Take This Job … and Blame It on Mom and Dad? How Parents Can Impact Your Work Ethic

Penny Wrenn

ThinkstockPhotos-78714373 (1)As a kid, Charly Rok, 50, was always wowed whenever she visited the skyscraper where her dad worked as a partner in a law firm.

And much like him, she’s since climbed the corporate ladder to land an enviable position as the VP of public relations for a bridal brand based near Philadelphia.

But despite her high-caliber day job, she always finds time to do PR on a pro bono basis for charitable causes.

“My mom was a social worker,” explains Rok. “So both of my parents’ work ethics and life choices have helped shape the choices I make in my own career.”

There’s a growing chorus of research that backs up Rok’s sentiment: Your individual work ethic is yet another thing you can chalk up to your parents.

report out of Harvard found that daughters of working moms, for instance, tend to go on to become high achievers—and earners.

But perhaps the most extensive research on the topic has been conducted by the tag team of Wayne Baker, a professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, and Kathryn Dekas, a people analytics manager at Google who was once Baker’s Ph.D. student.

Their key finding? Your parents are the single most significant factor in determining your work orientation. And the closer your bond, the more likely you are to follow their lead—whether or not you work in the same industry.

Read on for more insights from Baker and Dekas on just how Mom and Dad made you the career man or woman you’ve become.

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