Thursday, April 26, 2012

W is for work, to which I took my daughter

It's "Take your children (formerly take your daughters) work day. My employer, AVI-SPL, invited us to participate with our children. Given the greater presence men still have in the workplace, part of me wishes this were still a day for just girls, but it's still a worthy idea to let our children see another part of our lives. I do think it's important for girls to see the workplace as an option for them and am very disappointed that they can't have something for themselves. To not allow special opportunities for girls is, in my mind, an ill-advised commitment to formal equality as opposed to actual equality.

As an AV project engineer, my actual work activity isn't all that much fun to watch. Most of my day is spent sitting at a computer drawing on a CAD program. We do have more "hands-on" parts of the operation with our in-house fabrication and testing, fancy equipment in a couple of video-conference rooms, and a sense of how we work together as a team to get our collective jobs done. Someone at AVI-SPL also came up with the clever idea of creating an "autograph" sheet for the children to get the signatures of all of our local employees. This was a nice way to make introductions and explain what everyone does. When I was young, the grown-up world of "work" was a complete mystery to me. It's nice to make it something else.

Was this a successful experiment? On the down-side, most people's schedules and situations didn't allow them to bring kids. In fact, aside from Chloe the was only other participant was our general manager's nine-year-old daughter. They got along quite well, but it would have been nice to have a broader range of kids to interact with. The best part? That it's a different kind of moment we got to share. Will it give her an example of what the workplace is like, give her inspiration to try her hands at the field of technology, or teach her any other life lessons? Perhaps not. But one can't mistake her pleasure in  getting to take the trip into work with me, and mine at sharing a moment with my daughter.

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