Take Your Child to Work Day was originally founded by Gloria Steinem and the Ms. Foundation as the Take Our Daughters to Work program in 1993. Originally, the intent of the program was to address the self-esteem issues that face young women and the foundation resisted the inclusion of young men. The Ms. Foundation provided materials to schools so teachers could incorporate “choosing a career” activities the day before or after the event to reinforce the experience with the participating girls.
Schools began to resist the program because of the exclusion of boys and the program was changed to Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day in 2003. Although most individuals who bring a child to their job for the day bring their own child or a relative, the program originally encouraged participants to bring a child from a residential program or shelter who may not have access to adults with careers in skilled professions.
Although, I don’t have children myself I know that children can become passionate about a future career early in life, and giving them working knowledge of the ins and outs of a particular position or industry can help them discover what they do and do not want in a future career. This can be the first step on the path to their future. Not every child is afforded the opportunity to visit a company. Some parents are self employed, others have returned to school to continue their education, and others work in highly confidential or dangerous fields that don’t allow for children to come to work for the day. I brought Hannah, the child of a family friend with me for the day. In this case, Hannah’s family owns a restaurant that she helps out at several times a week. Although this is certainly a career option for her in the future, she is already well aware of what is involved in the restaurant business and wouldn’t be gaining a new experience by spending the day there.
She couldn’t have been more excited to spend the day at the Prudent Publishing offices. She loved seeing the process of designing a greeting card from start to finish and getting the opportunity to design and photograph her own card creation. She was thrilled to meet the other staff members and enjoyed seeing how many career opportunities there were within one company. She listened in on several live phone calls and assisted with small tasks throughout the day. I enjoyed seeing how much she has matured and that she felt comfortable asking questions about the tasks she was seeing and participating in. Hannah even took our typing test and was able to type 59 wpm with 99% accuracy – not a small feat for such a young woman! Hannah was very fascinated with our electronic typewriter. Since she has grown up in the computer age, she thought it was amazing to hear how much we used typewriters as little as 15 years ago and the increased efficiencies we’ve seen with the introduction of computers.
Overall it was a great experience for all the kids who were able to spend the day with us and a very rewarding experience for the adults. It was very refreshing to see our careers through their eyes as we too often take for granted what we see and do everyday.