The White House announced with great fanfare that today, Thursday, April 27, is Take Your Daughter and Son To Work Day. (In the Trump regime, that’s every day, isn’t it?)
We’ve done that here at my office in the past, usually with kids who are middle to high school age so they can get an idea of what goes on behind the scenes to keep the school district running. I am sure that most of the kids find it less than interesting because it’s really hard to make bureaucracy cool. Trust me, I’ve tried putting a spin on budget transfers, transfers of expenditures (aka journal vouchers), and the other things that I do on a daily basis, and I can hear their eyes glazing over. Explaining the bigger picture — what we do does have an impact on what they see and do in the classroom — takes a bit of understanding beyond just numbers, records, and the glacial pace of how any corporate structure works.
However, one of the things school is intended to prepare students for is becoming a part of the workplace; learning the microcosms makes the macros work. This is true in everything from being a barista to a government number-cruncher, and while there may not seem to be much point to some of the mind-numbing tasks everyone in every job faces, finding out that there’s more to a job than just doing it is an important part of differentiating between a job and a career.
I spent last week among a lot of people who are doing what they love — theatre and writing — and who also have a job that they find fulfilling and does more than just provide an income to support their theatre habit. There seemed to be a symbiosis between art and income; they inform and enrich each other. Even great artists had to have some way of paying the rent. Charles Ives, a great American composer, sold insurance, as did Wallace Stevens, who won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry.
If you take your kid to work, I’m not promising an epiphany on how the world works, but they might learn that if you look hard enough or care enough, you can find art and fulfillment in just about anything.