One of my favourite movie lines of all time is from Austin Powers:
“There's only two things I hate in this world. People who are intolerant of other people's cultures and the Dutch.”
This cracks me up every time I hear it. Why? Because I have a stupid sense of humour and because it’s so typical of what people actually think.
Here is my version of this:
Two things that really frustrate me: organizations that aren’t more flexible and tolerant of their employees’ family obligations and organization’s that don’t say anything when employees bring their kids into work.
I’m a family woman. I have kids. I have responsibilities, challenges, and obligations both at work and at home. But damned if I want to work beside someone’s 4-year old who is amusing himself by eating a constant supply of candy and playing maracas with the staplers because you have no sitter/ there’s no school/ they are sick/ they are suspended.
If you are someone who does bring their kids to the office, let me share a few tidbits with you:
- You are not being productive, and in fact, you are distracting everyone else with your constant “shushes” and “mommy/daddy said not to touch that”
- This is a professional environment – a child slumped half off the chair, spinning it around and around while playing his DS is not professional
- You child is not as cute/ funny/ sweet/ precocious as you think they are
- Your child is not being as quiet as you think they are being
- Almost everyone around you, even though they are smiling and not saying anything, is pissed off that you brought your kid in to work. You know who is the most pissed off? Those that have kids.
I believe that companies need to help and support their employees so that they can deal with situations that require them to take care of their families, but should that extend to bringing your child in to hang out for the day? I don’t think so. That’s where family care days, personal leave days, or working from home can comes in.
Companies need to be flexible, not foolish.