Allison Cheston, Career Connector


Career Connector Blog

My Mom, My Career


Today is of course Mother’s Day, and I’d like to suggest you all think about the impact your mother has had on your career—both positive and negative. Maybe your mother worked when you were growing up and maybe she didn’t, but if you think about it, it is likely that her choices affected the ones you’ve made in your career, to some degree.

I attended a Times Talk on Friday: Kim Severson, food editor who has just written a new book called Spoon Fed: How Eight Cooks Saved My Life. She was joined by Rachael Ray, Julie Powell (author of Julie and Julia), and Nora Ephron, who wrote and directed the movie Julie and Julia. Some of the talk was about mothers and their influences on these successful women’s careers. Nora Ephron commented that the fact that her mother worked at a time when very few did was a huge influence on her life and career path. She said that she and all three of her siblings all work, and they are all, interestingly, writers.

Rachael Ray said that her mother was really good at keeping her children humble, never allowing them to forget their roots or bask in the glow of stardom in an unhealthy way.

In my own life, my mother didn’t work until the time I was about 14, and when she did go back to work it was with a vengeance. It was very clear to us that she needed to work for the psychic benefit of it, and she was always extremely committed to it, even though she never earned a great deal. In fact, today she still works for the same organization and is down to one day a week!

My mom managed to craft a great part-time schedule for herself, enabling her to get up early but be home by 4:00 to prepare a beautiful dinner every night. It made her job pretty seamless in terms of the impact it had on us as a family, and of course the burden was all on her to add it to her already long list of responsibilities. But it provided her a huge sense of accomplishment and my sister and I both took that to heart. Work is very important to both of us, and I believe we both credit her.

I’d be interested in hearing from you about the impact your mother has made on your career. It’s a nice way to reflect on her both on this day, and every other.