Fathers, Daughters, and Careers

I suppose this would be the perfect time to write a “year in review” post but, instead, I’m going to elaborate on my thoughts about Kathy Caprino’s post “7 Ways Your Father Affected Your Career.”

I read Kathy’s post back on December 23, when it was published by Forbes, Inc. I made a hasty comment at the time but knew I wanted to come back to it. The post had seven points. I’ve included each one here (in bold) along with a concise paraphrase (unbolded) and my thoughts (in italics).

1. Who You Associate With ( “girls with uninvolved dads tend to go through puberty at least five months earlier than other girls“) For my experience, this doesn’t correlate. My dad was overseas a good bit due to being in the Navy, but he wasn’t uninvolved. The fact that I went through puberty very early probably is purely biological. The people I associated with could hardly be deemed “rebellious, acting older than they were” or anything else destructive. This one didn’t seem to mirror my experience.

2. Speaking Your Opinion (“when a father encouraged his daughter to express her opinions growing up, she would generally become more confident at expressing her opinions in school and throughout her life”) I wouldn’t necessarily attribute issues I have as an adult expressing my opinion solely to my father. At 49, it doesn’t really matter (ultimately) why I have had challenges with this and hopefully a round of therapy in my early 20s helped me make peace with my childhood influences. On the other hand, I have been compulsively telling people that my “Word of the Year” for 2014 is “freedom” as in “freedom from being so #*$&#)*@# deferential to everyone.” It’s easier for me to write my opinion than to say it. I can’t blame my dad for that. I can work on improving.

3. The Career You Choose My dad was in the Navy; my mom was a housewife who spoke nostalgically of her working days. I don’t think my dad’s choices directly influenced mine. I sure did want to be Mary Tyler Moore tossing that hat in the intersection, though. When I didn’t want to be a stay at home mom. I think I am destined to discover that career choices can change and evolve even as you approach 50.

4. Your Ambition and Competitiveness (“are fathers at least partially responsible as key influencers re: women’s ambition and competitiveness”?) Hmmmm……I think about this a lot and have never given voice to it in my blog (or, really, much of anywhere!). I am ambitious and competitive BUT my concern is that as an only child who got a LOT of praise for pretty much anything, I have an overinflated sense of my “specialness.” I’m not saying this to be amusing …. I like nothing more than a good competition and earning rewards fair and square. Having entered kindergarten at 4 and always been told “aw so smart for so young” it became easy to crave being the exception rather than the “hard worker.”

5. How You Interact With Men (“Without an involved father, the challenge of interacting with men, particularly in the workplace, can be challenging at best (and debilitating at worst) for some women.”) Cue ominous portentious music here. This doesn’t have to do so much with my father’s involvement or lack thereof. Maybe more of the only child thing or maybe just because I am wired the way I am. I’ll never be “one of the boys” but that’s exactly what I craved sometimes (when I didn’t want to be the treasured princess (hey no one said this had to make sense!). I do love love love having men for friends. But that’s different than being able to shoot the sh*t around the water cooler (thereby gaining an “in” into office hierarchies). On the other hand, for the past 19 years I’ve worked in an office that is about 90% female so maybe I am in an unusual environment to start with.

6. How You Are Mentored By Men (nurturing by a dad of a daughter (vs a son) is much easier because of the lack of testosterone) This one I struggle with — but to be fair I have struggled with very authoritative women too. I also can’t name many true mentors, especially male mentors, in my professional history. Maybe this is a gap I need to fill.

7. Your Leadership Style (“How your father interacted, particularly with you, and also with your mother and other authority figures in your family life set an example for how leadership works or doesn’t.”) This one is a tougher nut to crack. Did my parents influence my leadership style? Was I always meant to be the way I am regardless? If anything, a southern childhood of “be polite” messages probably didn’t help in any way but again I am captain of my own destiny, right?

Having worked through all of the questions, in a way I think my original response to Kathy, hastily tapped out, still encapsulates the core of my response:

It is thought provoking; I don’t think I am going to be able to dash a quick comment off in the comment box on your blog! You can never change the pros and cons of your parents’ styles (in this case, father …) as I’m sure my own children will prove on their own therapists’ couches someday. If I could wave a magic wand and change one thing retrospectively, though, I think I would wish for a bit more messaging along the lines of “sometimes you have to push back, often you can do that diplomatically but there are some times that won’t be possible. Have courage in those times and don’t back down.”



