What Influenced Your Career Choice?

Growing up as the youngest child in a large family, it is interesting to see how different and similar my  career turned out compared to my siblings, and the influence our parents had on our decisions — knowingly or unknowingly. My mother worked at a bank for 30 years until she retired (literally received a gold watch!) and my father owned a funeral home, worked as an undertaker for some of New York’s top funeral homes, and drove a cab on the side.

I started my career as an administrative assistant after earning a two-year degree in Secretarial Science. I could have become VP at any of the jobs I held if I wanted to strive for that goal, but that was not my vision. Truth be told, I did not have a vision. I worked very hard, but always felt stuck. I knew I wanted to work at home; but, those were the days of envelope stuffing scams and telecommuting had not caught on yet. I did what I had to do and did it well. By the time the late 80’s and early 90’s rolled around, I developed a passion for word processing. On my breaks, I found myself daydreaming about starting a word processing training school, spent hours on end learning macros and advanced functions, and planned on getting Microsoft Certified.

Then I got married and had a child. That changed everything. I pursued the entrepreneurial path in order to stay at home with our son while contributing financially. What started as a small secretarial service with the long-ranged goal of starting a word processing school in my garage morphed into a resume writing service after getting a call from a secretary/word processor/resume typist (not writer) who intercepted a marketing piece meant for her boss. I was targeting him as a client for my at-home secretarial service. She had accepted a position at another company and call me to ask if I could take her place. I was very pregnant and agreed to do it for four months. The rest is history. With the blessing and support of the soon-to-be-retired resume writer, I started Best Resumes of New York before my son was born. When I interviewed my first client in person, my son napped in his bouncer at my ankles.

It wasn’t in my original plan, but it was truly Heaven Sent. God had a plan for me all along! All I had to do was work hard to make it happen. It has been 25 years since I opened the doors to Best Resumes of New York. It leverages my word processing and administrative skills, my knowledge of Corporate America, and my innate counseling skills.

Had I not gone through all of the twists and turns for 15 years working in corporate jobs, including banks and private investment firms, I would never be where I am today. I learned so much about how companies work across the organizational chart — from the mail room to the C-Suite. From day one, I easily engaged with clients from various industries and career levels because I understood their roles.

Looking back, I am a blend of my parents. I worked in an administrative roles in banking like my mom, but have an entrepreneurial spirit like my dad.

My sister couldn’t be more different than me. As a young teen she knew she wanted to work in healthcare. When she was in high school, my dad tutored her in science. At 18, she decided she wanted to be a nurse and pursued her dream. After earning her RN a few years later, she started as a floor nurse and went on to specialize in dermatology before managing a startup medical clinic in NYC. She took a 10-year hiatus from her nursing career to work for a major telecommunications company from home as an independent website support specialist to raise her children.

It has been more than 35 years and she has the same passion for nursing, if not more than she did when she first started her career. She currently works for one of the top hospitals on Long Island and is going strong. Her combined passion and experience has earned her the respect of her peers and the hearts of her patients.

Looking back, both my parents inspired my sister. My dad influenced her career choice. My mom influenced her maternal side. Both instilled in her a strong work ethic.

My oldest brother probably kept it the simplest. He started driving a cab in his 20’s and is still driving a cab in his early 70’s! Cab drivers are completely misunderstood. He takes his responsibility as a cab driver very seriously. He has to get the car to the garage at a certain time for the next 12-hour shift. He is on the road all day, late nights, and holidays in crazy weather. He has to deal with difficult people and had to compete with other cabbies. His industry has changed dramatically now that people can become drivers and get business with an app service. But, he enjoys what he does. He has a lot of freedom, gets to meet interesting people, and has acquired a wealth of knowledge through long hours of conversation that he would have have received otherwise.

Looking back, my father was definitely inspired his entrepreneurial drive (no pun intended!)

My second to oldest brother went straight into the army when he was 18 and started a job at a major gas and electric company. He stayed there for 30 years until he retired. He didn’t dream of a career. It was more important to him to have security with a pension. He does have an entrepreneurial spirit. He moonlighted as a cab driver and vending machine owner/operator. He put in a million hours at work and commuted from Long Island to lower Manhattan everyday while raising a family and dedicating his spare time to spread the Word of God. He is currently retired, working part time as a security guard at a school district, and going strong as a church deacon.

Looking back, my mom inspired my brother to stay with one job until retirement. My dad’s entrepreneurial side influenced his decision to work on the side as a cab driver.

My late brother started his own tow truck business when he was 20 years old. He owned a medallion cab, two tow trucks, and a flatbed truck by the time he was 25. He was the pride of the family and the apple of my dad’s eyes. When all the guys in the old neighborhood were hanging around, he was breaking his back working and growing his business. If he were here today, he’d probably have a franchise!

Looking back, his entrepreneurial drive and savvy business know-how was influenced by dad.

We all have many influences in our lives. It can be our parents, a neighbor, a teacher, or even a chance meeting with a stranger to spark something inside of you. It doesn’t always happen at 18. Sometimes our career choices becomes clear decades later. Sometimes what seems to be a new  idea was really in the making for many years waiting for all the right pieces to come together.

Sometimes we do not know what we want to do because we are entrepreneurial and do not know how to get a venture off the ground. We all have talents and skills, either natural or learned, that we do well. That doesn’t necessarily mean we enjoy using those skills in a certain way. Skills can be used to do other things. All you need to do is think about the possibilities. Conduct some research online or ask around. Don’t keep things in your head or blindly follow the crowd.

It is important to earn a four year degree if you are targeting a job that requires it. A good education never goes to waste.  But, if you are not going to pursue a job that requires a degree, make that decision now so you are not saddled with a big loan.

If you are entrepreneurial, take the necessary steps to make it happen. Don’t lock yourself into thinking that you must work for someone else just because everyone you know says you should. On the other hand, if you do have a dream of working in a traditional field or running someone else’s business, then by all means, earn your degree and pursue your dreams– or land a steady job like my brother did. You can always work in a career and pursue your passion through hobbies and side work they way my dad and siblings did.

No matter what, be true to yourself, keep yourself open to opportunities, and stay focused. Be sure to surround yourself with people who are wiling to support you emotionally – and work twice as hard to show them that you are serious about achieving your goal.In the end, you are going to influence those around you in the same way people in your life influenced you. Make good choices and inspire others to do the same for future generations!

About The Author:

Ann Baehr is a CPRW and President of Best Resumes of New York. Notable credentials include her former role as Second Vice President of NRWA and contribution to 25+ resume and cover letter sample books. To learn more visit http://bestresumesofnewyork.com