When I was a 20-something single mom, struggling to make ends meet, I landed a job as the administrative assistant in the headquarters of a construction company. Sometimes when I feel down in the dumps about finances or something I feel that my life is missing, I think back to those days and I am immediately reminded of just how far I have come. As a single mom who rarely received any form of child support from my ex, money was more than tight - it was non-existent. Between car payments and insurance, diapers, food and gas, I was often left standing in line at the bank, making my car payment 9 days late - because that was the last possible day to pay before I incurred a late fee. When money was especially tight and food was scarce, I took my toddler to my parent's house for dinner.
Times were really tough for a while.
While I was young and pretty inexperienced, I was also ambitious and hard working, and my immediate superior took notice! He was recently married to a single mom himself, and recognized my hardship as a single mom because he had seen his wife go through the same thing while they were dating.
I didn't realize it at the time, but he immediately began to groom me for a higher position within the company because he knew that the Director of Human Resources was going to be leaving the company - and he planned on promoting me to her position. I remember him asking me to come into his office and showing me how they did payroll, how to complete new hire paperwork - things that I thought were so intimidating! I recall telling him that I thought that kind of work was above my skill set and he reassured me that I could do anything that I wanted to do - and that I needed to work on becoming an integral part of the company to secure a higher salary.
It was the first time that anyone had ever shown confidence in me - in my personal or professional life - and to be honest, it sent me reeling! He gave me the confidence to take on tasks that I would never have thought I could handle, gave me pep talks when our boss (the owner of the company) gave me a hard time about my lack of experience and spent countless afternoons teaching me everything he knew about the world of finance and human resources. He would tell me stories about former coworkers who were being underpaid and pressed their bosses for raises - and got them! He was the first male coworker who spoke about women being underpaid in the workplace (this was 15 years ago, so it has changed a lot since then!) and how we should fight for what we are worth.
While my job in that company didn't last very long - I was laid off and the company closed down about a year after I became employed there - I learned enough under the guidance of my coworker, mentor and friend, Andres, to find an even better job and go on to climb the corporate ladder and do very well for myself in the corporate world. After leaving the corporate world and starting my own business as a blogger, I still carry some of those old lessons with me: know your worth, nothing is too difficult, and don't give up on the things you want to accomplish.
I recently reconnected with Andres on Facebook after having lost touch for about a decade. When I first stumbled across his profile, I sent him a message telling him how much I appreciated everything he had done for me "back in the day" and that I would have never been able to accomplish the things I had without his guidance. He responded with his usual "jajaja - I just told you what you were too blind to see!"
The world would be a much better place - and everyone would be much happier at work - if every coworker were as empowering as Andres!
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Disclosure: Compensation was provided by State Farm via Mode Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of State Farm.
What a good person he is! Sometimes there are just angels out there 🙂
Yes, I know the feeling! Well look at you now, proud of you!
Robin (Masshole Mommy)
It sounds like she was a joy to work with. YOu're right-why can't everyone be like that?
What a wonderful opportunity for you! It is true though that you can do anything that you set your mind to!
maria @ close to home
So glad you found the support you needed. I think too many times people take advantage of woman going through times like that.
That's definitely true!! I was really young and naive and at first I thought he was hitting on me...because that is what most men do to 22 year old single moms! LOL! But his intentions were 100% honorable!
I think it is wonderful that you were able to connect with him again after he had such a major impact on your life.
Yes! I was so excited to see his name pop up in "people you may know" on Facebook! That kind of thing is why I love Facebook so much. Even though we live in the same city, I haven't seen him in AGES and may have never crossed his path again!
I totally remember being in line at the bank on the 9th day. It is so great that you found a person like Andres early in your career.
I think that a lot of people have been in that same situation. It was so embarrassing, but it was unavoidable, I had to stretch my paychecks are far as I could!
What an amazing story. That really touched my heart. This is the kind of person that God sends to be an angel on earth. I've had people teach me how to do things when I asked to learn more, but this Andres - he truly blessed you in a way that lasted a lifetime. I hope that I can do that for someone, or many someones.
Mama to 5 BLessings
What a sweet post, glad you reconnected. Relationships like this are a real gem.
I agree it is so nice that you were able to reconnect. Facebook has brought so many people together 🙂
Jessica The B Keeps Us Honest
Sometime there are people that come into our lives for just the right reason at just the right time.
