Today’s would’ve been my Mother’s 83rd birthday.
She didn’t know it, but she made me an entrepreneur. If she had an inkling of this fact, she kept it to herself. I, of course, never told her how it came to be, but I distinctly recall when it happened. I was 12.
As usual, she was rushing around the house getting ready for work. It was a snowy wintery morning in the Midwest, which meant getting to work would take more time than usual. To cap off the bad weather was the fact my Mother didn’t like where she worked or what she did to earn money. She felt under appreciated, undervalued and was a typical disgruntled worker for a large corporation. Her job was boring and filled with brain numbing monotony. But it was a “good paying job” and she had responsibilities.
I watched the way kids watch their parents. It was clear she would have preferred to have had one of her limbs removed then to go to work that morning.
Watching Mom struggle to get ready for a job she hated, I made a very conscious career decision. I didn’t realize how that decision would impact my life. I only knew I was not going to be like my Mom. I wouldn’t dread every work day. I wouldn’t be forced to work in a place that generated so much dissatisfaction. I didn’t realize my options at that moment. Instinctively, I knew there was another ‘way’. Working for a faceless corporation was not to be considered.
My Mother didn’t know another way. She was a divorcee at a time when divorces were not celebrated. She felt the weight of having two children in tow. She continued to work at the same place for 35 years. I’m certain all of those years were not filled with angst, but many a day was.
After decades of learning my craft, I started my own small company and fulfilled my 12 year old pledge made that winter morning long ago. I was an entrepreneur. My career dream was simple. I wanted to do a good job for my clients, generate a good income, and be happy in my work. I was and am today.
There have been and are peaks and valleys, peppered with some tough times. But, all in all, I love what I do. Every week I learn something new. I am excited by the prospects of doing new things. Life is good and my mornings are not filled with the frustration I so often saw etched on my Mother’s face.
We never discussed my motivations to be an entrepreneur or how different my path was than hers.
I should’ve thanked her, but she probably knew.
Happy Birthday, Mom. And, thanks!
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