Depress Your Daughter With Work Day

April 23, 2008 at 11:31 am 11 comments

Apparently, tomorrow (April 24) is Take Your Daughter/Son to Work Day – that blessed time of year when the country’s offspring get to spend 9 hours sitting in a chair drawing on printer paper with highlighters while watching their parent get belittled by the boss and talked down to by co-workers.

“Mommy will get you a soda in a minute, sweetie – she has to have a new asshole installed by Mr. Harrison first.”

I guess I get the idea of the whole Take Our Daughters & Sons to Work thing, but I can’t really imagine the workplace being the ideal environment in which to strengthen relationships between parents and children. Sure, it might be cool for a kid to see his Dad’s desk, but how enlightening can it be for a 9-year-old to watch his father process expense reports and read CNN.com?

“My Dad’s a ‘yes man’! SWEET!”

I imagine the day would start off peacefully enough: a tour of the office, a danish from the vending machine, a chair set up in the cubicle for the little darling to patiently observe 8 full hours of data entry…but I think about 30 minutes in, once every drawer has been ransacked and every post-it pad has been used to make a flip-book, shit would start to get annoying – for both parties.

Officially more distracting than the Microsoft Office paperclip.

I mean, sure, I guess if you planned things effectively you could have a whole day of kid-friendly tasks lined up to keep things interesting (“Help mommy fill out these pink slips!”), but even if you have some sort of Dilbert clone for a child, I predict that the novelty of completing mundane tasks is going to wear off with a quickness. Which brings me to the main problem I have with the whole Kiddies at Work idea: Why on earth would you want to expose your poor child to the SOUL-KILLING ENNUI of the office when THEY WILL KNOW THE HELL OF A 9-5 JOB ALL TOO SOON? For Christ’s sake, they’re kids. Let them spend the day eating ice cream and running around the park picking their noses or some shit – don’t force them to breathe in copier fumes under the flimsy excuse of “parent-child bonding.”

Havin’ fun, honey? Only 13 more hours left in your shift!

I don’t know when the whole Take-Your-Kid-to-Work thing started, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t happening whenever I was young enough to participate. But my sister and I did accompany my Dad to the office sometimes whenever he had to work a late shift in the computer room (this was the 1980s, my lambs, and the only computers were in huge, freezing cold rooms without windows), where he would wander in and out of the long rows of humming machines with a clipboard, writing down numbers, while my sister and I wreaked havoc on the rest of the empty office.

Dear Lady Whose Desk I Used to Sit At While Devouring Orange Slice and Captain’s Wafers: Sorry for all the crumbs. Oh, and that pink notepad you thought you lost? That went home with me.

I used to love those nighttime trips to the office. My Dad worked on the 40th floor of one of the tallest buildings downtown, with elevators that shot skywards so fast my Captain’s Wafers sometimes threatened to make an encore appearance. The vast expanse of cubicles outside the computer room was dotted with big ferns and smelled slightly of coffee. My sister and I would each pick a desk, exchange phone extensions, create exotic office pseudonyms (I was Ms. Sumner), and proceed to call each other, scheduling meetings and typing up memos for our imaginary bosses.

Ms. Sumner never minded staying late.

We really had a great time going to the office with my Dad, but that’s just it: We went to the office with my Dad; we didn’t go to work with my Dad. I never had to see the people who really occupied those cubicles (although I would have liked to have thanked the woman who always kept a jar full of caramels on her desk – bless you, Madam), I never had to see my Dad reporting to his boss, overhear office gossip, see people rolling their eyes in meetings or witness the stampede when the clock struck 5 and everyone got the hell out of Dodge before that place sucked up another minute of their lives. In my mind, offices were a fun place where you could click away on typewriters and have unlimited access to free red pens and staple removers, and – although I was in for a rude awakening when I got my first office job – I’m glad I never had to see the “real life” aspect of the working world until I was (thank you, Jeebus!) of legal drinking age.

My new favorite imaginary boss.

Is it too much to ask to keep kids out of the workplace until they need to be? What’s really the advantage of showing them where their parents work? I can hear the conversation on the morning commute now:

KID: “So what do you do at work?”

PARENT: “I’m an Assistant Office Manager.”

