This past Father’s Day, the Levo team put an open call out for musings on League member’s fathers. We were so touched by some of the responses that we received that we picked our favorites to share with our wider community. Here they are:
The Television Muse’s Father
I’m 26, live in New York, and work for CBS coming up with new ideas for TV shows for the network. I also just started my own company, StoryTBD, which is an app now in the iTunes store. My dad always took me to movies as a little girl, and was wildly encouraging of my education, putting me through prep school then Penn. He was a big believer in self-reliance, and that really fueled my desire to launch my start-up. We spent lots of time watching new shows and movies together, creating in me a huge love for storytelling on screen. He’s the best man I know and nothing I’ve accomplished would have been possible without his support and encouragement.
Gushing. Clearly I love the guy.
The Overworked, Underpaid Employee’s Father
I can proudly say my father is my inspiration and my hero. As a senior in college with little idea and massive anxiety about my future, my father has been there to hold my hand every step of the way. A successful broker down on Wall Street for over 30 years, he fueled my passion to pursue a degree in Business Economics. His persevering work ethic is nothing short of admirable and I try my best to follow in his footsteps. Three instances of how my father has impacted my future career stick with me.
Lesson Number 1 from my father: It may matter right now, and it may matter tomorrow, but one day this won’t matter. What you choose to do today will not wholly define you as a person. You are forever learning, growing, and developing. Follow through in activities that are time beneficial. Be effective and efficient. Drop the things that are bringing you down.
I was recruited as a college athlete to a NCAA Division II team. While I loved my team and the experiences we shared, towards the end of my sophomore year, I struggled with my decision to play. I hid this deep-seated guilt from everyone I knew for 6 months.
I saw my parents for the first time in those 6 months and upon arrival, I broke down and told them how I was feeling. I felt like a failure for wanting to give up. I felt like I was a disappointment. They held me as I continued my breakdown.
In that moment, I felt like this was a life-changing decision– whether to stay or leave the team. I knew that what I felt, and the decisions I made from that point forward, would forever determine the person I was and chose to be. With the continued support of my parents, and a few well-placed emails and phone calls from my father, I decided to leave the team. While, I miss it every day, I realized that my time spent in other activities is much more beneficial.
Lesson Number 2 from my father: Right is right and wrong is wrong. Life isn’t fair and you won’t always get the right. But walk out with your head high and be the better person. It shows much more character and you will be respected for that.
I took a position last summer that seemed like a catch. I was an rising junior who worked for a small insurance brokerage firm. I oversaw and directed the marketing department for them and their sister corporations. I was making good money and put more work than I’ve probably put in for any job ever. When hired, my starting salary was agreed upon. About a month in, I was spoken to and guaranteed a bonus as I took a small cut in hours. I was ecstatic. The more my day went on, the worse it became. I was taken advantage of – from 5:30 am phone calls when my office hours weren’t until 8am to being left at the office with extra work until 9:00pm. I came home enough nights crying, but I stayed for that bonus. I knew that bonus could help me pay my rent, books and maybe leave a bit for fun. That money was important.
I put in my two weeks’ notice, and on my last day was ignored in my request to get my final paycheck. I was told I would have to come back. Two weeks passed and every time I showed up, no pay. Finally, I put on my big girl pants and demanded what was mine. When I finally received my paycheck, though, I discovered that the pretty bonus I’d been promised was absent. No extra. Nothing.
When I came home, full of anger, I recited the story to my father. Without saying a word, he told me to get in the car and we headed off. Next thing I know, Im at my office and my dad’s walking through the front door and straight to my boss’ office. As we step inside, my father tells me to explain the situation. With a nervous tone, I spilled my side of the story. My boss explained that I didn’t close any insurance deals (which would have been illegal, as I am not a licensed broker) and that I therefore would not receive a bonus. My father came back as an advocate for my side, stating the situation as he saw it.
