Helping men who feel something missing in their lives

The Disquiet in Men

Helping men who feel something missing in their lives

Our dad is affecting our careers…still

Ever come home from work feeling totally lousy about how the day ended up going?

It started great. You had several fires flare up that you handled skillfully. Your boss beamed and you felt on top of the world.

Then, as the day started winding down, a last minute short-fused tasking came down from on high and your high-flying staffer bungled it. Splat. A colleague blames you for not being there to handle it. One minute you were king of the world, the next you are a complete failure.

How you process this – the self recrimination, second-guessing , or shrugging it off, will depend on how your dad handled such things.

Yup. Your dad.

There is a new book hitting the stands. It’s called The Father Factor: How Your Father’s Legacy Impacts Your Career by Dr Steven Poulter. I wrote a brief article about it on

From this recognition you will also learn to move past the career roadblocks that frequently stem from the lingering effects of your father’s influence.

Defining five main styles of fathering, Dr. Poulter devotes a chapter each to: • The Superachiever Father • The Time Bomb Father • The Passive Father • The Absent Father (whether physically or emotionally) • The Compassionate / Mentor Father.

By becoming aware of how your father related to you, particularly in a destructive relationship, you’ll understand how your career relationships in many ways mirror your degree of comfort with your father’s emotional legacy. In this way, career roadblocks-often based on interactions with people on the job-will be more easily transformed into career building blocks that will lead to advancement and success.”

Before reading the book (I haven’t finished yet), I worried this was another blame-all-our-problems-on-our-parents. I am tired of doing that and it doesn’t seem skillful or helpful.

But this book is not like that. It seems much more helpful. It does identify career-killing behaviors you may have inherited and are blind to. And it also helps identify the shaping that occurred in you, particularly in how you make decisions and execute. When someone is puzzled over unexplained powerlessness, this may be a helpful way to inquire into the problem.

We all grew up looking to our dads for subtle and not-so-subtle clues on how to deal with power, assert ourselves and step out into the world. It makes sense that we would be influenced by their particular leadership and management styles.

I know I owe my use of humor and ability to put people at ease to watching my Dad.

How about you?

How did your father influence who you are and how you are at work?

Please feel free to answer using the “comments” form below.

And to order the book, click the image below:
The Father Factor: How Your Father\'s Legacy Impacts Your Career

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4 Responses to “Our dad is affecting our careers…still”

  1. Archie Says:

    Thanks for creating this.

    Men, especially, have a hard time
    dealing with any subject that suggests something is “wrong” with them.

    I hope we feel safe enough on this site to talk about the things we face as men that are the “undiscussables” That it is OK not to have life completely under control.

  2. Dave Schoof Says:

    Thanks Archie. That is certainly my goal.

    I think as more folks post here, start conversations, ask questions and leave comments, it will take shape as a place that is safe to take on issues that matter.

    pls come back often and share your thoughts and concens!


  3. Dawud Says:

    I definitely took on some things from my dad. He worked a lot. And as I grew up, I found myself working a lot too. Not so much in the “work-a-holic” sense. But more from “that’s just what you do.” Yet, over time, I’ve reworked my beliefs so to create more balance and ease in my life.

    My dad also knew how to play hard too. When it was time for leisure, he soaked it up like a dry sponge. I’m much like that as well.

    For me, when it’s time to work – work hard. And when it’s time to play – play hard.

  4. Dave Schoof Says:

    Thanks Dawud! I like how you found a way to balance what was needed and to use what was valuable.

    I have found too many times, I threw the baby out with the bathwater in my rejecting what I didn’t like seeing that which came from my dad.

    The way you describe is more useful.

    It’s also more honoring of what he gave you as a legacy around work. Very cool.

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