According to dictionary.com, “a role model is a person whose behavior, example, or success is or can be emulated by others, especially by younger people.” (Role Model) Role models play an important part of career success strategies. For as long as I can remember I like to take the time to emulate the good things about others. I have always had the perspective of why try to do something on my own why not look at what other people have done and take from their experiences. I have always looked at things in the form of characteristics because there are things about people I don’t like.
According to dictionary.com, “a career is an occupation or profession, especially on requiring special training, followed as one’s lifework” (Career) Success according to dictionary.com, “is the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors; the accomplishment of one’s goals.” (Success) In my lifework goals, I think of four major items, Family Life, Education, Career, and Money. To me these items while they are not directly career oriented they drive the way that I think about what a successful career looks like. I enjoy a career in the hopes of entertaining a stable family life. Since money is the primary tool derived from work I think of my career as my opportunity to create stability. I look at my education as a precursor for a successful career. I know the explanation sounds simple but in order for me to attain my version of career success all of the factors must be taken into account.
When it comes to success I think of Carter G. Woodson. Woodson’s lifework revolved around the history and Education of African Americans. Woodson was born in 1875 to sharecropper and former slaves during the Reconstruction era in New Canton Virginia.
As the first son of nine children he would work as a sharecropper and a coal miner to help his family. Woodson learned to read using the Bible and his father’s newspapers in the evenings. (Vox) The thing I admire most about Woodson was his persistence and dedication to accomplish his goals.
While working in the coal mines Woodson would read to Oliver Jones and the illiterate coal miners in exchange for food and knowledge from Oliver Jones. The miners would share stories of the Civil War, Reconstruction, and politics as well as, “trials and battles … for freedom and equality.” (Mertens) I could only imagine how this inspired Woodson to pursue a formal education.
After three years as a miner at the age of 20 Woodson enrolled in Huntington’s black high school, and graduated in two years. (Mertens) Woodson would then go on to complete degrees at Berea College, though running out of money after his first year in school Carter Woodson would teach, and work for the US government as an education superintendent in the Philippines. (Carter Godwin Woodson) He went on to University of Chicago, to complete a bachelor and masters degree and a Harvard Ph.D. (Carter Godwin Woodson) Carter Woodson had gone from being a sharecropper, miner, scholar, teacher, principal, editor, dean of college, and author.
One of Woodson’s professors at Harvard, Edward Channing asserted that, “the Negro had no history.” (Vox) “Despite his scholastic success, Woodson scorned the education then available to most blacks, believing it taught only submission and self-loathing. (Mertens) Woodson would form the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. He then published his first issue of the Journal of Negro History. Woodson would continue to correct mis-education by lecturing, publishing textbooks, and writing for newspapers and magazines. He sent curriculum kits to help schools observe Negro History Week. He hoped that studying the achievements of their predecessors would inspire young African Americans with a sense of possibility. Throughout his career Woodson would build a network of philanthropists, black professors, teachers, school children, church groups, women’s clubs, fraternities, and black-history clubs in every major city. (Mertens)
What makes Woodson a role model to me is the fact that he first had the self determination to achieve his educational goals despite a lack of structure; running out of money and coming from a difficult background he persisted and eventually graduated. He was the second African American to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard. A study from the BLS estimated that in 2001 about 1% of the workforce held a Doctorate degree. (BLS Occupational Outlook Quarterly 2002/2003) Whether it’s getting an education, or working a job, determination and focus are key traits that I believe deliver success. Carter G. Woodson did not stop with his own educational attainments he went on to push education on a national level, and more importantly to me Woodson created a legacy that survives today about the possibility of achievement.
Carter Godwin Woodson. (2014). The Biography.com website. Retrieved 02:44, Jul 27,
Career (2014). Dictionary.com Unabridged. Retrieved July 27, 2014, from
Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/career
Jones, E. (2003, January 1). Beyond supply and demand: Assessing the Ph.D. job
market. . Retrieved July 27, 2014, from http://www.bls.gov/opub/ooq/2002/winter/art03.pdf
Mertens, R. (2008). Legacy. The University of Chicago Magazine. Retrieved July
27, 2014, from http://magazine.uchicago.edu/0856/features/legacy.shtml
Role Model. (2014). Dictionary.com Unabridged. Retrieved July 27, 2014, from
Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/role model
Success. (2014). Dictionary.com Unabridged. Retrieved July 27, 2014, from
Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/success
Vox, L. (2014). Carter G. Woodson Biography. About.com African-American
History. Retrieved July 27, 2014, from http://afroamhistory.about.com/od/biographies/a/A-Biography-Of-Carter-G-Woodson.htm