- Lots of Leisure Time
- Typical 40-50hr Workweek
- More than Average
- I never stop working
- Side Hustle/Didn’t Quit My Day Job
- Getting By
- My bills are Paid with Some Room for Fun
- You get a car! You get a car!
Describe your job:
I am the Chief Behaviorist for the Primary Care Behavioral Health Program at a Veterans Affairs Hospital. Most of my days involve coordinating the workload of my mental health staff and seeing veterans for mental health care. Lots of calls, crisis management, a few meetings and lots of healing and human affirmation. I also perform speaking engagements focusing on curing racism every couple of months, and I am a social justice columnist for the Good Men Project. All in all, my job(s) is/are awesome.
What education level is required for your job? Tests? Certificates? Years of School?
Typically, you give yourself the greatest worklife flexibility as a Psychologist when you obtain your Ph.D. It makes you the field’s highest level expert and allows for consulting, private practice, and teaching opportunities. There are, however, many MA level psychologists with practices in the community. You will need your typical 4 years of college and about another 6 years to complete the Ph.D. It can be done in five by superheroes, and if you are reading this, you are, of course, a superhero.
What kind of student were you?
Very driven, always mindful of my goals, determined to always turn what I knew were internal and external doubts into results.
Did you have a mentor? How did you meet?
I had several actually. I sought out mentors in college whenever the chance arose. I sought people out with whom I could discuss my goals and who would help me chart a course. While at Binghamton University, I was fortunate to meet three of the best mentors one could have, Cecil Walters, Dr. Joseph Morrissey and Dr. Leo Wilton. I think that mentor/mentee relationships should develop organically. For me, that meant seeking out individuals that I knew would drive me forward. It took a bit of patience and willingness on their part.
How did you get your current job?
Part of my clinical training was in a Veterans Affairs hospital and I was offered a position upon completing my training. I was fortunate to have superiors that valued my work while I was a trainee and invited me on board.
Is your job family-friendly?
You can typically use your earned leave time as you please, but the day to day workspace and worksite are not what one would call family friendly.
Do you find your work fulfilling?
Very much so. I get to bear witness to the strength and resolve of the human condition, and to be a companion for people to heal themselves who believed that they may have been broken.
Did you always know you wanted to be a Psychologist?
No. I wanted to be a poet, and I may still pursue that if I can guarantee that I would avoid homelessness, in its pursuit.
What advice would you give a parent of a child/young adult interested in pursuing a job in your field?
Certainly have a mentor to guide you through some of the process. Learn as much as you can about lay Psychology, have an invested interest in the human condition and learn to write, write , write.
You can also check out his TED talk below: