Happy Father’s Day To “Workplace Dads”


Sad businesswoman seated on the edge of her chair

Is it over?

Sons and daughters everywhere are celebrating Father’s Day today, but we are not talking about natural fatherhood here. We muse upon the “dark shepherd”, the “wolf in sheep’s clothing” and what can happen when mentors, coaches and teachers abuse their superior position in the naturally lopsided power balance. Abuse by mentors, coaches and teachers is in the glaring stare of public media these days. It is about a relationship that in many ways resembles that of parent and child with all its  emotional inflections: the mentor-protege relationship. Some in fact call these people “business fathers” or “workplace dads”.

I am hoping that the men in the readership will speak up for themselves because the perspective presented here is basically that of a workplace “daughter”. Everyone could benefit from working with coaches and mentors not only during a job search but in an entire career lifetime. It is very important that women have mentors in business, but it is even more  important that mentors emotionally operate from a position of  wealth of soul, have firm self-control and have the highest good of the protege in mind. Otherwise, not only careers but  human spirits could be badly wounded by a selfish, emotionally needy and  immature mentor.

In their parental roles, moms nurture us while we are close to them at home. When we leave their arms dads are usually the first ones to lead us out into exploring the wider world.  After parents have done their part, “career dads”–mentors– take us on and teach us how to conduct ourselves in the context of business. I have never seen a study anywhere about this subject, but I know that the damage done by contact with a bad mentor can be the root cause for career setbacks that can span decades.

To all “career fathers” and “business dads” , happy Father’s Day to you, too.

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2 thoughts on “Happy Father’s Day To “Workplace Dads”

  1. What a great correlation between Dads and work place male supervisors. I couldn’t agree with you more on this subject. I have seen, first hand, the help or damage a supervisor/mentor can do. It is a great responsibility, one not to take lightly. Just my brief thoughts. 🙂

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