Career Wisdom from Our Elders: Part 1

WisdomI do not think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.” — Abraham Lincoln

The advantage of years is experience and there’s a lot to be said for the wisdom of others who have lived through the trials and tribulations of life. These are the people who become precious sources of knowledge, so that we may avoid the same mistakes.

Here are three pieces of wisdom shared through stories from the online community:

Mysti Reutlinger, Inspirational Writer,

It is easy to become discouraged when working for other companies. Sometimes we do not take pride in the position that we have, even though it is vital to the company. When moments like these happen, the greatest piece of advice I have ever received from a good friend, Tyson, is, “Work like it is your own business.”

Business owners take great pride in their name and brand. They put forth many long hours for little to no pay. That time makes a difference in the company they call their own.

So the next time you feel like the job you landed isn’t perfect-for-you, remember that without you giving 110 percent to those tasks assigned to you, that business would not exist.

Chris Jones, President, Results Creative

As a young and impressionable college student, I eagerly soaked up whatever my instructors were inclined to teach outside of the framework of class lecture or text. In my second year, I took an Adobe Illustrator class with Dana Ingham. He was a quirky fellow who spoke softly, wore round, black-rimmed glasses and kept his hair in a ponytail. He employed an unorthodox teaching style that I’ll never forget — he only told us which pages the assignments were on and where to find the folders with the materials needed for the exercises. He would do a quick run-through and then we were on our own to ask him questions or to discover it for ourselves.

I recall a conversation he and I shared after a class one day. We were discussing a project where the assignment was to render a rubber duck that was true to form — it had to have the appearance of plastic with highlights and shadows appropriately placed. He stopped mid-sentence in the conversation, looked at me and said, “The classroom is great, but anything you want to learn can be found in books.”
I’ve never deviated from that.

Elise Boysaw, Painter, KESA Collections

Ironically, my parents are business owners of two companies, so you would think that I have a ton of great quotes from them. The one thing that has always impressed me the most was when my parents explained how you don’t want everyone’s business — strange, I know. But it made a lot of sense when my dad explained that you would rather have better customers or clients than more customers or clients. It has to do with the theories of value versus volume or quality versus quantity.

Another lesson I’ve learned recently has to do with rejection. I met with an art consultant a couple of months ago and what I learned from her has really stayed with me. Especially in my line of work, in art, there will be rejection. She told me to get over it and to not take it personally. Most importantly, she said to me: “Don’t let rejection stop you from doing what you are meant to be doing.” I love that and have already reminded myself of her wisdom many times.

What pieces of wisdom have you gained from the elders in your life?

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  1. Posted July 30, 2011 at 4:11 am | Permalink

    Wow! This was so powerful, Samantha! I really love all these bits of advice.

    My favorite is is giving 110% to your job as if it were your own. Many individuals see their jobs as a means to a paycheck and miss out on all the awesome opportunities to really apply themselves and learn and grow through the process. My most recent blog entry It’s your career, love what you do! is all about engaging yourself in the job you have now, and making the most of it.

    My second favorite piece of wisdom is learning from books (and life!) I’ve always had a difficult time learning in the classroom and I seem to process information differently than most of my classmates. It’s definitely been true for me that knowledge comes in different forms and all you have to do is seek it.

    Thanks for this great article!

    • Posted August 11, 2011 at 3:30 am | Permalink

      Chrysta, you are so right! If we’re just working for a paycheck, we’re essentially wasting over 70% of our lives considering how much time we spend in our jobs!

      And great point that another great resource for learning is life itself. =) I love the tidbits of wisdom you added here, friend! =)

  2. Posted July 30, 2011 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    My mom is quite the lady of wisdom actually ;) She keeps telling us that evil will always be there to make us realize the value of good. That was one very valuable lesson I learnt. And though we can try our best to “fight” evil, we can try even more to be good!

    Lovely article!

    • Posted August 11, 2011 at 3:36 am | Permalink

      Ooh! I love that tidbit of wisdom, Hajra! It really helps me reframe the “bad” in life — it just helps us appreciate the “good” *that* much more! =)

  3. Posted July 30, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    My mother taught me the value of education. She went back to college when my sisters and I were quite young to get her teaching degree. I remember seeing her sitting at the kitchen table each evening working on her assignments.
    My sisters and I all earned college degrees and are thankful for the good example she set for us.

    • Posted August 11, 2011 at 3:37 am | Permalink

      Wow! I’m sure your mother was such an inspiration to you, Janette! And hearing her story is inspiring to me! It makes me value my mother’s efforts to be the first in her family to get a college degree.

  4. Posted July 30, 2011 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Samantha for sharing a wonderful article about wisdom. Your guests all have some very good bits of wisdom and inspiration. I remember my dad working his own business that he loved so much. But he still had time for his family. So I guess I gained the wisdom of balancing your work with family and friends.

    • Posted August 11, 2011 at 3:37 am | Permalink

      I loved imagining your dad as a family man, Lynn. =) Often, pieces of wisdom come from seeing loved ones set an example for us! And your father set a powerful example for both you and me! =)

  5. Posted July 30, 2011 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

    Came across this super article by way of Lynn Brown’s ‘tweet’, which I thank you sincerely for posting Lynn!
    Thank you so much for this, I’ve certainly learned some sage wisdom here from all your elders.
    I specifically related to Elise Boysaw’s comments, as I am a visual artist myself and know the sting of rejection, too often taken personally. Perhaps it’s the sensitivity of the artistic spirit that sets us up for that?
    Nonetheless, I want to thank you again for posting this informative and rather comforting article.

    • Posted August 11, 2011 at 3:39 am | Permalink

      Barbara, thank you so much for taking the time to comment! It’s so great to meet you. =)

      Rejection is something I also personally relate to as an aspiring writer! It seems so difficult to be successful in the world of art and you’re right that it may have to do with our “sensitive” artistic side. =) It’s why it’s so heartening to connect with other artists, so we can keep each other afloat and remind ourselves to not take rejection too seriously! =)

  6. Posted July 30, 2011 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

    I read this and had to really stop and think for a while. I too have been writing about wisdom. I have been truly blessed by the lessons both good and bad taught to me by my grandparents, my parents, my aunts and uncles and my bosses. And I am blessed to have a highly analytical husband who reads patterns and trends in the ether. Samantha – I am hanging out for the next 2 parts. The lessons of your current 3 are excellent and I await more though provoking materials.

    • Posted August 11, 2011 at 3:41 am | Permalink

      Sounds like you are surrounded by wisdom, Roberta. Now that I think about it, we all are. Sometimes, we receive wisdom in words and sometimes it’s by the good or bad examples others set for us. =) I also loved learning about your “highly analytical husband” — how valuable to have someone to help you think critically!

      Thanks so much for your support with this series, Roberta!

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