Taking a mother’s advice on the many issues in life we may face is not always a daughter’s first instinct. Growing up, many of us rolled our eyes while being schooled on the ways of the world and how life sometimes plays out, whether good, bad or indifferent. Despite any previous tendencies to ignore words of wisdom provided by our mothers or mother figures, I, for one, am now the first person to run to my mama for advice, specifically regarding career issues.
Growing up, my mother always took me with her to work, meetings and volunteer opportunities. I was a permanent fixture at her place of work, as it was close to my school. I was there as she started her career as a Vista Volunteer with United Way, and through all of her promotions until her “retirement” this year. I saw her give her all to a job and career, all for the sake of providing a better life for myself and my little sister. I studied and mimicked her strong presence at the work place, being certain to make sure my voice was heard at my jobs. I admired the fact that many other professionals in the city we resided in admired her. Once I told them I was Regina Walker’s daughter, the compliments about how much she has done for United Way and the city in general would flow immediately. I saw a woman who worked hard and, despite any conflict she may have been experiencing on the job, genuinely loved what she did for a living, and I longed for that.
As I went through numerous jobs over the years, my mother would always listen when I called to complain about a boss or a fellow employee. She never exerted her opinion per se, but she always let me know, in no uncertain terms, that no matter what the conflict or issue was, I had to remain steadfast for the result I ultimately desired. I never really understood how many times she bit her tongue during her career until she admitted to crying due to the actions of others. Here she was, a major player in her field, close to 60 years old, and being brought to tears because some things just were not fair and there wasn’t much she could do about it but continue doing her job, and doing it well.
My mother never gave me advice about how things won’t always work out the way I wanted them to. Her actions were my advice, not her words. She never advised me to quit. She never really advised me on much of anything. She would only ask questions about how I felt, and how I planned to move forward. She would let me figure it out on my own.
Our career paths may have been different, as she worked for the same employer for well over 35 years and I have been laid off and let go more times than I care to explain, until finally accepting my lot in life as an entrepreneur. But, despite the differences with HOW we got our coins, one thing was certain, and that was we both did our best, no matter what the job or industry was. My mother’s advice to me, in terms of career choices and handling career issues has always been, and will always be based upon her actions of doing the best that can be done, despite the actions of others, and allowing your work’s passion to guide you along the way.
Rashida Maples, Esq. is Founder and Managing Partner of J. Maples & Associates (www.jmaplesandassociates.com . She has practiced Entertainment, Real Estate and Small Business Law for 10 years, handling both transactional and litigation matters. Her clients include R&B Artists Bilal and Olivia, NFL Superstar Ray Lewis, Fashion Powerhouse Harlem’s Fashion Row and Hirschfeld Properties, LLC.