Wisdom from my father

Photo by Christian Holzinger on Unsplash

The anniversary of my father’s death and his birthday have passed again for another year. He was a good father, a good man, and he was my best friend, trusted advisor, and confidant until he passed away in January 2000. There were many times I wished he was still around these past few years but he left me with some good lessons I still hold true to this day.

Here is some of the wisdom my father passed onto me:

Always follow your gut

He would always advise me to follow my gut instincts when I needed to find my way and I must say this advice has always served me well. Every time I’ve ever gone against my gut in personal and professional matters there has always been trouble. When my mind was foggy from thyroid issues there were problems. Now that I’ve regained my health, my instincts are back and I look forward to moving ahead personally and professionally.

You play, you pay

We all mess up in life and when you play, you pay my father would always say. This one made a lot of sense when I was a kid but I am not sure I agree with it in today’s day and age where bad behavior is rewarded; big business scandals; financial scandals; and ethics seems to be forgotten in some circles of society without any real repercussions.

Sometimes people are so smart they are stupid

My father worked as a respiratory therapist in Baltimore hospitals for years before his health went bad giving him the opportunity to work with many educated people who had common sense deficiencies. He taught me just because people are highly educated it doesn’t mean they have common sense or street smarts. I’ve seen this time and time again throughout my IT career. It is also rings true in the halls of our government right now.

Always try to do the right thing

He was a man of principles who always tried to do the right thing for his family and friends. There have been times this can feel like falling on one’s sword.

You had a job when you got there. You will have a job when you leave

This wisdom was true a few years ago but hasn’t stood up in the gray underbelly of today’s economic and employment apocalypse. I still look to this lesson for strength around the end of contracts. It just takes me longer to secure my next gig these days. After my layoff last September, I walked right into freelancing again. It felt good. I stayed true to this bit of my father’s wisdom.

You always land on your feet

Growing up with dyslexia made school very hard on me. Calling it challenging is being too polite. I am fortunate to have had great parents growing up and owe them both for standing behind me during the tough times. My Father would always say, “You always land on your feet, boy!” during those times. I took this mantra into adulthood with me and keep saying it long after he passed away like during the dot com bust, being laid off from jobs, and making it through to the other side after years of suffering through a misdiagnosed Thyroid.

January still isn’t a very happy month for me but I am busy with writing projects which is always a good thing.

What wisdom did your father pass onto you?


My name is Will Kelly. I’m a technical writer and content strategist living and working in the Washington, DC area. My current focus is thought leadership and technical marketing content. I got my start writing user guides, administrator documentation, online help, and later moved into SDLC documentation. My articles about enterprise mobility, BYOD, and other technology topics have been published by IBM Mobile Business Insights, Samsung Business Insights, TechBeacon, CNET TechRepublic, and others. Follow me on Twitter: @willkelly.

Will Kelly

My name is Will Kelly. I’m a technical writer and content creator based in Northern Virginia. These days I write a lot about cloud computing and DevOps. My articles have been published by TechTarget, Samsung Business Insights, TechBeacon, CNET TechRepublic, and others. By day, I work in the corporate growth group of a large systems integrator. At night, I do circuit training, then go home and write more. Follow me on Twitter: @willkelly.

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