June 15, 2012
Thanks, Dad: Readers share fathers' work wisdom
In honor of Father’s Day, NWjobs asked readers to share what their fathers taught them about work. Here are excerpts.
"One important lesson I learned from my dad was when to be quiet. At our little family business, sales were everything. I remember my dad walking behind a very talkative salesman who was with a couple, clearing his throat and covertly dropping a folded piece of paper onto the salesman’s lap. It said, ‘shut up.’ My dad knew that people needed quiet time to make up their minds when it came to a major purchase.
He was a very good teacher and employer to all his employees and he ran a tight ship. He paid fair wages, knew when to increase somebody’s pay, how to keep people loyal and how to market. He put his heart and soul into that little store and it did very well and supported many families. All on less than high school education and when English wasn’t even his first language. He has passed away but I learned so much from him that I use today with my own business. He has always been my inspiration."
"My Dad taught me about putting family before work. He is an actual rocket scientist, and when I was young he left a lucrative career that involved a three-hour commute in order to get a dead-end job close to home so he could be near my sisters and me during our school years.
I am the youngest, and when I was in my senior year of school he went back to his old job. Many of his former co-workers were making twice as much money as he was, and a few years later they were retiring with nice pension plans. My Dad is now 81 and still needs to work to pay his bills, but he taught me that it is more important to be involved with your family than to have the best, highest paying job. He sacrificed his career for his family, rather than sacrificing his family for his career, and I will always be grateful."
"My dad taught me that anticipation is key to being successful, not only in the workplace, but in life. From a young age, he would tell my twin sister and me, 'Anticipate. Anticipate how you can help around the house without being asked, where you need to be on the court or field when playing sports, and what your teachers expect from you." Simple in concept, harder in execution, like most lessons in life.
And really, his mantra didn't change through college, into my first job and beyond. As a twentysomething in the workforce today, my work accolades have come not from being the smartest, the most innovative, or the biggest risk taker, but from anticipating what has to be done, and then doing it.
Now, I'm sure that my dad isn't anticipating that he'll be recognized in The Seattle Times on Father's Day, but he should have -- because he anticipated that this single lesson would help his children to succeed in a world where those who don't anticipate fall behind fast. And for that, I'll always be grateful."
"My father left the farm at the age of 16 to serve as a Pharmacist's Mate with the Marines during WWII; he returned to get a college degree and a pharmacist's license. He owned a pharmacy for years, and despite having to close the doors, he never stopped fighting to ensure that all the final bills were paid. His lesson continues today as he continues to fight his final battle, his back slightly stooped, but his head held high."
“I’ve learned work ethics, service and integrity from my dad, a native Hawaiian and Vietnam vet who is filled with ‘aloha’ spirit. He didn’t attend college and worked hard in life, sometimes holding several jobs. Eventually, he started a landscaping business in Federal Way. He has never had to advertise; all of his business is through word of mouth. He’s taught me to work hard.”
“During my childhood, my father patronized local, independent businesses, and I continue to do this as an adult. Only later did I recognize that my dad worked 70-hour work weeks and frequented the local barber, butcher ... and gas station (which he later purchased). In the ’80s, he retired from Boeing only to relish the seven-day work week of self-employment. People still stop me and ask, ‘How’s Pops?’ ”
“Dad spent 24+ years in government service. When I started my government job, I watched the people working in the office I would be training in and decided I couldn’t be like them. To honor my dad’s memory, I decided to be like him — warm, helpful, funny at times. It’s worked well for the 15 or so years I have in now, and should continue working until I reach retirement! Thanks, Dad!”
Berninghausen, is pictured at left)
"When I was 7, my father became superintendent of a 3,000-bed long-term-care hospital near Chicago. His compensation included a house on the grounds, which meant I could drop by and visit him in his office. He often would take me with him as he walked the halls and the wards, talking to patients, staff, visitors. Imagine my surprise 20 years later to discover a 'new approach' to management called 'management by walking around.'"
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