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June 13, 2013As a ninth grade student, I went with my Dad to Take Your Kids to Work Day.  Instead of having me follow him around for the day, he set up meetings for me with many of the women in the office.  I asked them questions, and learned about their jobs.  They told me why they loved working, what about their careers were challenging, and how they mixed their work with their family lives.  

At Take Your Kids to Work Day, I not only saw women at work, but I saw my father’s desire for me to know that women can work.  While my mother chose to stay at home, the message to me was still clear: I could do anything I wanted, follow any career path. And whatever field inspired my interest, my Dad would find me a woman role model to prove that I could pursue it. 

I have often received career advice from my father that seems a little unrealistic.  I tend to immediately reply with phrases such as:

“No Dad, I can’t just call a CEO and ask for a job.”

“No, Dad, I can’t just tell my bosses they need to send me to China.”

“No, Dad, I just can’t.”

 Yet every time I say, “No Dad, I can’t,” my Dad will ask me, “Why not?” 

I usually reply, “Because that’s just not how it works.” But that always leaves the question of “why?” hanging in the air.  Why is that not how it works?  And what can I (or my company) do to make things work differently? Even when these questions do not immediately lead to actions, at least they get me thinking. 

It took me a while to realize that not everyone is like my Dad.  He has always expected me to be a success, and encouraged me to pursue the big challenges and excel to the highest possible ranks of whatever it is that fuels my passion.  

So this Father’s Day, I would like to thank my Dad for always trying to teach me, not just that women can, but that I can. 

What did your dad teach you about being successful in the workforce? Share your experiences here!