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Do We Need A Take Your Child To Work Day?

Call me the grinch.

I'm questioning the need for Take Your Child to Work Day. I begged my youngest child to go to school. I even considered a bribe. My older kids have too much school work to even consider asking me.

So, here I am, trying to be productive with my son asking me a million questions for every small assignment I give him. Bah Humbug!

Poll most parents and they will tell you that even though we proudly strut our kids around our offices, we know this will be one of the most unproductive workdays for us.

As Lisa Belkin points out: When Ms. Magazine created "Take Our Daughters To Work Day" 20 years ago, it was a statement of how far girls had still to go. We wanted them to see the possibilities in the workplace.

When the name was changed to "Take Our Sons And Daughter To Work Day" in 1993, it was a measure of how far girls had come. Our girls were going places and we wanted to make sure our boys went too.

And today, as 37 million kids visit 3.5 million workplaces across the country, it is a chance to reflect on where all our children are going next. I'm not sure we know where that will be.

Today, boys and girls understand the expectations on them. They understand they are expected to do more than "hang out" after they finish high school. As we bring our kids with us to work, what are we trying to show them? Our professions?

Many of us don't want our kids to choose the profession we have selected.  I am one of them. I brought my younger kids to the newsroom. What did they see? An industry that's struggling to figure out where it's going and disgruntled journalists who fear future rounds of layoffs.  Experts say its more unlikely than ever that children will go into whatever line of work their parents did.

I'd like my children to learn work ethic and passion for their jobs. At many companies, Take Your Child to Work Day activities have been cut back or eliminated. So it will be up to parents to occupy our kids. Most likely, at some point, we will resort to allowing them to play on an electronic device. Will that teach them work ethic?

How about passion for their jobs? Can they learn that in a day?

At best, I hope they will learn where mom or dad is and what he or she is doing when they're at school. The rest of the lesson --that most of us work hard to balance our jobs and our families, treat others with respect, and be the best we can be at what we do -- comes from the everyday conversation we have with our children. It's those conversations that can help point our kids to what they want to become in the future.

I don't think Take Your Child to Work Day has become what it's founders intended. But for those who work grueling schedules, if nothing else, at least it's one more day we can spend with our kids.



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Miami Criminal Defense Attorney

Great post Cindy, I had employees asking if they can bring in their dog :-)

Canadian Banker

Hi Cindy,
I work in a large North American bank, based in Canada. Everyone brings in their grade 9 kids on that day, but it's actually handled really well. The kids are whisked away for the morning for meetings with the Marketing/Advertising folks, New Product Development, Human Resources, and even the senior executives come in to talk about how they started in this career and what they do now. It's great because I can be productive for half a day while the kids are gone, then have lunch with them and spend time with them in the afternoon. The kids get exposure to jobs much different from mine, and get a better understanding of the many jobs available within a company our size. You're right that the afternoon is a write-off, completely unproductive, but it's almost a type of team building exercise to meet each other's offspring!

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