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Career Coach: Advice and Wisdom from Dear Old Dad

With Father's Day just around the corner, Pam asked a few people, “What is the best advice you ever got from your dad related to work or career?” Here are some of their answers.

Pamela Kleibrink


I saw my mom and dad recently when they came for my daughter’s graduation from high school.   Years ago when I was in college I grappled with telling my father I no longer wanted to pursue a career as a doctor but wanted to switch to filmmaking instead.  My dad wisely counseled, “It’s your life.  You need to do what makes you happy.  Don’t try to please anyone else.” I asked a few people “What is the best advice you ever got from your dad related to work or career?”  Here are some of their answers: Mark Wurts, CG Supervisor at Digital Domain, USA Do what you are passionate about and you'll never work a day in your life.  And stay away from politics.  So far so good.  I wish he had thrown in some sage advice about buying Apple stock circa 1997. Peter Hartwig, Senior artist at Ghost A/S, Denmark The main issues with making your passion your main income is that when work sucks, and all work sucks from time to time, you'd want to go home and wind down with your hobby... But when it's good, it IS awesome. Sometimes you just need to sit down, shut up, and do the work. Even if you think you know better.

Ben Jane, Art Director at Crytek, United Kingdom

Do something in your career that first makes you happy, second challenges you and sometimes gives you success, and only then look for wealth.

Zero Dean, Writer | Photographer | Entertainer | Host at and founder of 3D Pro, USA

Fear is an abuse of imagination. I'd much rather live passionately doing what I love than spending 12 hours a day doing work I couldn't care less about. It is better to try and fail, than fail to try. The lessons one learns from failing are irreplaceable and provide the knowledge necessary to eventually get it right.

Chris Smallfield, Head of 3D at Shape-Minds, Germany

While my father gave me some really good managing advice, my mother, a graphic designer, often had the most relevant advice. While setting the table I was throwing the silverware down haphazardly. She stopped me and said “If you are going to be an artist, you need to be an artist in everything.” This has been my mantra since, trying to add creativity and artistry to every mundane thing is really great training and a great mindset.

Greg Ercolano, President, CEO Seriss Corporation, USA

One has to nurture a form of OCD; a constant self-niggling. Just tossing a wallet on the table can be an artistic act; composing its placement on the table, aligning it with other items, making sure its position complies with all 200 pages of Apple's Human Interface Guidelines, and passes most tests of aesthetic integrity. After about 10 minutes, the wallet is in the 'perfect position', as well as all other objects on the table. Until, that is, a friend carelessly bumps the table, and you internally crash.

Ben Fischler, Curriculum Director at AnimationMentor, USA

Hard work pays off. It never hurts to ask. A mediocre talent who gets his or her shots finaled and is a pleasure to work with is always more valuable than a Rock Star artist who's a royal pain in the ass.

David Nix, 3D Artist at, USA

Be careful what you wish for, because you just may get it.

Jack Greasley, Mari Product Manager at The Foundry, United Kingdom

Give it a go! If it doesn't work out we will support you till you find something else.

Dave Levy, Group CG Technology Director at The Mill, United Kingdom

After first ‘top of the pops’ appearance aged 18.... yes we saw it, but we are rather worried about your studies. (bass). Still I did continue with electronic engineering at University as requested by the parents

Martin Preston, Head of R&D at Framestore, United Kingdom

It’s your round.

I am really glad my parents Sue and Paul Kleibrink were able to attend Kearney’s high school graduation. Feel free to share the advice you have received from a parent or other family member about your career. Please write me at

Pamela now dispenses advice about careers as a speaker and career coach.  She will be presenting at Jalloo in June.

Her topics are: Find the right person for the job every time--top recruiting tips from a top recruiter and The job search--know where to hunt and fish: How to target, research, and approach potential employers.

Copyright ©2012 Pamela Kleibrink Thompson -- Pamela Kleibrink Thompson is a career coach, recruiter, writer and speaker.  She has presented her Career Navigator Program at conferences and schools such as Ringling, SCAD, IADT,  and numerous Art Institute campuses.  She enjoyed presenting the commencement address at AI Tampa in 2010.  She will be speaking at Jalloo ( in June.  You can reach her for personal career coaching, recruiting, or speaking at