• Thu, Dec 19 - 8:00 am ET

My Kid Was Treated Like A Rockstar At My Office And Now He Wants To Skip Preschool And Go Directly To Work

shutterstock_167614298The day my son’s school called and said he was having an allergic reaction, I was in a bit of a predicament.  I had to leave work quickly and get some Benedryl in him, but I couldn’t stay home.  As relieved as I was that he was fine, they wouldn’t take him back at school and I had a deadline at work.  I had no choice but to bring him back to my office.  It was the worst mistake I could have ever made.

First of all, I should say that my kid does not like school for a whole host of reasons, none of which indicate any issues on the part of the school or his teachers.  He mostly just prefers to stay home.  He’s not a go-out-there-and-seek-adventure type of young child. Second, he is pretty attached to me.  He doesn’t understand why I have to go to work and he cries when I go even if he’s at home.

So I thought it might actually be a good thing for him to come with me to the office.  He could see where I sit, see the building and the room I spend time in and the people with whom I work.  I was so wrong – it was a big mistake.  Huge.  The kid was treated like a freaking rock-star from the minute we walked in the building’s lobby.  The normally stoic security guards smiled, asked him questions, and said he was the youngest worker they’d ever met.  Things got worse when we got to my floor.  The secretaries fawned over him.  Document Production indulged his every story about NASCAR (the kid is obsessed with racing).  He was offered cookies, candy and small bottles of water by almost everyone we passed.

When I finally got him into my office, his amazement continued.  There were so many pens — blue, black and red — and a drawer full of different sized sticky notes.  He wrote his name about 100 times and stuck them all over the bookshelves.  For the next week getting him to school was an extra tall order because he just kept saying “I want to go to work with you!”  I had created a monster.

He still has no idea what I do for actual work, but I can see that it has brought him a better sense of where I go while I am away from him and now that the initial interest has died down, I know it brings him comfort when we’re separated.  I wonder, if this practice continued, what impression it would leave on him about being a lawyer.  One woman’s experience detailed in the Wall Street Journal piqued my interest even more.

Lynn Bradley has been bringing her daughter Katie to her Charlottesville, Va., law offices occasionally on school holidays since she was about 3 years old. Accompanying her mom to court, Katie says, “I got to see how she transferred from a mom to somebody who really needs to help her client out.”

By the time she was 10, Katie was playing “lawyer” in the conference room at her mom’s law firm, Tucker Griffin Barnes, writing notes on legal pads and pretending with another employee’s daughter to make phone calls.

Yet if you think that means she wants to model her mom’s career, it turns out it is having the opposite effect.

Now 15, Katie knows she doesn’t want to practice law. She is put off by the long hours, the stress—and the paperwork. “That’s something I don’t want to do,” she says.

I don’t want either of my kids to be lawyers because their parents are, but I often wonder how that very fact will influence them — either towards that career or far, far away from it.

(photo: REDSTARSTUDIO/Shutterstock)

You can reach this post's author, Carinn Jade, on twitter.
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  • ChopChick

    So as a person who is finishing up law school and constantly worrying how I will juggle the mom/work thing, I LOVE your articles and contributions. Just wanted to let you know that!

    • Carinn Jade

      Thank you. That really means a lot!

  • TngldBlue

    When I was in elementary school, my best friends mom would take us to her office on Saturdays and that showed me a whole new world. At the time my mom was a waitress & my dad a truck driver so I was amazed by the offices, smartly dressed people, & the white boards (yep, loved those white boards). And although I’m not sure I ever knew what exactly she did other than bossing people around & looking very important, it was my first inkling that I had other options.

  • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

    My mom was a social worker who specialized in children’s mental health. One day I went to work with her and she sent me to the play room with another younger child. The play room was a place that has a two-way mirror where you could observe abused children playing and see how they interact with toys.
    Well, we found the anatomically correct dolls and kept flashing them at each other. I wonder what they would have said about that :P
    I also went along with her to see families sometimes, or foster houses (I wasn’t sure of the exact set-up there, but they were for children removed from bad homes who didn’t have families to live with). I guess this was cleared first. It was remarkable to see the variety of work she did.

