Career Lessons From My Mom

In honor of Mother’s Day this coming Sunday, I decided to write about how my mom overcame financial adversity.

I’ll begin this story shortly after my mom and dad divorced. We definitely weren’t a wealthy family before, but suddenly my mom was taking care of my older sister and me financially, primarily on her own. That’s not to take anything away from my dad, but a carpenter in a small town is a tough career to consistently make good money with.

The tough times started with my mom resorting to welfare for 2 months while she struggled to find a job. She knew this wasn’t going to cut it though. She vowed that to take care of her kids she would never put herself in that position again.

Eventually she found a job at an electronics and music store, but unfortunately it was barely above minimum wage. Knowing it was better than welfare, she negotiated a slightly better wage with a promise of a review in a few months.

She worked hard at that job, taking full advantage of the opportunity she was presented with. In time her pay increased and she moved up within the company. She obviously impressed the company owner with her work ethics and intelligence.

A few years later they presented her with an offer to manage a video rental store in a neighboring town. In addition to managing the store, she would be able to buy into becoming a partial owner of the store. Of course she took the job and we made the move.

Thanks to some savvy management, hard work and a focus on customer service, she turned that store into a very successful business. It would become the busiest video rental store in town. She also developed multiple sources of income for the store to turn it into a thriving business.

As recognition for her success the local chamber of commerce honored her with an award for being business person of the year. This spoke volumes about how well she ran the business and the kind of work she put into it all.

I have to admit that I was extremely proud of what she had managed to accomplish. I couldn’t have asked for a better role model. She showed that you really can work your way up from the bottom to become a success. Her business smarts and dedication to hard work proved to be extremely invaluable.

Despite being a business success and owning 50% of the store, she wasn’t content with just coasting from there. Instead she bought out the rest of the store to become full owner. Plus she later became manager and owner of the video rental store back in our original hometown.

After running both stores for a while, she realized the effect the internet was starting to have on the video rental business. So rather than face that uphill battle, she was wise enough to sell both stores and make a nice profit. Seeing all the video rental stores going out of business lately, it was definitely a great decision.

Since then, her career has included some years in advertising and human resources. There was even several years of working overseas. It was her work with the video rental store that set her financially though.

Now she has taken early retirement and is spending her time helping build her retirement house. She and her husband have also been lucky enough to travel all over the world. They’re truly living the good life.

Thank you Mom for being such an awesome source of inspiration. What you achieved really was amazing and I’ll always be proud of you. I appreciate the continued support too.

Have any of you been inspired by your mom’s career or life in general? What kind of career or financial lessons did she instill in you?

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