How I (sort of) ended up in my dad’s shoes

Growing up, I never thought about having a job. A kid’s responsibility is to have fun, and it’s up to the adults to do the hard work. When I think back to my dad’s job, I can’t remember ever thinking about it as “hard work” or a profession.  It’s not because I never thought about my dad’s job—I did. It’s that, as a kid, my dad’s job looked like a ton of fun.

The earliest jobs I remember my dad holding were in the packaged goods industry. I don’t remember ever visiting his office or meeting any of his work friends. I couldn’t tell you what he did at Pepsi or Frito Lay. Even today, I’m not sure I could say how he got into or progressed through that industry. But, it didn’t matter. I remember the abundant freebies, like Chester Cheetah stuffed animals and pedal-powered toy cars. I remember inflatable Miller Lite easy chairs. I remember the Nascar races and birthday parties at Cowboys’ stadium (no, not Jerry World).

It wasn’t until I was in high school and my dad chose to leave his position as CEO of a major beer distributor that I started thinking about what having a career meant. How could someone in his early-50s knowingly choose to leave a high-powered position and just start over? How do we make money and pay for things? What’s dad supposed to do everyday? Should I start working more?

Like father, like son?
Like father, like son?

I began to learn about how truly entrepreneurial my dad was once he left the packaged good space. Apparently, CEO isn’t as high as you can go in the world. My dad truly wanted to own something. For a while, my parents owned and operated three franchise hair salons, and sometime later, my dad ended up in his current business helping families as they make decisions about assisted living and long-term care.

My path has been slightly different and has included head of marketing at a university book publisher, research and innovation strategist at a national newspaper company, and now product manager at a technology startup. In hindsight, it’s actually pretty easy to see how much I’ve followed in dad’s footsteps. In today’s rapidly changing world of work, it’s impractical to choose the exact path as your parents; in fact, doing so could close you off to many careers  you might enjoy more or could be a better match for your skills.

Plus, as a husband to a wife with misophonia, being flexible to the needs of my wife is clearly my top priority. After attending the annual misophonia conference last month, I saw how so many miso sufferers share in Kelly’s experiences—that  that misophonia and the traditional working environment rarely play nicely together. For me, while I want to enjoy what I do professionally, I need to balance that enjoyment with the greater good of having a healthy and thriving family. Today, I feel blessed to be in the career I am, knowing that I have a lot ahead of me.

I hope this story was inspiring in one way or another. I was inspired to write it after following the #NaBloPoMo November 2015 blog post prompts list published on BlogHer. I’d encourage you to read it too, and respond to a topic that inspires you, too.

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