  • JussyLee

    My mom and stepdad are computer programmers. Going to work with either of them was booorrrrring! I’d usually hang out alone in an empty cubicle where I’d draw endlessly on the whiteboard.

    When I was very young, my dad was a waiter at a 4-star restaurant. Sometimes during our visitation, he would bring me in to visit before opening. I got to sit at the bar where the bartender lady would treat me to a martini glass full of raspberries. Dad liked to BS with the busboy who was mexican, and the two of them thought it was hilarious to make 3-year-old me try to say phrases in spanish. I also got to “help” fold the cloth napkins into that fancy fan shape (although I’m sure Dad just surruptitiously refolded my messy work of it). My dad loved his job there, but when he grew older and married my stepmother he moved on to become a car salesman. My restaurant memories represent a whole different period of my dad’s life as a young man.

  • kay

    My dad works as an engineer in stuff with a high security clearance (like, an hour drive into the desert past a security fence type of stuff). I was NEVER allowed to go see his office (the whole fence thing…). So when they finally had a family day and let people out there I was SO EXCITED.

    And there were NO TRAINS. WHAT KIND OF ENGINEER WAS MY DAD IF THERE WERE NO TRAINS.

    So yeah, it’s awesome for kids to see their parents work. Mostly so they don’t think someone is a train engineer when in fact they’re a nuclear engineer and there’s not a single train nearby. There’s just offices and computers and middle aged white dudes in ties. LETDOWN CITY.

    • Carinn Jade

      That is the best story and the worst story ever.

    • Janok Place

      Bahahaha…. my husband is a Physics Engineer. At the initial “What do you do for a living?” He said “Engineer”… Clearly, in all my wisdom (and I was sober) I yelped out “TRAINS ARE SO COOL!”…. Because seriously, what kind of Engineer doesn’t work with trains?

    • kay

      Trains are cool! My younger brother now, in the world’s most random job, does marketing for a small freight railroad company. When he got the job all he told me was “my boss says I can go on train rides!!!!” Trains are cool.

  • SA

    On the very rare occasion my daughter has to come in with me, the entire floor ends up in my office staring at her. I can only imagine how bad it will be as she can interact more. She is usually ‘stolen’ from me and pranced around to the other floors where she gets all the attention her heart desires!

    My mom worked in the school system year-round. So the only time I ever had to come in with her was a few times during the summer. It was being in school. During summer. Need I say more?

  • CrazyFor Kate

    One of my co-teachers brings her five-year-old sometimes when she’s planning her lessons. The little boy gets fawned over, and better yet, gets lots of English practice free from the English speakers in the room. It’s a real win for Mom!

  • Kay_Sue

    I worked in retail management. I might have mentioned that, just like, a time or two. But anyway, whenever I would bring the boys in to work, whether it was to shop or to run in real quick to take care of something, they’d be completely fawned over. People they’d met and some employees/regular customers they hadn’t would always make a big to do.

    It was always kinda funny to watch them react in a store that I DIDN’T work in (and thus there wasn’t any attention), because they have cute “What the fuck?” faces.

  • The Kez

    I’m a lawyer too, I went back to work when my daughter was 8 weeks old, and my amazing employer allowed me to bring her to work with me. She is 5 months now and will be going to daycare soon (having a crawling baby in the office would be a nightmare). She has loved being at work with me, everyone who walks past my office stops to smile and chat to her and I always have lots of offers if she needs to be rocked to sleep.

    I will definitely bring her to work on a semi regular basis as she gets older. I work with a lot of really talented women and I hope it will give her a sense of what I do and what she is capable of.

  • brebay

    I actually love when people bring little kids into the office, breaks up the day better than almost anything else…except maybe puppies…

  • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

    My kid thinks I go to work and punch holes all day, because that’s what he does if I bring him by for 5 minutes.

  • SarahJesness

    Both of my parents were school teachers (though my dad was a carny in the summer and the whole family went along, we visited relatives on the way) and I went to their work a few times. Mostly I remember drawing on boards and reading books.