Career Lessons from Dad’s Pecans

Career Lessons from Dad’s Pecans

Mar 18
Jean Drasgow, Director of Career Services

In my kitchen cabinet is a jar labeled “Dad’s Pecans.”  The jar of pecans is not from a mass-produced operation rather, from my father’s hard work.  Nearing 90, my father’s days of baling hay and castrating pigs are behind him but his strong work ethic still persists.  He often says, “I can’t do what I used to but I can do this.” 

Over 20 years ago, my father planted a few pecan trees.  According to my dad, it takes 17 years for pecan trees to mature to bear fruit.  Two of the three trees are great producers so in late fall, my father picks pecans and spends the winter shelling the pecans.  His fingers, now stiff and swollen from arthritis strain to place each pecan in the nut cracker.  Then my father uses his remaining might to pound away on the cracker breaking the shell.  Once broken, Dad carefully removes the perfectly shaped nut with a pick and adds the nut to a jar to be later gifted to his children or friends.  If a nut is stubborn, it may splinter into smaller pieces.  The broken bits are placed in another jar—those are the ones he keeps for himself.

What lessons have I learned from my father?  I have learned too many lessons to include in a short post but from my dad’s pecans, I have learned,

1) It is wise to plant seeds for your future, even wiser to plant more than you need because some will not bear fruit.
2) Even if you have set backs or challenges, you can still contribute something of value to those around you.
3) Hard work isn’t easy (Hint: that is why it is called hard).
4) Always, give your best to others.