In today’s post, guest columnist Natalie Hastings honors lessons from her Dad – something we should all take time to do this weekend.
My dad and I didn’t always get along. Somewhere after the stage of being daddy’s little girl, my skirts were never long enough for him and my curfew was never late enough for me.
Once I went away to college and found some space (and matured), I realized how awesome my dad really was.
My dad Richard worked as an accountant for a Fortune 100 company headquartered in a small city in Appalachia. To many it was a primo job–working for a highly respected company with a lot of stability and the promise of a well-funded retirement if one stayed for one’s entire career.
In the 1970s and ‘80s, founders and freelancers were few. I think most people would have called them “unemployed.” My dad’s father and grandfather had started and run successful businesses, but during dad’s prime working years, my hometown’s population was shrinking. Not exactly the best foundation for a new business.
Richard was extremely loyal, to his company and most importantly to his family. My mom stayed home with us in our formative years. No crazy idea, burning desire or lack of inspiration in his job would have been worth the risk of not providing for his family. That was his inspiration.
Today I’m lucky enough to work in a world where you can have both. You can provide for your family or yourself with an income and you can do so knowing your job has a purpose.
Chasing inspiration might look like quitting your job, selling your family home and starting a new business,or leaving behind the corporate life to work in a non-profit or startup. What if there were also another way to keep your job and your motivation?
If Dad were working in today’s economy, I think he would expect that, in exchange for his loyalty to a company, he should receive learning and growth opportunities in addition to a paycheck. Perhaps he could have taken a role training others in the company, as he’s a great teacher (and he even taught night classes in accounting at the community college), or in sales (He’s got the personality for it).
Now, Dad enjoys retirement, but he continues to provide insight and inspiration. Below are the lessons that he taught me through how he handled his career, which made me who I am today.
Above all, be yourself.
My dad’s ability to express his individuality has always inspired me, but I didn’t always appreciate it. In high school, my friends thought it was so cool that my dad drove to work on his motorcycle, wearing a full suit and carrying his briefcase to his side. I just thought it was completely embarrassing. Looking back now, Dad’s ability to win “Twist” dance contests both in his 20s and his 70s is a moment of pride for me. At every age, and whether at work, home or on the tennis court, Dad is always 100% himself. Love it or leave it.
Find a way to make it fun.
I remember going to work with Dad for Take Your Daughters to Work Day (yes, it used to be just for daughters) and sitting in his manager’s office to shoot the breeze. My brother remembers how Dad would always be kidding the other workers in his office about this and that. It was clear that Dad found a way to make reconciling profits and losses fun.
3.Even if you don’t like it, do it well.
I knew that Dad often did not find his job rewarding. Yet we always scheduled each vacation around the month’s closing of the accounting books. In fact, I think performing his duties to the absolute best of his ability was his inspiration at work. In today’s workplace climate, I believe Dad–and you–can springboard a job well done into a more meaningful role at your current company or elsewhere.
Do what you love- but be practical.
If I could say one lesson my dad taught my brother and me, it was to pursue career paths that we found rewarding. In this case, he showed us through his regret for not pursuing his passions earlier. We took his advice to heart; my brother is now a journalism professor, and I get to write content and do publicity for Scott Mautz, so…
At one point, I wanted to be a radio disc jockey at the beach. Halfway through college, I seriously considered becoming a flight attendant, until I discovered I didn’t meet the height requirement. Eventually, I became a writer/publicist because I love telling stories. Along my own journey to finding my career, I was determined to find a job that could pay the bills so that I could be independent. That’s why I believe the upcoming book Find The Fire is so important; we don’t (necessarily) have to start all over to find passion in our work.
Leave it at work.
The nature of Dad’s job (and the lack of remote working during his career) enabled him to leave his work at the office. Sure, he was stressed sometimes but he was able to establish boundaries and enjoy other pursuits–his family, his faith, and his fitness, among others.
This article was written by Natalie Hastings for ScottMautz.com.