When the “Take Your Daughter to Work” Day (celebrated on the fourth Thursday of April) was founded back in 1993, the point of it all was to promote gender equality. While it expanded to include sons 10 years later, there’s something about the very fact that we can show our daughters what it means to be a working woman that shouldn’t be overlooked. Or treated lightly…
I mean, it’s one thing saying to dear daughter that she can become anything she puts her mind to. It’s another to actually show her. And not just in terms of what Mommy or Daddy does, but in terms of what it possible, beyond Mom’s Feng shui cubicle or Dad’s dusty desk…
If you’re getting ready to dust off your desk and make your cubicle/office baby-daughter-ready, then here are 5 lessons you may want to consider sharing with baby girl on ‘Take Your Daughter to Work” Day:
Girls (and women) can do all kinds of work
I have to say, my first impulse to take Dear Daughter to work can be summed up in two words: Girl Power! I do want her to see that girls, and women, are represented in workplaces. Not just through the glorious (and slightly disorganized) examples of her own mom and dad, but by observing other women at work as well.
This means not just taking Dear Daughter around you own department or group, but also giving her a tour of the company, especially around female leadership. It’s important for our daughters to see that women can fill many positions and roles at work, from CEO to janitor, and to let them form their own images of what the working world looks like…
There’s no such a thing as perfect balance
After all the initial Girl Power moments, comes the much-needed reality check lesson. I have to admit, one of my big first reality checks coming into adulthood “working mode” was that there isn’t any balance whatsoever as a working woman. Not just because we have kids or significant others or a social life, but because having a career is an automatic one-way into no-balance land. Between being our best selves at work, slaying our life goals, returning calls and paying the mortgage on time, working life is a juggling act.
So one of the most important lessons I’ve always wanted to pass on to Dear Daughter is to not expect the whole work thing to be nice and neat and organized. Which means teaching our daughters that the chaos of early mornings, unexpected traffic jams, and dealing with crisis at work is normal. And can actually be fun if we take it all as a challenge, as opposed to insurmountable obstacles…
Work can look like a lot of different things
This is the part that I’d call “job diversity”. Ok, maybe this is not the optimal term, but it works for now…And it consists in carefully imprinting in Baby Daughter the idea that work is not just what Mommy (or Daddy) does. It’s not just what the well-dressed CEO sitting at the clean desk overlooking the Bay area does either.
It’s also what the lady janitor does so well when she cleans the toilets. Or what the lady at the building entrance does when registering guests inside the offices…
Work can change
One of the most frequent misconceptions we may unwillingly transmit to our children is that work is static. That Mommy or Daddy goes to the same job every day, gets money for it that they can in turn use to buy them toys or pay for the tokens at Chuck-e Cheese. Pretty basic, right?
Except what this does is stick our kids into the idea that work is this humongous prison all adults go lock themselves in every day. Wrong! Instead, why not use Take Your Daughter to Work day as an incentive to realize that work does change. This can be done by having them talk to other women (and men) at work who had different careers and positions throughout their careers.
You have to find the work that makes you happy!
Last but not least, work is what should give you the same feeling as when you complete a difficult puzzle, or help a friend in need, or run through that obstacle course you never thought you could even begin. Work is fulfilling, satisfying, challenging. Work makes you happy, and on edge, and full, whatever that looks like…
What lessons would you teach your daughter on Take Your Daughter to Work Day?
To Your Success,
The Corporate Sis.