Happy Working Parents Day: 10 Influencers On Lessons From Their Working Parents

September 16th, 2016 by Mary Silva

As someone who grew up with working parents, I learned a lot through my parents’ experiences.

My dad was the “troubleshooter” at the automated and environmental control systems company he worked for. So, his ability to solve problems at work and around the house was something I learned. He always approached things with a can-do attitude and would just sit down and get what needed to be done, done. I’m definitely a problem solver at work, and I love to empower my team members to solve problems they encounter, too.

My mom was a VP of a publishing company. While I can’t think of anything that sticks out that I learned from her growing up, other than a general hardworking attitude, she’s been an invaluable resource to me for general work best practices and how to do well in interviews in the past. I’ve also gotten a lot of management tips from her as I’ve grown in my career.

So, in honor of Working Parents Day on September 16th, I sat down with 10 of my fellow influencers across our company to find out more about their experiences having working parents growing up. Here’s what they had to say.

Gabrielle Benedetto - Search Influence

Gabrielle Benedetto, Partner Relationship Manager

Parent(s) And Their Jobs:
Susan Benedetto – High school English teacher and Teach For America mentor turned Librarian who is now back in the classroom teaching high school English!
Tim Benedetto – Self-employed contractor

A Memorable Experience Visiting Your Parent(s) On The Job:
Visiting my dad on the job usually meant I was sick.

Since my dad was self-employed, it was easier for him to leave work and pick us up from school when we weren’t feeling well. But, instead of going home, we would go on the job with him. He would make a little bed for us by flipping over two 5 gallon mineral spirits buckets, laying a piece of plywood on top, and covering us with a paint splattered drop cloth for a blanket.

Depending on how bad you felt, you would be asked to pick up a piece of sandpaper or a caulk tube. The smell of fresh paint still reminds me of a sick day. I would complain, but in that moment, I was being taught work ethic.

What Having A Working Parent Taught You:
After being on her feet and teaching hormonal teenagers for 8 hours, Mom would come home and cook a full course meal for us. Dinner was on the table every single night at 7. We would sit and eat as a family every night and homework was never an excuse to skip. After dinner, we would clear the table and Mom would sit right back down and start grading papers and preparing for the next day’s lesson plan.

While she did bring work home, like many working parents, I think one of her favorite parts of the day was cooking and serving dinner for her family. For just a few hours she was Mom and not “Mrs. Benedetto.” Seeing her work all day long, and then come home to transform into a different role, was pure dedication. She taught me how to balance work and family, which may be one of the hardest tasks any working parent faces, but she made it look easy—even though I know it wasn’t.

Memorable Advice From Your Parent(s):
“Work as if you are being filmed and speak as if you are being recorded” Meaning—don’t do or say anything you wouldn’t want anyone to see or hear. It sounds a little mafiosa… but it stuck with me!

Michelle Boyd - Search Influence

Michelle Boyd, Internet Marketing Team Lead

Parent(s) And Their Jobs:
Cyndi – Store Manager for Kroger
Carl – Worked for the state as the Director of Budget

A Memorable Experience Visiting Your Parent(s) On The Job:
I remember one time when the power went out from a snowstorm during the holidays. We all went as a family to check on the freezers and coolers at the store. At the time, I thought it was crazy that my mom had to worry about that kind of stuff when she wasn’t even working. Even at an early age, through her actions, my mom taught me that your individual success is directly dependent upon the success of the company you work for.

What Having A Working Parent Taught You:
Many people tell you not to bring your work home with you. What my parents taught me was the exact opposite. It is important to have a good work/life balance, and oftentimes, these two things will intermingle. What’s more important is to strive to do your best every day, learn from your mistakes, and celebrate your successes.

Memorable Advice From Your Parent(s):
My parents told me to hire people whose creativity and ingenuity exceed my own. They said I should want to work with people who will challenge me to be better and who will help the company to succeed, and therefore, help me succeed.

Stephanie Burnison - Search Influence

Stephanie Burnison, Account Associate

Parent(s) And Their Jobs:
Debbie Alexanian – Clinical Neuropsychologist
Gary Burnison – CEO Korn/Ferry International

A Memorable Experience Visiting Your Parent(s) On The Job:
I used to visit my dad’s office a lot out in LA—it was so cool to see how everyone interacted with him, and also to see him in that light versus how I saw him every day: the swim-trunk-wearing, chill Southern California dude I knew him to be.