What are your thoughts on the topic? Share them here or directly on Kathy’s blog.


Forecast: Memphis to Become Hot Spot of Compelling Weather Television

My Facebook acquaintance Kathy Caprino wrote a moving, poignant post today in memory of her dad. In closing, she said:

This Memorial Day weekend, I’d ask you to bring to mind someone who has shaped your life positively. Let’s remember those who brought happiness and positivity into our world. Write a blog post about it, share a Facebook post, and shine a light on their lessons.

It was just the opening I needed for my good-bye to Sean Parker, Jessica, and Carter (the dog-who-is-so-much-more-than-a-dog). Apparently begging, pleading, and not-so-subtly Facebook aggravating by repeatedly exhorting: NO! PLEASE DON’T GO! did not change their plans to move to Memphis, where Sean has a reporting/weather opportunity at ABC Affiliate WPTY-24.

By way of good-bye (for now), five comments in tribute:

  • Loving What You Do Ever since I read, a long time ago, the book “Do What You Love and The Money Will Follow,” I have been asking myself every day how to accomplish that. Mortgages and various complications (so far) keep me from dropping everything and “doing what I love” but I’m positive Sean loves weather. Good thing Jessica does too because I am pretty sure that something like this would be (maybe?) considered riveting by these two:
A Riveting 30 Hour Forecast Map

A Riveting 30 Hour Forecast Map

  • Making Complete Sentences at 5 A.M. Isn’t For Everyone Two summers ago, when I started getting up earlier and earlier to fit in my run before work, I began paying a little more attention to the early morning weather. Then somewhere along the line I started tweeting the early morning team at WTXL, especially Sean and more recently Big Moose, and even MORE recently, Abbey Maurer when she finally gave in to the twenthusiasm and began tweeting. When you’re laying in bed at 5 a.m. and decide not to hit snooze and catch another 15 minutes of sleep because you are that excited to have a little twitter exchange with the news/weather/traffic team, you’re probably onto something pretty special.
  • I Pay Attention To The Weather Now I guess I always “paid attention” to the weather and lord knows we all complain about it when it’s not what we want. Runners especially get a little compulsive about weather predictions; we don’t want to get caught 4 miles out without rain gear (or gloves …. or a hat …. or [insert perfect weather-related running item here]). But Sean has given me a new appreciation for the role of weather in our lives, and how beautiful (and cruel and capricious) it can be.  I may have taken it a little far ….. looking at every sky thinking “I wonder if I should tweet a picture of this to Sean,” writing things in the ice on my windshield like “Not Juneuary” instead of just de-icing the thing and driving to work.
Paula freezes her finger off to try to get a little air time on WTXL.

Paula freezes her finger off to try to get a little air time on WTXL.

  • The Tweeting Oh, the tweeting. I’ve referred to it already, but if you ever wonder what Sean is doing when he’s not on camera, it’s likely it involves one of four computers. Updating Storm Team details, staying up with minute-by-minute changes in the weather, updating the Storm Team’s Facebook page, and tweeting. If I never tweet again, I will die a happy twitter death having had this Twitter exchange between me, Sean, and Sam Champion.


  • Compelling Weather Television Doesn’t Get This Way Without A Lot Of Work Sean used the phrase “compelling weather television” the other day. It isn’t easy to create (in my opinion). I have appreciated the little insight I have gotten into the joys and challenges of being in the public eye. Not sure I would be as patient with people who quibble with my word choice (ahem), who have opinions on the hypothetical messages behind clothing and other personal choices. I think Sean has navigated these waters beautifully.

So there you have it. I appreciate so much about what you have brought to our community, Sean. I am glad that you, Jessica, and I had the opportunity to become friends and share some running memories together.


Michelle, Jessica, Sean, Me, Adrea, Sara at the Gate River Run 2013

I forecast a divergence in the winds of Compelling Weather Television, starting this Friday (Sean’s last day). I’m a little in the doldrums about it, but I’m very happy that the extended outlook for Sean, Jessica, and Carter is much success and happiness ahead.

thank you on sky

If you are a Tallahassee viewer and want to tell Sean goodbye, email the station at abc27news@wtxl.tv, tweet Sean himself (@seanmparker) or visit his Facebook Page. Do it this week; his last day is Friday May 31!