By the time you read this it will be the 20th annual “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day. ”
Thursday, April 25, 2013.
When this program first started, it was called “Take Our Daughters to Work Day,” the belief being that girls needed to see how they could be empowered, that they too had a place in the career world, and to see their moms in a role other than mom.
But as the years went by, things flipped and the guys began growling that they were being left out. Rightly so, I think.
Plus, it’s actually not a special day for just women to take their daughters, or sons, to work with them. I believe it’s a day for parents — both mom and dad — to let their kid see what happens when they head out the door every morning.
But once they’ve been to work with you a couple of times, then what?
I think it’s time to mix it up … you take someone else’s kid to work with you and send yours off with someone else, to a different job. By the time they graduate high school, the kids will have been exposed to a myriad of career paths!
My dad was self-employed as a barber. I went to his work all the time. We would stop in to get something while out running errands. Mom might drop me off to stay there while she went to get her hair done. I thought it was wonderful; magazines and newspapers to read, my dad’s friends from around town would stop in to get a haircut and tell funny stories, there was a Coke machine and little Dum-Dum suckers that he handed out to the kids who were good. Not to mention plastic combs and scalp massagers that people could buy. Of course, I always had to have a new comb!
He’d let me turn the key and lock the big door when it was closing time and help him sweep with the giant push broom. I can still smell the talcum powder from his neck brush and see him standing there in his white coat behind the giant chair. And I still have the big electric barber pole that adorned the spot just outside the front door of Bob’s Barber Shop and signaled that he was open for business, though I’ve not quite figured out what to do with it. He was a good barber too. He had a lot of customers who came from other towns to have him cut their hair. Until he passed away in 2001, Bob’s Barber Shop was the oldest continuously operating business in Madisonville, Tenn., and he was quite proud of that!
So was I.
He never once asked me if I would be interested in being a hairdresser or taking over his business. He never showed me how he cut hair and I never asked. I couldn’t do it to this day.
My mom never worked when I was a child, but my grandmother did! She had an antiques shop in her home that had quite a following and my mom helped her with that. It was a true small business and I was there all the time. There was inventory to be purchased, with endless hours spent at auctions (that I despised), price points to be met, taxes to be paid, insurance, dealing with a robbery or two.
I learned absolutely nothing about business and I wasn’t interested in antiques at 14. It would have been math in action, but I didn’t care and no one ever brought it up. However, I have quite a few of Nanny’s antiques in my home to this day and can still see her dealing with customers.
As I think back on all the time I spent with my parents at these informal ‘take my kid to work’ days, I’m amazed that I didn’t pick up more! Maybe it was because it just melded into life — going there wasn’t special and mysterious. But I do think that it is important that kids learn early about work so they won’t be surprised when they finally get there as a grown up! I personally would encourage you to take your sons and daughters to work with you sometime.
They’ll love it and always remember it!