What Having A Working Parent Taught You:
It taught me to be independent, confident, determined, a hard worker, a fast learner, and to not accept failure.

Memorable Advice From Your Parent(s):
Attitude is Altitude.

Courtney Cummins - Search Influence

Courtney Cummins, Senior Quality Assurance Analyst

Parent(s) And Their Jobs:
Jack – Distribution Manager for a grocery store and later for Revlon
Catherine Cummins – Security Guard for a distribution store

A Memorable Experience Visiting Your Parent(s) On The Job:
I remember being about eight years old and going into work with my dad on a Saturday morning. I was so excited that I even picked out what I was going to wear the night before (It was a basketball jumpsuit. It wasn’t great.). He worked at a distribution warehouse and I remember him giving me some product transportation logs to highlight. It was probably just busy work, but at the time, it felt like the greatest responsibility in the world.

What Having A Working Parent Taught You:
One of the biggest lessons I learned growing up with working parents was the importance of having a strong work ethic. It isn’t enough just to have a job and show up for it. They stressed the importance of giving your best to everything you do in life, and how determination and perseverance can go a long way.

Memorable Advice From Your Parent(s):
I can’t remember an exact piece of advice my parents gave to me when I started working; there was just an understanding of “you have a job that you are physically and mentally able to perform, so make sure you do so to the best of your ability.”

Ryan Eugene - Search Influence

Ryan Eugene, Senior Account Associate

Parent(s) And Their Jobs:
Jennifer – Specialty Sales Manager at a natural gas company
Ronald – A contractor for Verizon

A Memorable Experience Visiting Your Parent(s) On The Job:
I visited my mother at work a few times, and it was great to see her with a high position in the company and see her co-workers’ respect for her.

What Having A Working Parent Taught You:
Work ethic and the importance of being prompt.

Memorable Advice From Your Parent(s):
Be prompt and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Kayla Fletcher - Search Influence

Kayla Fletcher, Junior Internet Marketing Assistant

Parent(s) And Their Jobs:
My dad owned a computer company, and my mom worked with my dad and she was a paralegal for some time. (I don’t remember her being a paralegal because I was too young because she ended up working with my dad full-time). Fun fact: my dad used to be a DJ, then technology started to take off and he became interested in that as well.

A Memorable Experience Visiting Your Parent(s) On The Job:
I went to their office building sometimes. I used to sit at another desk while my dad worked. I don’t remember much because that was long ago, and when I got to middle school, I didn’t go to the office much.

What Having A Working Parent Taught You:
My parents stressed the value of saving and investing, whether it was investing in stocks or renting out property. Even though my parents talked about saving a lot, they also think it’s best to spend money on things you really want. Whether it’s luxury items or a new home that’s more convenient for everyone. However, they don’t think it’s best to splurge a lot. They also stressed about doing something that you love. People always find it surprising when I tell them that my parents fully support me with writing. My parents never told me anything negative about it, or told me to pick another major/career because “you can’t make money being a writer.”

Memorable Advice From Your Parent(s):
My parents told me (and my older sister) that even though you got the job you wanted, you still have to work hard. You should set goals for yourself, always be on top of things, and never talk negatively about anyone who you are working with to another person.

Angie Hernandez - Search Influence

Angie Hernandez, Junior Bilingual Internet Marketing Associate

Parent(s) And Their Jobs:
Martha Hernandez – Personal Banker
Islaal Hernandez – Body Shop Mechanic

A Memorable Experience Visiting Your Parent(s) On The Job:
I remember one time being sick on a field trip and my mom needed to pick me up. There was no one to take care of me so she brought me to work. I laid down on my mat under her teller stand. I just remember seeing how dedicated and precise she was in handling money. Every now and then I’d gently kick her to remind her I was down there, and she’d break her concentration to give me a smile and an “I know you are still down there” face.

What Having A Working Parent Taught You:
I have nothing but the utmost admiration for my mom. It’s incredible to see, even to this day, how she works hard and still comes home to be a mother and wife. She is a boss. And I’ve seen my father do what it takes to work, even if that means being treated unfairly as an immigrant. My dad’s job is physically demanding, but he never gives up. He’s the “work hard, play hard” type, which I think is cool. He looks like a GQ model on the weekends; you’d never think he is a grease monkey during the week.

