In celebration of Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day (April 22, 2010), we've compiled some readers' personal experiences with the interactions between adults and youngsters in the workplace. Read on for their stories -- from touching to terrifying, funny to fantastic, educational to enlightening!
I took my son to work, and the first thing he asked (out loud for everyone to hear) was, "Which ones have the brown noses?"
My daughter never really understood what being a nurse was all about until she came to work with me as part of a job-shadowing experience for her high school. She wanted to be a nurse ... until that day! "Do you ever get to sit down?" she asked me, slightly short of breath after helping our transporters. "Not very often," I replied. Later, she told me she was proud of me when she watched me interact with patients who were vulnerable after coming out of surgery, and how they are my top priority; now she understands why I don"t like personal phone calls at work if it's not an emergency! She has found the path she wants to follow. It's not in nursing -- but that's all right, as long as she is happy.
-- Kim Uribe
With coffee in hand and a laptop tote draped over one shoulder, I entered a conference room and began to settle myself in for what promised to be an intense series of negotiations regarding national deployment of a new product line. True to the nature of my business, there would be egos to stroke and personalities to coax to insure the broadest and most lucrative engagement. Moments before the scheduled start time, the vice president of business development for my firm -- a boyish and charismatic individual -- entered the room and sat to my left. I'd never paused to consider how youthful the vice president looked until someone asked him, "Young man, where is your dad?"
-- J. Robert Brown
This past fall my veterinarian wife had the opportunity to take our daughter to her office. Lorelei loves animals very much. While there, my wife had an emergency patient come in. She asked Lorelei to sit in her office while she treated the wounded puppy. My wife patched up the dog and went to retrieve our daughter. To her surprise, Lorelei had gone into the kennel and released all of the cats from their carriers! It took three hours to round them all up again. When my wife asked why she had let them all out, she replied, "They were all talking to each other from across the room. When me and Daddy do that at home, you tell us to stop yelling and whisper. So I let them out so they could whisper to each other instead of yelling."
-- Benjamin Williams
I work as a writer doing reviews on local businesses in my area. One day as I was getting ready, my babysitter called to cancel. I had already committed myself to the reviews, so I took my daughter with me. She was so excited because I told her she was going to be my little helper. Once we arrived, I gave her a tablet and a pen and said, "OK, now we are going to go in and ask lots of questions." She smiled and skipped to the entrance! As I was talking to the owner, my daughter interrupted with her tablet and pen ready, asking, "are those candy bars over there for little kids?" Luckily the owner thought it was adorable as she was pretending to write his answer down. I was never so embarrassed and proud at the same time.
Managing rental properties allows me to take my kids to work with me frequently. One evening a renter called and told me he locked his keys in his apartment and was heading to the airport. He wanted me to unlock the door for him while he was gone. I loaded up my 7-year-old and 4-year-old and grabbed the keys to the building. However, none of the keys worked. We went back home and grabbed a big bag of rouge keys and tried every one with no luck. I didn't want to pay a locksmith, so I got creative. I grabbed a ladder and asked the adjacent renter if I could use his deck to get up on the roof. He gave me a boost and I scampered across the roof and wiggled my way through the kitchen window, under the curtains, over the pile of dirty dishes, and around the dog. I unlocked the door and made my way back. "That was quick," said the renter. My daughter looked at him and said, "Don't you know my mom is a superhero?" We laughed, and I thought how wonderful it was for my kids to see everyday problem-solving in such an entertaining light!
-- Jennifer Siwa
Bethany is 4 years old and at that cute stage when she says exactly what is on her mind. One day when I needed to speak with my boss and pick up my check, I took Bethany with me to the office. As we were sitting there, this larger woman (who is my boss) stepped in. Bethany looked at her and said, "Mommy, that lady is fat! She needs to lay off the Twinkies!" To my surprise, my boss started laughing. I was so embarrassed as I had to explain to her that Bethany got that from her uncle, who always cracks jokes about my weight! I was so thankful that she was so understanding!
On Take your Kid to Work Day, I had no kid and my sister had no job. The solution? I took my nephew Anthony to work with me at Starbucks. He was 8 and very smart. My manager allowed him to write names on cups and clean in the cafe. He did an awesome job. He made $1.75 in tips and got a job offer to work in someone's restaurant! Anthony helped me do a coffee-tasting and was very excited to work at Starbucks again the next year. One customer, after complimenting Anthony's penmanship and courteous demeanor, asked him if he wanted to be a barista when he grew up. Without hesitation, Anthony replied, "I may consider being a manager if they still need my help." My nephew put life in perspective for me at the tender age of 8!-- ShaRhonda Ramos
It seemed like any other calculus class, but something was different that Take Your Kid to Work Day. Sitting at the teacher's desk sat a miniature version of our teacher -- her 12-year-old daughter, Alice. We didn't pay much attention to Alice as she sat quietly at the desk playing computer games. Our teacher didn't pay her much mind either and she scribbled furiously on the chalkboard while lecturing away. In the middle of class, the teacher made a slight error on a simple multiplication. None of us noticed until a small voice piped up, "Mommy, I think that over there is wrong. You forgot to carry the two." Our teacher checked her work quickly as we all realized her mistake. Alice just smiled and went back to her game.
-- David Park
When I was in middle school, I went to my mother's office for Take Your Kid to Work Day. At first, I was just thrilled to get a day off school -- but soon, I started to understand the real benefits of seeing my mom -- a practicing attorney -- in action. I essentially just watched my mother work, helped her with filing things, etc. But I remember gaining insight not only into her job, but also into the person she was. I knew my mom as ... well ... Mom. My time spent with her at work, though, helped me see a mom beyond laundry, dinner and house chores. I think it created a greater respect within me for all the work my mother did every day.
-- Wendy Gould
One of my co-workers brought her 8-year-old daughter to work on a day that everybody had to attend a four-hour meeting. The kid was left alone to mind herself -- not a great idea. When the meeting finally let out, we discovered the consequences: The girl had written her name over all of the walls in the hallways and offices; she had switched around people's personal items; everyone's phone receivers were Velcroed down to the base of the phone; and to top it all off, all of the computers in the building had a new screen saver of the cartoon "Hello Kitty." After all of this, it was a very long day for everyone in the office!
My daughter told me that she would like to see what Mommy does for work. I thought she would be very disappointed in my job as a cashier at a grocery store. At 46 years old, this is not my dream job -- but it allows me the freedom to be close to home and still make a little money. So, I took Sydney to the store with me on a day I was scheduled to work from noon to 4PM. As I went to punch in for my shift, numerous people stopped to chat and talk about things going on in town or just to say hello. After about two hours into my shift, Sydney wanted to sit on the bench and watch from there. Customer after customer came through my line -- and, having lived in this small town since I was 14, I knew almost everyone. After my shift was over I punched out and Sydney and I headed home to start dinner. I asked her what she thought about Mommy's job. She said that she was going to let all her friends at school know that her mommy was the most popular person in town. After dinner that night, Sydney asked if she could get a job like mine when she was old enough so she would know everyone in town, too. I now look at our small town as a great place to work and live. It just took my daughter to make me see it.
-- Sue Fisichelli