Career Advice: Dad’s Best, and Worst, Pearls of Wisdom

Others share the fatherly tips that have helped or hindered them.


I recently asked a number of folks to share the career advice their dads gave them. For more of these "conversations," visit my personal blog,

The best advice my dad—a self-made entrepreneur now retired from the grocery retail business—has ever given me is that when you're in doubt about a serious decision or situations seem uncertain, "buy time."

—Sue Markgraf My dad was a union ironworker turned welding instructor and would always tell me: "There are only so many hours to work in a day; you might as well make as much per hour as you possibly can."

—Lori Wilson My dad spent 43 years working—two years at his first job and 41 years at his second—that was the norm for his generation—his career advice to me was "Get a job in a bank. It's a job for life"—now look at the financial industry. That was probably his "worst" career advice. I took it—got offers from four major banks, took one of them and became a human cash dispenser after three months and hated almost every minute of it.

—Paul Copcutti The best advice my dad gave me was to "Love what you do, for you will be doing it every day." This from a widower who raised us and was a microbiologist for more than 45 years with over 47 patents for E.R. Squibb & Sons—now Bristol-Myers Squibb. He has since retired and is now in the stages of dementia—so every memory is precious at this time.

—Pamela J. Principe-Golgolab My father, Roland West, advised that if you can manage it, live to the east of where you work. It makes it so that the sun is not in your eyes when driving to and from. I've had that situation and it is nice. Right now, I walk to work.

—Carl West What was the best and worst career advice YOUR dad gave you?

G.L. Hoffman is a serial entrepreneur and venture investor/operator/incubator/mentor. Two of his companies have traveled the entire success path from the garage to IPO. Currently, he is chairman of JobDig and his blog can be found at or at


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