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What Dad Taught Me About Work

Monster Celebrates Fathers with Members' Stories

What Dad Taught Me About Work

Even before you were old enough to sit in an office or swing a hammer, your father -- or father figure -- was helping you become the worker you are today. In honor of Father's Day, we asked Monster members: What did your father teach you about the working world?

In response, we received examples of dad's influence and bits of fatherly wisdom. Here's what you shared:

What Dad Showed Us

Work Can Be Fun: My dad died when I was 15, long before I was interested in what he could teach me about the working world. He was a blue-collar worker who served as a technician for a giant corporation. Each year, we went to the company-sponsored family open house, where I photocopied my hands and face for the first time and learned to juggle. The lesson: The workplace doesn't have to be all scary. It can be fun, too.

I knew my dad would've gotten a raise if he'd taken that promotion they tried to give him -- more than once. But he never accepted the offer. His family was more important to him, and if he took the promotion, he'd risk missing T-ball games and band concerts. His values drove his priorities. Now it's almost 20 years later, and the lessons my dad taught me grow more useful by the day.

Kindness Counts: Day in, day out, my dad rose from a comfortable bed and left for work at his sporting goods business. During a particular season, e.g., striped bass, he would lower the prices of the merchandise anglers would need. He knew he would make up for the loss with the increased volume of sales. In his repair business, he felt quality much better served his customers over speed. He had numerous, patient return clientele and made many lifelong friends.

I carried his attitude into my working life. I am much more interested in doing a job right than doing it fast. I listen and try to respond in a kind, understanding fashion as well as keep a good attitude. On the downside, I am impatient with unfairness and greed. I often root for and fight for the underdog, which gets me in trouble at times. I don't really care much, though. I'm trying to do what's right and fair, not that which profits me the most in the short run.

Wiser Than He Admits: About a year before I earned my master's degree, I was talking about it with my 80-year-old dad, and he told me how wonderful he thought it was that all his kids had graduated from college. I told him he and our late mother had taught us some pretty wonderful things. He said, "Oh, no. It was your mother who helped you with school and wanted that for you so bad. I don't think I had anything to do with that." I said, "Dad, don't you know? YOU were the one who taught us the value of hard work. YOU were the one who got up every day whether you felt like it or not. YOU were the one who taught us the value of finding something we loved so we'd WANT to work for it!"

I'd never seen my dad look so stunned. He was literally speechless, and his mouth just hung open while he stared at me. When I saw a tear in his eye, I just went over and hugged him, saying, "Anyway, thanks. We all appreciated everything you and Mom did for us."

On the Job with Dad: He taught us all what it meant to work hard, starting most days at 4 a.m. and not getting home until 4 p.m., then going to bed at 8 p.m., very seldom watching "Ponderosa" but never missing "The Wonderful World of Disney" with the family. Some holidays, he would be on call, which meant if someone needed oil or gas delivered, he would jump in the truck and go, sometimes not returning until early the next morning. Yet he did this without complaint. Many times, we would ride with him to keep him company. Actually, it was his time to teach us lessons of life.

Master Your Trade: My dad was always willing to explain to people what he did and how he did it. From children to adults, my dad liked to talk about how things worked in his field. His willingness to teach others showed me that if you're truly knowledgeable in your position, you can explain it to anyone using human terminology. If you have to throw in jargon, you're not there yet.

What Dad Told Us

  • Education is very important. Be the best friend of your school and books, and you will never regret it.
  • Live where you want to live, and then find or create your work there.
  • Your name and your word are synonymous.
  • If they're talking to you about others, guaranteed they are talking about you to others.
  • Lies of omission are just as deceptive as lies of admission.
  • You never have to work a day in your life, because if you love something, it's not work. Find something you love.
  • Remember, when you keep quiet and listen, you know twice as much as the other person: You know what you know AND what they are saying.
  • Never just try to be as good at your job (whatever it is) as the person next to you. Always try to be better.
  • Learn how to do more than one thing so if you lose your job in one area, you always have the skills to go to another easily.
  • Praise in public, chastise in private.

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