How Did Your Mother Influence Your Career?

I’m very lucky to have the Mother that I do.

Born to Italian immigrants, my Mom did what most 1st generation Italian-American kids do: she joined the family Environmental Drilling business (honestly, she probably started there around age 6- labeling soil sample jars). At the ripe age of 15, my Mom’s boyfriend joined the business as well. He was a manual laborer and she handled office work.

Today that boyfriend is her husband of 28 years and he is also my Father. But, the weird part? These two crazy love birds still work together and even share an office with two desks in one room! They worked with my grandparents for 20 years and have since started two of their own very successful companies.

Not only has my Mom led three multi-million dollar companies to continual growth, she has also led our family to continual growth. Somehow she managed to pull off long days at the office, laundry, planning vacations, making our Halloween costumes, helping us practice the piano, handling all the finances in our household AND cooking fantastic meals. She definitely didn’t do this alone- we had Katie our nanny of 10+ years and we had plenty of friends and family around too- but at the end of the day my Mom was always the leader of the pack.

Perhaps she still sounds like an ordinary working Mom to some.

After 20 years of working together in the family business, family relationships were at stake. My parents reached their “point of no return” and resigned. It was Good Friday. It was not a pre-planned resignation. This was the only business they knew and the only source of income our family had.

By Easter Monday, they had incorporated a new company, worked with a neighbor to get a logo made; they rented a drill rig, had their admin person working out of our dining room and found a small office space to rent. They were back in business.

I was so proud of my Mom for standing up for what she believed in. She put a smile on her face and did everything in her power to make sure our lives stayed as in-tact as possible.

The energy and excitement they had while starting this business was contagious. My Dad was back out in the field drilling holes like the old days and my Mom was doing the work of 4 people. If my Dad had to leave for a job at 4am, she would get up with him, make his coffee and lunch and start working. During the first two years of this business there were many days until they worked until 10 at night. A truck would break and my Dad would have to fix it and then get up at 4am again to do it all over again. My Mom stood by his side and ours through all of it and she never complained or showed fatigue.

There’s something really cool about a Mom like mine. Obviously she is a rare breed: first, her high energy is a rarity in itself. Second, she knows what she wants and she does whatever she has to do to get it. But most importantly, she always kept her family and marriage her #1 priority.

I only remember one day of my K-12 years that my Mom was home for me after school. It was that Good Friday. And it was totally weird. My Mom was not a Brownies troop leader, she did not bake cookies after school, she did not come on field trips, she did not drive us to all of our lessons and she did not go to every meeting or parent conference in High School. Some of you might be saying, “oh that’s terrible,” but I never felt that way.

My Mom gave me so much more than cookies and rides. She taught me the art of multi-tasking with grace. She taught me about positive thinking. She demonstrated what unconditional love and commitment to a marriage and family is. She showed me that sometimes you have to make really tough decisions and stick with them. My Mom made work look fun and exciting. She taught me that being financially successful is a great thing because it provides endless opportunities for your family and for all the other families who are on the payroll.

Although my Mom told us we could do anything, she didn’t even need to say it. Because to us, she was already doing it all!

Thank you Mom! I love you.

Nicole Emerick

Nicole Emerick founded Ms. Career Girl in 2008 to help other ambitious young professional women thrive in a career they love. Ironically, growing MsCareerGirl helped Nicole transition her own career from commercial banker to digital marketer. Today Nicole leads the social media team at a large advertising agency in Chicago. Nicole also served as an adjunct professor at DePaul University where she helped develop the careers of PR, Advertising and Communications students. Tweet with Nicole @_NicoleEmerick.

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