Thursday, April 24, 2014

working 9 to 5

Today was "Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work Day," an annual nationwide event that was conceived and implemented by the Ms. Foundation for Women in 1993 (as "Take Our Daughters to Work Day") under the auspices of its founder Gloria Steinem. After ten years of the program, young boys got wise to this "girls only" bullshit and the offer was extended to include sons as well.

In my thirty years in the working world, only two of my employers participated in the yearly event — my current employer and my immediate previous employer. My son, now almost 27, never got the opportunity to witness me at work. He did, however, hear a fair share of bitching about my job at various times. That, coupled with his forced employment in the grueling weekend marathons at his grandparents' general merchandise store, I'm sure made him feel as though he wasn't missing anything. By the time I had a job that recognized the program, my son was past the 12 year-old age limit. And he probably wasn't interested anyway.

My first exposure to "Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work Day" was in 2003. I was working as a production artist in the marketing department of a national after-market auto parts supplier (I'll give you a hint. It rhymes with "Shep Shoys".) At the time, the company did a lot of newspaper advertising and twelve artists worked 'round the clock to produce multi-page, full-color circulars, each consisting of multiple versions varying by geographic zone and nuanced price differences. The department was equipped with a five-foot wide color printer, able to spit out actual-size proofs of ads for perusal by "the powers that be" at promotion strategy meetings. The files, heavy on copy and graphics, took a long and tedious time to transfer and print. On "Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work Day," the hallways were clogged with squealing children, darting from one cubicle to the next, surfing websites and downloading amusing photos. You could anxiously wait for your proof to print, only to be horrified when a five-foot wide picture of a kitten emerged from the printer because someone's kid beat your ad to the communal print queue.

My current employer, a law firm, treats the affair with a bit more dignity. Sure, there are still kids running through the halls, but a lot of them are lawyer's kids and the behavior is not as wild. Staff members (non-lawyers) are encouraged to bring a child — be it their own or a niece or nephew. One childless former co-worker brought her nephew because I believe his mother was a pole dancer and her employer frowned upon children in the workplace. The events staff (yeah, we got one of those!) planned a host of activities to occupy and entertain our pint-sized visitors, including a Q & A session with Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett (who happened to be in the Philadelphia office for a fundraiser). The afternoon brought an exciting take on TV's "The Amazing Race," where the children dashed from office to office and floor to floor, performing simple tasks for a token prize. The Chief Marketing Officer and I, showcasing our connections to marketing, quizzed the kids on a series of company logos. The wordless representations of Apple®, Starbucks® and Pringles® were identified in a matter of seconds. See? Marketing pays off! Afterwards there was pizza and ice cream, giving the children the false impression that we have pizza and ice cream every day. We do not. Stay in school.

Earlier in the week, my son, a DJ on a local Philadelphia radio station, tweeted the following:
Next year, I'm going to work with him.

1 comment:

  1. It's hard to see how you can complain about seeing a 5' kitten. My ex-coworker used to bring his kids to work when they weren't allowed to go to school because they had strep or some other horribly contagious disease.