Working in the consumer products sector as an executive job search expert, coach, speaker and author of The NEW Rules of Job Search: How to Land an Executive Job in the New Economy, Eleanor Anne Sweet sees the effects an uncertain economy has on people’s lives first hand.
Growing up in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, Eleanor lived the American dream every day as her parents ran a custom interior design business. “My father was literally born on the farm in North Royalton, Ohio to immigrant parents from Czechoslovakia, him a first generation American. The only child out of the four to go to college, he earned a scholarship to attend Brown University, where he was in the Navy ROTC. After working for U.S. Steel, he became an entrepreneur and started his own business with $500 cash. The rest, as they say, is history.
My dad made his own path in life. As he used to tell us, there are no free lunches. It is up to you to accomplish something with your life and make a difference. We were brought up to take responsibility for our actions and taught to create our own destinies, with no free (government) handouts.”
Eleanor continues, “I went to Boston College and worked with GE and Salton before following my dad’s example and striking out on my own. I have since started five companies (The Remington Group, ConsumerCareerSearch.com, The Job Search Experts.com , Sweet Success Publishing and now Sweet Success Expert), without any government money or even bank loans – all with my own funds. The American dream is achieved through good old hard work, a strong work ethic, unwavering integrity, honesty and a stick-to-it-tiveness to make things happen.”
Asked what she sees as some of the challenges in the business community given today’s economic climate, Eleanor states, “consumer confidence is still lagging in the country. The economy is coming back, but much more slowly than we have seen in any previous recessions. Businesses are spooked and suspicious that the economy is really healthy and as a result are continuing to hold back on major capital commitments – and that includes human capital. Government greed and business growth are not compatible.
Eleanor is very involved in her community, and is the event chair for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life of Barrington. Even though the event has been highly successful, she says it’s much harder to get charitable donations these days. “This year especially we have seen people pull back because they do not have true confidence that the economy is going in the right direction. They feel that the economic problems have been going on too long, they are losing their faith.”
What are her suggestions to get our country back on track? “Our legislators need to give the country back the people. They need to remember that they work for us, that government works for us, not the other way around. And we really need to elect business people as citizen politicians, not have a class of professional politicians. These people seem to think it’s more important to enhance their own resumes and legacies with “signature” legislation than put the good of the country first. ObamaCare is a prime example of this.
“The back bone of this country, our engine of growth, is small business, the very segment the government is destroying with their policies. We need pro-growth, pro-job policies, not the pro-tax policies we see coming out of Washington right now. And by the way, these jobs should be in the private sector, not public.”
As parents we try to instill fiscal responsibility in our children, and Eleanor’s 16 year old daughter and 9 year old son are also learning about delayed gratification as she teaches them about patience and waiting, and appreciating what they have. “I realize I’m fortunate to live in a very affluent area, where there is some of that “keeping up with the Joneses” happening. My kids have to work and earn money for things they want versus things they need, and I say no a lot. It would be so much easier to say yes, but it would be teaching them the wrong thing.”
And Eleanor’s advice about what we Informed Women can do to effect change?
“I am a firm believer we are all in this together, that we must help each other in building a better and stronger country and world for the future generations. I think there are two secrets to success:
1. Step up and step forward while staying true to yourself, your core values and your higher power. Don’t worry about what others are thinking, just do what you know to be right.
2. Approach life with a scarcity mindset. Share your gifts with all. Mentor other women to help them be successful and achieve their potential. We are always stronger as a group than alone.”
No wonder Eleanor’s businesses have been so successful.
(Eleanor can be reached at sweet[@]sweetsuccessexpert.com.)