With no resolution, I asked my father to leave and we did. As I got in the car, I felt as tiny as a person can feel, but I had both strength and love from my father. Later that night, he sat me down. He always sees the philosophical lesson in every experience or mistake. This lesson, however, was the impetus for my father to take it upon himself to write an email to my boss. It read:
She was a hard working dedicated employee who gave you nothing but best efforts all summer. I would suggest to you she is an upwardly mobile young woman about to graduate college with many friends in a similar situation. Instead of building a strong relationship and future potential client with many referral opportunities, you left her disappointed and scorned. I find it hard to believe a bonus you held over her is worth the bad will you will receive, especially in a business that is built on referrals. She is a bright attentive young lady who is well received and is highly regarded within the community, as is her whole family. She is the kind of young person I would want to develop a strong relationship with and nurture. I write this letter to you not because the bonus is important but because I have tried to instill a strong work ethic in my children. I know she was an asset to you all summer. The single biggest complaint coming from the small business owner today is the inability to find GOOD help.
Lesson Number 3 from my Father: Every experience is an investment in your future. Analyze those that are large and risky in their investment. They may just be great in their rewards.
With a large interest in the field of economic research, I was recently asked to contribute to a study focusing on the European Debt Crisis. It was a 1 year commitment on top of pursuing my degree and my individual 3 year research.
I struggled with the decision to commit to the opportunity, even though it was once-in-a-lifetime. I worried about my academic work and the stress that this would ultimately grow if I were to take on this project. I was at a crossroads, because in my heart, I knew this opportunity could be a launchpad to where my life leads and the person I become through an experience like this.
So I called my father. We debated and I told him to take some time to think about the situation at hand and to phone me in a few days. Just two hours later I had received a text message that read “This is how I see it. The pursuit of knowledge and understanding is never a waste of time. Depending on your economic or social situation it may not be the most practical use of your time, but it is never a waste. If you can pull this off and have good faith in your partners, I’d peruse it”. An hour later, with the support of my parents, boyfriend, and friends, I jumped on board.
I feel blessed to have this kind of man in my life.
The Outdoorswoman’s Father
Like many dads, mine has always supported me in whichever endeavors I’ve chosen to pursue.
I’ve been at a crossroads in my life about what career field I want to pursue. When I suggested public health, his response was: “I’ve always believed and said that you have a special and unique potential and destiny that will contribute greatly to the world… it is only for you to find and follow your beautiful heart and mind, and choose your own path. But I will say that I like what you said at DIA [the Denver International Airport] about wanting to do something more meaningful.” He then continued to email me encouraging journal articles and newspaper findings about public health issues, where the field is heading, what opportunities there are, etc.
Perhaps one of the greatest lessons he’s taught me is the maxim “one boulder at a time.” My family spent a lot of time hiking, backpacking, and exploring the outdoors when I was growing up. The lessons I’ve learned outdoors have proved to be the foundation of my life and my values.
One particular lesson stands out, though: I was five years old and four feet tall when we came to a boulder field 200 yards wide in Rocky Mountain National Park. My dad’s advice to me still rings in my ear today: “one boulder at a time.” To this day, in all aspects of my life, I use this motto when faced with a seemingly insurmountable task.
The boulder field taught me a few very important lessons that day: large tasks can be conquered when broken down into smaller steps, it’s okay to take a step back if you keep the end goal in sight, and no matter how daunting the task may seem, there is always a way.
–Laura Grieser, SheJumps PDX Regional Director
The Job-Seeker’s Father
I am a recent graduate of George Mason, and although I know that graduation is a huge accomplishment, mine has been shadowed a little bit by job rejections. I know I’m not the only one in this boat; however, it is a hard thing to face. Nevertheless it only shed light on my relationships that have gotten me this far. Some would say that they are really close with their mom and dad, yet, my stepdad has been my guiding force and I’m extremely close with him. He has always pushed me to strive to do the best with his laid back, diplomatic leadership ways. Whenever I have faced a problem he has given me the best optimistic advice that tells me not to stop.
Although my job prospects of becoming a copywriter or a social media guru are uncertain (and a little dark), my stepdad’s unyielding advice has never left me. The biggest lesson that he has taught me has been to always get back on the horse and to keep going. Thought all of the rejection, I haven’t stopped applying and moving to pursue my dreams in writing and social media. I have my stepdad to thank for instilling such optimistic drive in me knowing that I will find my dream role soon.
[Sabel, check out Style//Stalk’s newest job!]