The Path to a Strong Work Ethic Begins with Going to Work…with Mom and Dad

My parents are two of the hardest working people I know. My mom was a public high school English teacher for over 30 years. My dad was a CPA after a period of time co-owning a grain elevator with my uncle and also teaching. I have fond memories of going to work with both of my parents.

There was a time when they were both teaching adult education. I remember spending time in their classrooms writing on the chalkboards, reading books, watching the television which had cable (which we did not have then), and even ordering pizza from the Domino’s that was right next door. In my mom’s early days at Hillsdale High School, she was a class advisor. This meant that I had the chance to go with her as she helped to build floats for homecoming and admire the older teenagers who seemed so terribly grown up and impressive to me when I was seven and eight.

What I remember most was loving the environment. There was something fun about watching my parents in their element. It was fun to be “behind the scenes” at off hours seeing them in action. They took their commitments to their roles very seriously and gave 110%. They were modeling a work ethic that imprinted strongly on me.

Similarly, my daughter, MacKenzie, enjoys coming to work with me now. Of course, the Filene work environment is one that provides stimulation and joy for nearly everyone, but especially for a seven-year-old. After her singing lessons on Mondays, her dad occasionally drops her off to spend an hour or two before I head home. She swings on our swings, she draws pictures for me, she greets and chats with my colleagues, and she watches movies. On a recent Monday this December she asked, “Mommy, can I come to work with you every Monday?”

This week was a pretty quiet week at the office. One of my colleagues, Elry, and I planned a day when he would bring his son and I would bring MacKenzie. They both love the Nintendo Switch and had played together before. They played together while we continued to accomplish good work on behalf of credit unions.

From the moment MacKenzie woke up that day, she was ready. She wanted to be the first one to arrive at the office and rushed through her routine (which she can at times struggle to move through on a regular day) to ensure we could get to work quickly. She ran into the office with enthusiasm and was thrilled when Elias arrived to join her. While we usually have restrictions on screen time, this day meant that she could indulge in time on her Nintendo Switch without any time constraints. Elias taught her new tricks and techniques for Minecraft. Elry took the two of them to get pizza at lunch.

When it was time to leave, she was devastated. She did not want to the day to end. She did not want to go home. She asked me several times, “When can I come back?” She was so tired after the day that she fell asleep on the way home that evening.

Not every career or job is well suited for bringing children to work. I feel very lucky to not only have a role that allows for that occasional treat, but also a culture in our organization that embraces a work/life synergy that makes these moments possible.  

Spending time with my parents at work had meaning for me. It helped to shape my work ethic. It helped me to bond with them both. It cemented my passion for finding a career that brings you joy and so much energy that it doesn’t feel like work. I am hopeful that spending time at work with me creates a long-lasting impact for my daughter as well. 

As I work, I also mother and hopefully continue to become the mom MacKenzie will remember well into the future. I hope one day I have the opportunity to see her taking her child to work. 

What are your experiences of going to work with your parents or bringing your kids to work? 


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