The Lessons Learned on Bring Your Kid to Work Day
Its history is honorable on a Day that many love, but are we teaching them the truth or putting on a show
Today is Take Your Child to Work Day. This day has been used to show children what it is like to be in the workplace and to open their eyes to possible jobs they may want to do in the future. It shows them jobs they may or may not want to do when they grow up. It also demonstrates what Mommy and Daddy do while they are in school, and hopefully illustrates a side of you they never see at home.
Say what you will about this day, but one cannot argue that our workplaces have progressed over the years. In an office setting, having the kiddies run around while you chip away at your keyboard and monitor multiple windows on your PC may seem super boring to a 7-year-old, but they think it’s cool that you have your own desk, your own phone and you can get up and get free water at the cooler when you want and munch on a snack. They may be too young to explain that organized labor had to bargain for that water break 20 contracts ago, but that’s a whole other story.
Bring Your Child to Work Day was formed in 1992 by the Ms. Foundation for Women and was originally called Take Your Daughter to Work Day until 2003 when boys began to be included. It was formed and promoted by schools to expose girls to jobs and workplaces that are not traditional female jobs. Beginning in 1993, the day began being celebrated on the fourth Thursday in April. It now includes 37 million students and 3.5 million workplaces. It is also celebrated not only in the United States but also in Canada and Australia. Some companies now hold specific events for their children to promote their parent’s workplaces.
For some professionals, Bring Your Child to Work Day it's practically a day off. A buddy of mine works in construction management in New York City. His boy, age 8, got himself a day off from school with an adventure ahead of him. He got to wake up early, put on a suit and tie, take an hour-long crowded train ride into the City that Never Sleeps, then muscle his way downtown to get into his Daddy’s office by 9 am sharp. Imagine how tiring this can be for an 8-year-old, it’s even more exhausting doing this every day when your 40. It’s a good life lesson for a young boy – and is also good for the bosses to see their staff with family in tow too.
In a way, having employees bringing their pride-n-joys to work humanizes them in ways no other workplace action could. For the non-union, who don’t get to bargain their wages and benefits, this day could be one of the few days where the boss walks around and says hello. Putting on a good face, it’s comforting to a child to know that their Mommy’s boss isn’t a jerk; but that’s because he’s being nice today. Our young ones aren’t stupid – they overhear you complain about your managers at home. When they meet the boss on Bring Your Child to Work Day, they meet them in their nicest form. Bosses beware, our children remember when we vented with our spouse about your true nature. Our Children, our workers-in-training, learn firsthand how manipulative bosses can sometimes be. Bring Your Child to Work Day gives some of us the opportunity to teach them this valuable life lesson.