Today marks the third-annual Take Our Daughters to Work Day. Young girls might be hanging around your workplace, watching. You might catch some boys peering at you, too, because there’s a protest movement on against this girls-only stuff.
Most workplace behavior will be stellar today. Bosses will be complimentary. Parents will work enthusiastically to impress their children.
Keep in mind, however, that the lasting messages our children receive about work come at home, from you, after hours. So it’s important to convey valuable lessons about work to your children every day.
For instance, your girls should know that, like it or not, they’ll need to be economically self-sufficient. No matter how traditional your family or how much you hope your daughters will find men to support them, the statistics will shatter your hopes. There are few Prince Charmings left, and even they can die young and unexpectedly or divorce your daughters.
Fifty percent of young women today will, at some time, support a family on their own. If the young woman in your family lacks skills and education, her children - your grandchildren - will live in poverty. Among single-parent households headed by women, the current median annual income is only $13,000.
Monitor the way you talk about work in front of your children. If you relentlessly complain about your job or put down your spouse’s job, your children get the message that work is something to dread and demean. But few jobs are truly horrible. Complaining about work has become more of a cultural tic than a reflection of the self-worth work provides.
Anyone who has been unemployed can tell you how much you will miss work - and bitching about it - once your job is gone. And in the new emerging workplace, an employee’s attitude may help determine who stays during downsizing. As one job counselor said recently: “No one wants to be around negativity.” Your child’s positive attitude toward work starts at home.
Be sure to teach your children that respect is the watchword at work. This simple message, stated often and early, can help prevent sexual harassment. Recently, one 16-year-old we know was called into the office by a male co-worker who shut the door and verbally berated her. The boss was out of town, but as soon as she returned, the girl and her parents confronted the boss and explained why the man’s behavior was unacceptable. The young woman learned that she is entitled to respect in the workplace, no matter her age, position or gender.
And one last thing. Have some fun today.
The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Rebecca Nappi/For the editorial board