Career Advice from Watching My Dad

Happy Father?s Day!

I was incredibly lucky to grow up with my Dad as a role model. I’ve learned more from him than any other person and I wouldn’t be half as successful as I am without his help and guidance.

Today I’m going to share with you some of the most important lessons I’ve learned from my Dad over the years.?Plus, stick around to the end for a bonus tip from “Papa”

Organization Is the Key to Success

I think mild OCD runs in our family, but I’m glad it does.?Possibly the most important career lesson I learned from watching my Dad was how to be organized and plan ahead.

Before I even knew what spreadsheets were my Dad had 50 of them to track everything from how much playing time every kid on the team got to who was winning his friends’ home run pool.

Being organized is the first step toward being dependable. That’ll take you far in any field. Add on the ability to anticipate and plan ahead and there’s no stopping you.

I think I’m going to suggest a small revision to the old Boy Scout motto, ‘Be Organized, so you can Be Prepared

Family Comes First (Even If You’re Tired)

My Dad has always put family above all else.?Looking back, I honestly don’t know where he found enough hours in the day.

He traveled a lot for work which meant he would spend 6 hours in the car only to get home at night and take me to baseball or basketball practice.?But he didn’t drop me off and go take a nap…He was the head coach for my teams — and teams for my brother and sister.

In addition to practice he would spend hours hopelessly trying to teach me to be a pitcher (I’ve since learned my only pitch was a ‘change-up’…good thing accounting worked out better than baseball). I never once heard him complain about it taking up too much time.

Remember that your career is important, but nowhere near as important as family. You can always get that promotion next year, but you only get one family.

You Don’t Have to Take Every Promotion You’re Offered

I know of at least a couple times when my dad passed on taking a promotion because it would mean we?d have to move across the country.?I couldn’t understand it at the time — I actually remember telling him that I’d be fine with moving since I’d get better Christmas presents if he got a raise.

Looking back I’m glad we didn’t move. Some of my best friends are people I went to high school with. If we’d moved I definitely wouldn’t be as close with them today.

Did turning down these positions slow his immediate career growth??Probably.

But your career is long and you need to approach it strategically. I’d rather take a slower upward path and be happy than get a few quick promotions and be miserable.

Parting Advice From “Papa”

Father’s Day wouldn’t be complete without a shout out to another important Father in my life.

My grandpa is 82 years old and just recently got his first iPad. I’m told he’s quite the pro at using it now, so hopefully this is formatted to read on a tablet screen…

One time Papa took me and my brother fishing and up near lock & dam 14 on the Mississippi River. We didn?t travel far from home, but we were the only ones on the river bank that day so it felt like a special trip. Plus, I loved fishing when I was a kid.

We spent the afternoon in the sun and during that time we had a few granola bars (a signature Papa snack) and there were wrappers and a few other pieces of trash at the end of the day.

My brother and I picked up our trash and we were ready to go.

Papa had other plans. He walked around the shoreline and picked up trash that was laying there when we arrived. I didn’t see any reason we should clean up after the jerks who littered, but Papa explained something that has stuck with me ever since.

He said, “Always leave a place better than how you found it.”

I don’t always live up to that expectation, but I sure do try.