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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Damage Control After Accidental Indoctrination



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 "Security in this office park is a joke. Last year I came to work with my spud-gun in a duffel bag. I sat at my desk all day with a rifle that shoots potatoes at 60 pounds per square inch. Can you imagine if I was
deranged?"--Dwight Schrute of The Office


As I mentioned in my last post here, I must make a course correction if I don't want my kids to grow up thinking corporate life is one big hump-fest after another.

Hence, I emailed Sue, a former coworker whose kids turned out super cool. Her daughter joined the Peace Corps as a teacher to kids is Rwanda, and her son is an architect. Granted, a few years ago she swore they just wanted to be college students forever (which I actually find really awesome—as long as I’m not paying the bill), and her daughter debated for awhile whether to be a plumber and her son a professional snowboarder (again, what could be cooler?) But she’s always been in a win-win situation with them.

So I wrote her in desperation: “Will you parent my kids? I want them to grow up like your kids! Tell me your parenting tips and secrets when you get time, ok? I'm not joking.” And let’s just say that I never ask other moms for advice on parenting. Like, never.

She sent me her son’s blog, which, seriously. Between throwing Sangria parties in Italy, apologizing for not getting his China trip blogged, taking amazing photos, and Seeing The World, one wonders how or when he’ll get or has a job, but who the hell CARES when you consider the Big Picture called Life. And Cubeville isn’t Life; cubeville is....what’s the word…pergatory. Between life and death. A place where people go between college and retirement for 40+ years. Egads!

Sue wrote me back. Her advice was slightly esoteric, but then, parenting ain’t no Paint By Numbers shindig. You’re gonna fuckup a few things. You’re gonna be dead-on sometimes. There can be a very fine line between the two. However, we must try, right?

This is why I am sharing her goddess-status wisdom with my scarce but gentle readership.

SO! Listen up if you don’t want your kids to become Corporate Monkies:

Sue’s Secret Tips and Tricks:
  • BOTH spent so much time with me at the office when I had to work late, that neither of them ever want office jobs.
  • They both just fell into the really cool end of the gene pool, and I encouraged them to explore their latent hippie instincts.
  • You never bring your kids to the office on a fun day.  If you do, they think it’s like that every day.  I think I only had one kid participate one time in “bring your kid to work day.”  After that, she never wanted to do it again.
  • My son was suspended for a day for improper badge wearing.  I made him come and sit at my desk ALL day, even past the school’s dismissal time.  He did NOT think that was fun.
  • My daughter kept Froot Loops in her locker all 4 years to eat between classes.
What can we make of this?

Obviously, doling out Froot Loops is a win-win. And the locker idea--brilliant! See, I was sort of a goody-goody in high school like Sue's daughter. I'm on the cool end of the gene pool, too (whatever that means) and yet I ended up a Corporate Monkey.

All of it stems from this: I got a detention junior year. The reason was typed out on a form note and mailed to my parents. It states the reason (I still have it in my memory book): "For chewing gum after being warned that same period for eating a vanilla wafer."

See the difference? She snuck Froot Loops between classes from her locker. I was a dumbass and ate a vanilla wafer right there in the library. In short, cleverness was missing. Plus, my mom was a teacher, and my dad didn't work in an office either. How, then, was I to know how frigging dull it would be? It was a wake up call after college graduation, to walk through gray-carpeted hallways, under the eye of fluorescent lighting and watch people do the Thorazine shuffle all day. Hell, I thought office life meant glamorous business trips, fun coworkers and meaningful work.

Immediately, I emailed HR. There's this day called Bring Your Daughter To Work Day. Now, in these enlightened times, it's called "Child" so little boys aren't discriminated against. But companies quit sponsoring these days, because, seriously. Who wants other people's brats around all day long? Which is what HR emailed back to me, in more diplomatic linguistics, of course.

But I would love to have my kids sit in on a 2 hour meeting discussing template standards in document footers, as I did yesterday. I will and must find some way to show them a glimpse into The Office.

Truth Shall Prevail!

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