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Mother’s Day Career Lessons

The career path that my Mom pursued shows that anything is possible for people who are interested in reinventing their career path, even later in life.

With the recent economic and employment disruption created from the COVID-19 crisis, these lessons ring especially true now more than ever.

She had me at age 22, when she was a senior at Seton Hill College in Greensburg, PA. 

My parents didn’t know each other very long, but they did marry a few months before I arrived, instant family.

After a few years in Western, Pennsylvania my parents and I moved to Sandusky, OH, my Mother’s hometown.

Even though my parents were not a great match as a couple, they stayed together to raise me and my brother who arrived 3 years after me, and they somehow managed another surprise, as my sister arrived 7 years later.

My father was a teacher and my mother stayed at home raising the kids until I reached the 7th grade.  She then went to work and became a High School English Teacher in a rural farm community. 

We didn’t have much, or need much, but my Mother had to go to work after my sister was born to help pay the bills at home.

Like most mothers, my mother was at the center of providing all of the emotional support for the family, she did all of the cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, and most household chores.  She also helped with all of the homework, shuttling kids to their activities, and she very much managed all aspects of life at home. 

But she also did so much more than a traditional Mother.  For example, she was the family handy person, the one who fixed everything and anything that needed to be fixed.  Anyone who has ever owned a home knows there are always projects to do, and she was the one who primarily handled these tasks.

And she was never shy of taking on large projects.  We put an addition onto our small ranch house that only had 2 bedrooms, and she not only managed the general contracting, she did much of the actual work herself.

She once fell through the dry wall ceiling in our renovation project when she was installing insulation in the attic.

Fortunately, she landed on the top bunk bed in my bedroom, which prevented a terrible outcome.  But it shows how far she was willing to stretch herself while trying to improve the home for her family.

My parents eventually divorced at the time I graduated college, went on their separate paths, and have each since re-married and found happiness.

But the entire life path for my Mom was so much more difficult than my father’s, simply because of all the sacrifices that she made for me, my brother, and my sister along the way.

She entered the workforce as a school teacher at age 33, and started out at the bottom.

Then, at age 44 when she and my father divorced, she made some incredible life moves.

She continued working as a High School English Teacher, and raised my sister who was still in the house.  She also began pursuing a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration from Bowling Green State University.  She finished with high marks, and then at age 47 was admitted into the PhD Program at The Ohio State University.  She was published several times while working as a PhD student, and graduated with honors at age 51.

She then went onto a full-time faculty position at Michigan State University, became a tenured professor, and because of her published work and thought leadership, became widely known as an expert and leader in the education administration sector.  An incredible accomplishment, especially considering she didn’t receive her PhD until she was in her 50’s.

She recently retired and is quickly now becoming an accomplished artist, another one of her many talents.

She’s a brilliant woman, and an excellent consultant for me to this day on any situation that needs problem solving.

I love her, respect her, and appreciate all of the sacrifices she made to give me the best life that she could.

But most of all, I appreciate her constant evolution as a professional, her desire to never give up on climbing the career ladder, and the commitment she made to her career to become known as an expert thought leader in her profession. 

#SCNrecruiting #MothersDay #careermotivation

Jim Guerrera

Author Info

Jim Guerrera

Jim Guerrera, Managing Director, founded SCN in 2000. Jim is primarily responsible for the development of the leaders at SCN, strategic planning, the hiring and development of company associates, culture leadership, core value leadership, sales le...

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