Work, succeed, be happy

Sarah Harris

My dad was at a conference a couple weeks ago for his company, and he was a member of the panel that was speaking and answering questions. He works at an accounting firm and the audience was full of new hires who were were asking the panel all sorts of questions.

Let me give you some background information; my Dad was the only child of five to go to college and, like many Quinnipiac students, had to pay for his entire tuition. He and my mom paid off his college debts throughout the beginning of their marriage. The first house they lived in was actually someone’s carriage house, essentially a tiny garage. He initially worked as a chef for some time and somehow from there, with a lot of work and dedication, became a partner at PriceWatersHouseCoopers.

[media-credit name=”Kristen Riello” align=”alignleft” width=”178″]Opinion Headline[/media-credit]Throughout my life my parents have raised my siblings and I to work for everything we have. This could be frustrating for us because we went to a public school where our classmates were handed everything they wanted from their parents. But for us, it was different.

Every Saturday we went outside and had to rake all the leaves that covered the lawn, every winter we had to shovel the driveways, and every summer we had to get the yard ready for summer by weeding, planting plants, and pouring mulch everywhere. They made us get summer jobs because they weren’t going to pay for our clothes and we had to save our money because they wouldn’t buy us cars.

I learned the importance of the penny at a very young age and the importance of work ethic, yet I still consider my siblings and I spoiled because we have such amazing parents and so many things to be grateful for. I am happy they raised us the way they did.

Whenever I apply for an internship my Dad sits down with me, has a mock interview with me and goes over my resume. He is always offering advice when it comes to working and jobs because I want to support my family some day, the same way he has done for me.

We were at dinner the other night and he was telling me about this conference. Someone in the audience asked how the partners got where they were today and my Dad answered with these three points that can apply to anyone who wants to be successful and happy while they do it.

Never stop learning.
Always stay curious, because once you stop learning, the job becomes boring. If you’re always learning, you’re being relevant to what you do, and if you don’t learn, you become static and unable to grow. Take electives that are challenging rather than easy with simple ideas that are clear to understand. The more you challenge yourself, the more you will learn. These people will be more successful because they are taking risks. They will find more opportunites. And you must be able to ask the right questions. The right questions are just as important as the right answers.

Push yourself outside of your comfort zone.
Try new things, and step up to challenges. Stepping out of your comfort zone and being a risk taker presents the opportunity to fail, but it also presents the opportunity for greatness. Failure is a given when taking risks, but you need to accept it and learn from it. You will end up inspiring others around you. We all have teachers in our lives that we learn from and by stepping out of your comfort zone and taking risks, you will be a teacher for others.

Don’t lose your passion.
It seems so simple but it can be difficult to hold on to things that make you want to keep showing up to work everyday. Become an expert in something and then use it to help others. Is it working with people? Is it finding solutions to problems? Is it helping other individuals grow? Find what your passion is, hold onto it and apply it.

We go to a great school with a lot of opportunities available to us; don’t waste them.