April 24th marks the 22nd anniversary of Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, the one day of the year when kids are invited to skip school for the daily grind to learn how mom and dad earn a buck.
Walking into the insurance company my father worked for on my first Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, I was intimidated by the sea of professionals dressed in sharp shoulder pads and pleated pantsuits (it was the 80′s). But when I saw a drawing I’d made of my father in a suit and tie displayed in his cubicle, the briefcase he lugged to work each morning a scribble of brown circles in his poorly drawn hand, I began to feel at ease. I realized that today we were matching. We were both dressed in black slacks, white button-up shirts, and matching navy neckties. I even toted a lunchbox disguised as my very own briefcase. I was proud to be invited into his world, to see that he was respected and well liked, and that success, however you define it, is attainable.
Over the last few days we have received lots of requests for matching father & son neckties to be worn on next week’s “Bring your Kid to Work Day”. This inspired us to write this article, and we’ve compiled a list of six Take Your Kid To Work rules that every parent should follow.
SIX TIPS & RULES:
Tip #1: Find out what line of work your child is interested in, and don’t be offended if it’s not yours. Maybe you sell Real Estate, but your child expresses an interest in architecture. Let him or her flip through floor plans of houses that are on the market, and have them draw their own.
Tip #2: Dress the part. Nothing makes a kid feel more grown up than dressing in his parent’s clothes. Matching neckties and button-ups are a simple way for your child to look and feel the part.
Tip #3: Have a plan and bring back-up. Some companies may already have a program in place for TOSDTWD, but if that’s not the case it’s important to get permission ahead of time and make an agenda. And let’s be real – you’ve probably got a lot to do, and a kid’s attention span is only so long. Get their schoolwork from their teachers the day before and set aside some mutual work time.
Tip #4: Don’t Scold them in public. One year my dad took both my brother and I on an appointment with him to an elderly couple’s house. My little brother pointed at a photo of a girl on the couple’s mantel and shouted, “Who’s the lady? She’s ugly!” To which the elderly woman replied, “That’s our daughter. She passed away last year.” Needless to say, my dad was horrified and apologized to the couple, but he waited until we were in the car to tell my brother what a bonehead move that was. Even if your child does something wrong, it’s never a good idea to reprimand them in front of your co-workers or customers. Leave them with positive feelings about the day and save the scolding for later.
Tip #5: Don’t loose them! One minute you’re on a phone meeting with an important client, the next you’re on the phone with building security. If you have something important to do, don’t pawn your kid off on your co-workers. They’re not your babysitters.
Tip #6: Don’t talk badly about your co-workers in front of them. Kids WILL repeat it. “Are you mommy’s boss? She says you’re a liar” will not score you points around the office.