If memory serves me correctly the intention of Take Your Child to Work Day is to:
- show your child what you do for a living
- educate them on the company
- learn what your co-workers do
- create a work project pertaining to your industry that the kids can handle
If that is the intention, somehow that got lost in translation at my current place of employment yesterday. I am a copywriter for a real estate media publishing company. The office has three floors that are separated by wide open stairways in central locations that filter traffic into entryways near offices, conference rooms and cubicles. Each floor has perimeter corridors that create a circle so it could be perceived as a track-like atmosphere. I think you know where I am going with this.
Instead of an organized day of getting to know what mommy or daddy does for a living, a scavenger hunt kicked off the day where kids got clues to go visit people’s offices to pick up random items that had nothing to do with the job. This led to dozens of kids running around the hallways, racing up and down the stairwells and screaming at the top of their lungs while looking for their treasures. When the first sound of chaos started I just knew that the adults supervising the day would stop everything and lay down the ground rules for no screaming, running and jumping down the stairs. I was sadly mistaken.
It was 5 hours of recess; 5 hours of Kids Gone Wild; 5 hours where employees who were trying to get work done couldn’t do so effectively. It was the most unproductive work day I’ve had since I began working there a few months ago. I was dumbfounded that so many people around me didn’t think there was anything wrong with it. I did however, find a few people who agreed with me and I knew why I would find common ground with them. Sometimes it really does boil down to cultural differences. I knew the co-workers that probably had similar backgrounds and upbringings as me would understand my point of view. I wasn’t raised to go into someone’s work place and act like I just went through the turnstile at an amusement park. I wasn’t raised to go into someone’s work place and speak in a tone that would be disrespectful to my elders.
I commented on Facebook and Twitter during the day’s events the following: “Take Your Child to Work Day has been a great birth control method and an eye-opening look into how my co-workers have raised their children.” I think the latter part of my statement is what it boils down to: parenting. I am not a parent, but I can see when a child is running the show. The majority of these children were running the show because the parents never disciplined them or gave them any boundaries. The organizers of the day lost sight as to what the day is meant to be. It was a missed opportunity to provide teachable lessons to their kids about what it takes to have a skill, to make a living and to work well with others. Now I am stuck with a fuller plate of work to do today because yesterday was a bust. Happy Friday!