KID: “I thought you went to school to be an artist.”

PARENT: “I did.”

KID: “So why aren’t you an artist?”

PARENT: “…”

Uh…or maybe that’s just how the conversation would go in my car.

I don’t know – the point is, I kind of feel like kids don’t really need to see the work-related side of their parents’ lives. The last thing kids need to think about is employment, for shit’s sake. Who wants to see the place that takes their parents away from them for 9 hours a day? I get that the whole thing is more of a bonding exercise, but aren’t there better ways to accomplish that? Like, I don’t know, ditching the office and TAKING A GODDAMN VACATION?

Unless, of course, your parents are lion tamers or something. That would be awesome.

“Anyone seen Jack Junior? Jack Junior? Jack Junior? OH GOD, JACK JUNIOR!”

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Entry filed under: Gobble-gobble.

Cheers and Jeers: Jeers-Heavy Edition I’m On To You, Hannah Montana Achy-Breaky Ray Cyrus

11 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Kristin  |  April 23, 2008 at 3:43 pm

    I ALWAYS wanted to go to work with my dad. He was an Air Force fighter pilot, like Top Gun, only not the Navy. And not Tom Cruise. But STILL, cool, right? Would’ve been cooler had he been allowed to take me in the plane with him. No joy, though. Stupid government and their stupid regulations about 8 year olds in 5-million-dollar planes.

    Reply
  • 2. Husband of Said Turkey  |  April 24, 2008 at 12:31 am

    Question: What do kids do in countries where child labor is a common practice? Is it “Take Yourself to Work Day”?

    Reply
  • 3. paperback writer  |  April 24, 2008 at 8:07 am

    One coworker asked another if she was bringing her son into work. And she said no. Why not, asked the first one? We’ll just annoy each other.

    And annoy everyone else in the office.

    No thank you. Go bond with your children at the Zoo.

    Reply
  • 4. jiveturkey  |  April 24, 2008 at 9:07 am

    Kristin: See?! All the really cool jobs aren’t safe for kids anyway.

    HoST: Hee.

    paperbackwriter: YES, YES, a thousand times YES. That is what the Zoo is for!!

    Reply
  • 5. jiveturkey  |  April 24, 2008 at 9:09 am

    Hey Kristen – I’m having trouble viewing your most recent posts…every time I go to your site, I just see the lamb pictures, but I can see from your link snapshot that you’ve updated. WTF? Is it my lame computer?

    Reply
  • 6. Dave  |  April 24, 2008 at 9:32 am

    Oh thank goodness someone else feels taking a child to a place of soul sucking institutionalization is wrong (and I have kids).

    This came up no. 1 in Google blogsearch for “don’t take your sons and daughters to work”

    Reply
  • 7. jiveturkey  |  April 24, 2008 at 9:37 am

    Ha! Dave, that’s hilarious.

    Reply
  • 8. Kristin  |  April 24, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    Turkey: This is the third time I’ve tried to leave a comment–I don’t think it will let me post a URL on here. Anyway, check your e-mail for a response to the above question about my site.

    Reply
  • 9. Chicago Friend of Said Turkey  |  April 24, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    I gotta say, the microsoft office paperclip makes me wanna kill someone.

    Reply
  • 10. shelli  |  April 25, 2008 at 2:55 pm

    I’ve always said that “take your child to work day” is a secret “teacher’s day off” day. Because there’s NO enjoyment for the parent in dragging a 2.4 year old to the office.

    There are ONLY so many post-it notes in a pack!

    Reply
  • 11. Leah  |  April 25, 2008 at 5:49 pm

    Last night while riding the train home from work, the conducter announced that his kid was at work with him and every so often the kid would come over the speakers (LOUDLY and ENTHUSIASTICALLY) and say things like “This is a Fremont train! Fremont train!” or “Doors are closing! Thank you for riding BART!” and DAMN if it wasn’t cute. Now, I don’t think being a BART conducter is a cool job but I think being the child of a BART conducter would be pretty sweet.

    I remember that they had Take Yer Kid to Work Day when I was little, but my mom was a nurse at a major hospital and my dad was a high-voltage electrician, so it wasn’t exactly practical (i.e., DANGER, DANGER) for us to tag along.

    Reply

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