Memorable Advice From Your Parent(s):
My mom has always told me to never give up, even if everything seems hard at first. Because of her, I’ve never given up on any challenge that was placed before me.

Serena Hirasawa - Search Influence

Serena Hirasawa, Senior Account Associate

Parent(s) And Their Jobs:
Mom – Special Education Teaching Assistant
Dad – Chef

A Memorable Experience Visiting Your Parent(s) On The Job:
My dad worked as a sous chef at a country club until I was about 10 years old. I remember going with him and my younger sister to visit the property on many occasions, and he would show us around to all of his coworkers. We were really adorable back then, so we would always get little gifts from people. My favorite person was the groundskeeper, who would find pretty and/or shiny rocks for us and we would get so excited to see what he would bring. I also loved being able to visit where my dad worked and see the food that he got to make every day for the guests.

What Having A Working Parent Taught You:
It taught me about discipline, but also about balance. When my dad was a chef at the country club, he would work lots of long hours and weekends, due to the food industry. But he always managed to be available for my childhood memories—things like my softball games and school picnics. He worked really hard to provide for us, which sometimes meant making sacrifices, but he always made time for us when we needed him and he was home every night to say goodnight.

It also taught me about being challenged. My mom worked in special education, which can be very taxing on people. Every day is something different because you are working with children who have learning disabilities and other difficulties. Her job was a challenge every day, but not in a bad way, because she was constantly learning something new about herself or her students. Sometimes, you just can’t plan how your day is going to go and you have to step up to the challenge.

Andrew Jones - Search Influence

Andrew Jones, Junior Editorial Internet Marketing Associate

Parent(s) And Their Jobs:
My mom (Ann) worked for Delta Airlines until I was about 4 years old, then retired to take care of my two brothers and me.
My dad (Greg) is an attorney and retired from his firm a couple of years ago. He is now a Dean of Business at Troy University in Alabama.

A Memorable Experience Visiting Your Parent(s) On The Job:
Since my mom worked for Delta, it meant my family got to travel a lot for free. Believe it or not, one of my earliest memories is sitting in a chair in First Class, apparently on the way to Oahu. My feet didn’t even reach the end of the chair. I’m sure that was a great flight for everyone else who got to share First Class with a clearly spoiled baby.

What Having A Working Parent Taught You:
Both of my parents were very successful in their careers, and enjoyed their work, but they never let their careers define them. As a kid, when my dad would get home at the end of the day, we talked about sports, history, politics—anything but work. In my opinion, they found a healthy balance between work and life.

Memorable Advice From Your Parent(s):
Working hard and always treating people like people are two bits of guidance that I have certainly tried to carry over into my professional life. It sounds corny, but my parents were pretty big on the Golden Rule. My dad, for example, lobbied the City of Mobile pretty hard when they tried to move a local homeless shelter out of the downtown area because it discouraged tourism and was “unsightly.” He wasn’t very popular with some of the society folks in Mobile, but he wore that as a badge of honor.

Paulina Rodriguez - Search Influence

Paulina Rodriguez, Web Developer

Parent(s) And Their Jobs:
Jesus Rodriguez and Juana Rodriguez

What Having A Working Parent Taught You:
Both my parents moved to California from a small town in Mexico. My father attempted many times to work in farms in California and kept getting deported. But he wanted a better life for his 6 children so he kept trying. Eventually, he got a job cleaning and cooking for a hospital in California. When he was able to save up some money, he brought my mom and my brothers and sisters to America. Alone in a new country where they didn’t know the language, both my parents enrolled my brothers and sisters in school, and my mom found a job cleaning houses. Eventually, the rest of us were born and both my mom and dad worked. The drive and bravery of my parents to go into the unknown and raise a family has always pushed me to better myself. Their honesty and hard work drive my work ethic. Their relentlessness pushes me to take on any challenge. I know that things do not come easily, but with hard work and dedication I can work towards any goal. Their sacrifice has shown me that anything is possible.

Memorable Advice From Your Parent(s):
My parents would always say to work hard. Be presentable and respectful. Always be early and prepared. Save your money.

It certainly goes without saying that parents have a great influence on their children and sharing the experience of worklife and responsibility only make the impact greater. What has your family taught you about the working world?