My Dad, Ford Trucks & What I Learned About Success

To commemorate the passing of my father I would like to invite you to read this post I wrote in memory of my father – successful entrepreneur and decorated war veteran, Robert C. Fike. May his Memory Be Eternal.

My dad was a self made millionaire. But when he died, he was driving an old beat up 1970’s Ford Truck.

I had never seen him drive a vehicle that wasn’t really nice. He always bought a brand new SUV each year.

But right before he died he had a transformation.

He started wearing an old straw hat.

He listened to Johnny Cash.

And he started driving an old white Ford truck that he picked off of the used car lot that he owned at the time.

My dad found out just a few months before he died that he had pulmonary fibrosis.

A grim feature of this unfortunate diagnosis was the oxygen tanks he had to haul around with him.

He had a portable oxygen tank and also a larger one for the house.

I remember right before he died he wanted to go up to our cabin at the base of Yosemite Valley.

My family begged him not to go. The elevation was high and the population was sparse.

If there was a problem it would take an hour just to get him to the hospital. Too late for help when you need air.

But my dad didn’t seem to care.

In fact, he seemed defiant.

He was going to make the 3.5 hour drive up to the mountains with our without us.

So I went with him.

Just me and my dad.

For a week’s “vacation” in the mountains Northern / Central California.

I followed him up in my car.

He strapped the big oxygen tank to the back of his “new” old ford truck, put on his straw hat, inserted a a Johnny Cash tape in the cassette deck and drove off into the sunset as I drove behind him.

Though it was 20 years ago, that picture will be etched in my memory forever.

My dad had a lot – but now he seemed to want to shed those material things he had and simplify his surroundings. In the end, it wasn’t money or things that were a reflection of my dad. And somehow he needed to get in touch with that. He wanted to be surrounded with reflections of who he truly was. And he was, at his core, a simple man, who enjoyed simple pleasures. He loved God and loved the land.

And he loved the rugged, grounded simplicity of that old Ford truck.

And I, as the daughter of this pioneering entrepreneur, have followed in his entrepreneurial footsteps.

When I was a teenager, my dad used to talk to me a lot about owning businesses and the opportunities we have in as Americans – in this great Country – to work and be successful from the fruits of our labors.

But the greatest lesson he taught me about true success was one he wasn’t trying to teach. It was watching him “show” me right before he died – what was truly important in life.

I guess that is why in my business today – I have been called a contrarian …provocative…and a maverick.

When you work with jobseekers, people who have families to take care of, when you get to know their stories….little else besides getting them educated on the truth of what really works in today’s job market is important. At least to me.

And although people hire me for over $200 an hour – not everyone can afford that.

So I decided to write The Career Artisan Series eBooks and offer them for just a few dollars each on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Because in the end it’s not money that truly matters, is it?

So if you know someone who needs help in their job search and you want to help… you can share this link with them:

You know, my husband keeps telling me he wants to buy me a new vehicle.

But I really do prefer my old Ford truck.

Mary Elizabeth Bradford is the Founder and Executive Director of and and a past executive recruiter. A thought leader in the career services industry for over 20 years, she holds 5 distinct advanced certifications for senior-level resume writing, online branding and executive-level job search coaching (CERM, CMRW, CARW, MCD, NCOPE). She has been seen and heard in major media including Forbes, Time, WSJ, Newsweek and NBC affiliate stations. She holds 2 CDI TORI awards and is a top tier judge for the elite CDI TORI awards for four consecutive years. Mary Elizabeth Bradford’s elite team of award-winning, certified, top executive resume writers, former top executive recruiters, and global HR executives help many of the world’s premier C-suite, board members and thought leaders secure the transitions and compensation packages they want. She works with clients all over the globe.

If you are a Director, VP, CxO, or Board Member interested in an executive resume package or working directly with Mary Elizabeth, click to schedule a complimentary 15-minute call.