Work Wisdom from Age Old Mom-isms


Remember those words of wisdom your mother always said? “You’ll catch more flies with honey than vinegar.” I’ve never seen flies in the vinegar jar, so this must be true!

In honor of Mother’s Day, I’ve compiled some of the quotes I’ve heard over the years from Moms—not only are they great advice in general, many of them apply very well to the workplace and your job search! Infinite thanks to all you Moms out there.

Mom-ism #1: Think before You Speak.

­Right? Of course this is especially true when you speak to the media or on any social media. Have you seen some of the Facebook posts and tweets that have gotten people fired? Here are some awkward examples.

Mom-ism #2: Do Your Best.

Obvious? Maybe, but a great reminder. Do your best work—this will almost certainly earn respect, acknowledgment, and opportunity to advance. At the very least, doing good work will help you create quantifiable accomplishments that you can use on your résumé or when you ask for a promotion. Plus it just feels good to know you’re producing good work.

Mom-ism #3: Actions Speak Louder than Words.

This is prime résumé wisdom: Illustrate through your actions and results what you can do, rather than making claims that you can’t back up.

Mom-ism #4: Bloom Where You’re Planted.

Even if you’re looking for a different job, do good work and excel at your current position. You’ll be a better candidate for the next opportunity if you bloom where you are now! Plus the positive references you’ll earn will come in handy.

Mom-ism #5: Don’t be Afraid to get Your Hands Dirty.

You’re at work to work, right? That’s what they’re paying you for. Jump in, start something, don’t be shy! This will help get you fired up!

Mom-ism #6: Sit Up Straight.

Great interview advice! Good posture illustrates that you are professional and focused. Studies show it might even help you be more alert. You’ll convey clear thinking, confidence and leadership, which will benefit your image no matter the position to which you’re applying.

Mom-ism #7: If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say, Don’t Say Anything at All.

Never is this truer than during your job interview. Try not to say anything negative about your former employer, co-workers, or anyone at all. Choose some way to constructively convey your reasons for leaving. Never, ever trash talk.

Mom-ism #8: Speak Clearly.

Communicate, both in speech and writing, clearly. I tell employers, “If you’re undecided between equally qualified candidates, choose the better writer.” Writing and speaking skills convey organized thinking and the ability to prioritize.

Mom-ism #9: Yes, I AM the Boss of You.

This one just cracks me up. You get it.

I’m not sure about the accuracy of some of the mom-isms I’ve heard: “Wait an hour after eating to get in the swimming pool, or you’ll get a cramp and die!” “If you swallow a watermelon seed, if will grow inside your stomach!” These just seemed like torture!

But Moms, much of your advice (and admonishments) applies to life AND work! You’ve helped prepare us for our professional lives—all we need to do is follow your words of wisdom echoing in our heads. We can’t thank you enough. Xoxo.

Got mom-isms you’d like to share, whether they apply to work or not? We’d love to hear them—just write in the “comment” box below!

Like this blog post?  Check out Jennifer’s VIDEO BLOGS on Job Tips, the Job Search, and the Job Interview.

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Jennifer Shryock is a resume writer and interview coach with Rainmaker Resumes. Her blog features Missoula job hunting tips, covering everything from the employer perspective to networking ideas to interview-winning resumes to keeping your sense of humor, whether you’re working or working to find work. For answers, send your work related questions to Make her blog a regular part of your job search.