Friday, April 25, 2008

Go to work! Bring a friend!

So apparently, today is take your [some kind of child] to work day. I didn't know until I read this article. It was an okay article, but even better (for the most part) were the responses to it. My parents never really observed the day because 1) we usually only pay attention to holidays acknowledged by Hallmark, and 2) we were pretty much already doing it. Mom is/was a stay-at-home ("home" and "car" are interchangeable terms here) homeschooling mom, and Dad is/was a sales representative who traveled a lot when he wasn't working in his home office (translation: taking over flat surfaces somewhere in the house). The article asks if the original idea of taking only your daughter was sexist, which I didn't really care about. However, I did realize that Dad took Levi on a whole lot more business trips than he did with us. When we went with him, it was usually for the sake of going out of town. When Levi went, he worked convention floors, wore a dress shirt with the company's name on it, and chatted up potential customers. I would get bitter and whatever, but I'm too bored to articulate a diatribe. I'm also pretty sure the rest of us never wanted to go. I can't speak for Laine or Sara, but I don't like talking to people, I don't like science or chemistry or business, and I don't think Dad and I wear the same shirt size (I also refuse to observe his 'button the collar buttons' rule. It's caused quite a rift between us at times, let me tell you). At least I have a working knowledge about the footsteps I'm not following. So this is what I've learned by accompanying my parents to work. A lot. Nearly ever day.

Motherhood and sales are probably not for me. Both require a lot of budgeting, driving, scheduling on the fly, and interacting with people. I dislike all of those things.
  • Budgeting. I can do this. But I'm not inventive about it. At all.
  • Driving. I can do this. I don't like it. I don't like long trips or very short trips. I get irate running errands just because it takes a while to get all settled in the car, and then 30 seconds later, you're getting out. This is why I'll take the first parking spot available that's half a mile from the store (seriously, especially in good weather), rather than search for a parking spot. There are few things I hate more--one of those things being riding with someone searching for a parking spot. Make it stop! And as for long trips, well, I just don't travel well. Make it stop, too!
  • Scheduling. I can do this. It's the rescheduling that gets me. Yes, I know I do it a lot and it probably frustrates you. And yes, I can usually adapt to unexpected schedule changes (or pretend to), but I don't like uncertainty. Sometimes, I don't even like the freedom of a flexible schedule. Right now, I'm in a job with a pretty rigid schedule. And I love it. I leave my home and return to it at the same time every weekday. Of the year and a half I've worked here, I've worked exactly 1.5 days on the weekend. There were also a few overtime incidents, but I was told about them in advance and they never stretched long into the night. Ever.
  • Interacting with people. Both of my parents' success in their vocations has (in varying degrees) rested on their ability to cultivate relationships of trust and goodwill with people, sometimes even strangers. Um, no. To have my livelihood depend on my friendliness and interpersonal skills would be like.....I don't really know what to compare it to, but it doesn't matter because anyone who knows me is probably laughing too much to finish the sentence. I also don't really care for talking on the phone, especially in a chatty sort of way (I can't believe I was deemed the perkiest receptionist in the organization's recent history at my last job. Man, I'm good. Not really.), and again, I saw a lot of that and knew it probably wasn't for me. I get anxious and interrupt.
But anyway, it was a somewhat amusing article with amusing comments. Okay, some of the comments were ugly, so now you've been cautioned. Some of them also made the valid point that some parents can't or shouldn't take their child to work (psychiatrists and cops made the list), but I still think it's a good idea for you to tag along with other people to their jobs or bring someone with you to yours regardless of their relation to you, their age, or whether or not it's the 'right' day (seriously, why was this not scheduled during summer time when kids aren't doing that school thing? Isn't attendance some kind of law or something?). I've gotten to see bits and pieces of what friends and family do for their jobs at times, and it's always helped me understand a little more about them when I have a mental image of what they do all day and where they are. Plus, as an unexpected bonus, doing this can sometimes provide an ego boost! Just a couple of weeks ago, my parents were in town and after we had lunch, I showed them my office and was able to really explain what I was doing with the scanned acts of old sessions. As I was leading them around the law library and introducing them to people and showing them the computers I work on, I realized that I'd never felt more important. If only I can get them to bring Dallas....

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