It is such a nice feeling when people show confidence in others and help them I have an angel in my life right how who is helping me..feels great!
YAY! I am so happy to hear it! A little bit of help can make such a huge difference in someone's life!
Lois Alter Mark
What a great story. We all need people like Andres in our lives.
Sometimes we find support and comfort in unexpected places. It is great to be able to go back and than those angels who helped us through.
You have definitely come a long way. I know what it is like to be a single mom in that position and have someone come along who really helps and inspires you.
It's a great thing to have support at your job. Kudos to you for being able to accept it.
So glad you had such a great experience with a co-worker. People don't realize how important that is to have.
This is such a great story. I also admire your coworker for taking notice and actually helping you. So many places don't look for potential, just what they already can do.
This is absolutely true! That experience with him really changed the way I looked at my coworkers when I went to other jobs - even now as a blogger! I try to pay it forward whenever I can by encouraging people, sharing things I've learned and giving advice.
Sounds like a wonderful coworker. Every now and again everyone needs someone to look out for them. It is really cool that you found him on Facebook.
That's an awesome story! Sometimes people don't realize the impact they have on our lives.
There are still good people in the world! Glad your coworker ending up being the "good neighbor" you needed
It makes work so much easier when you work for supportive and encouraging people. And wow, you haven't aged at all!
That is a great story. It's wonderful to have a coworker like that to help boost confidence and to encourage you.
Thank you for sharing your experiences, you made it through with such strength. Happiness in the workplace is not easy sometimes.
That is so great that he knew you were struggling and helped any way he could. It is nice to reconnect with people.
One of the blessings we have in life are meeting certain people that have an impact on you forever. I'm so glad you were able to reconnect with him. One of the many benefits of Facebook 🙂
Susanna @Zealous Mom
What a beautiful story! Thank you so much for sharing. I really enjoyed it.
What an awesome story! Andres does sound like an amazing friend! I am glad you have someone in your life to encourage you to reach for higher goals 🙂
Your story is so sweet. So happy for what and where you are today.
Tiany - Social Savvy Mom
Love how we can reconnect with important people we have lost touch with through Facebook! It's true, we have all needed and had help from someone at some point, circle of life! 🙂
I wish more people had a heart like that. I love that he gave you the skills and got you in that position. Incredible!
Jessica (Savory Experiments)
Yes it would!!! I had a horrific day at work and then a coworker sent me a silly personalized e-card that put everything into perspective. Keep up the good work!
Wow! What a journey! Though I wasn't a single mom, I knew what it was like to have to "make ends meet." You definitely work harder and become more ambitious if there's motivation and a need to be. It's so great that you found your friend! Facebook has done miraculous things for people!
The world needs more Andres
What a great story! I've been there! Maybe just without an Andres! Those lessons are so true and now that I work for myself it feels so nice to accomplish things and know that I did it!
I know all too well the life of a single mom and it is people like Andres that helped out along the way! Love your story!
It's great how supportive he was! I love that you were able to reconnect with him on Facebook.
If only more people were like her! I know the feeling and do too look back and am truly grateful!
That is such a sweet story. I think it is so important to find a mentor and know your worth. Great words of wisdom.
Janel (A Mom's Take)
Great story. Certain people come in our lives for a reason. It's nice you were able to reconnect.
Chrystal @ YUM eating
It's always great when others notice things in which we cannot. Now, if only we listened to some of those people.
April @ Everyday Fitness and Nutrition
Such a great story! I had people early in my career that really helped me to learn and guide me. That really made a huge difference in my career.
thank you for sharing. i wish everyone had a friend/mentor/co-worker like that. you have done great.
How wonderful that you got the chance to tell him what a good influence he had on you and your career. And props to you for taking advantage of it, and actually doing it. I'm sure it made his day. 🙂
It is nice to have someone believe in you. So glad you did.
He sounds like a great guy! It's so special to have someone who believes in you like that.
It's a blessing to have mentors in our lives; especially at the workplace. We need more of them everywhere.
Looks like you had a little guardian angel on your shoulder. I love when people help one another out. You never know how one little thing can change your life.
What a great co-worker!! I truly miss many of mine. I had someone like this at my old job and he just recently passed. It broke me up so bad 🙁