10 Reflections on bringing my 12yo son to work with me - for actual paid work - not just hanging out
1st 5 reflections are his (unedited!). (MD / 12yo)
2nd 5 reflections are mine. (AD-me)
I run an architecture studio, so tasks were assisting that for context. He's also never worked before (too young) and was keen to actually work and get paid for it - as opposed to hanging at the Studio.
(last day of his school hols, so took him in Friday morning yesterday).
1. MD - 'Plastic sleeves are so annoying!'
The grunt work involved organizing a lot of drawings into plastic sleeves fro projects. He is right - it is annoying!
2. MD - 'I liked when the paper went in just right'
This was unexpected - He'd found that by stacking t2 sheets, curving a little, shuffling, the static seemed to go away and they went in smoothly. A little optimization lesson. A little system lesson. A little trial and error lesson. Through experience
3. MD - 'I loved being with you all day Dad'
Yes it did bring tears to my eyes :)
4. MD - 'So cool to go the the basketball'
Unrelated. A mate of his was taking the boys to a Sydney Kings game later that night. He is 12 after all!
5. MD - 'Cash!'
This was good. We drive forever to find an ATM (rare now) so that on the spot, he could see the fruits of his labour. More than washing the dog! 3.25 hours grunt, reward for afternoon
6. AD - Loved spending time with my Son
Very very satisfying. Was I productive? not even remotely. But great lessons being imparted.
7. AD - Loved teaching the value of hard work - through hard work
When he got his cash, he looked around at a lolly shop and made a joke - I could blow all this right now! which he would have with my iPhone. But I simply said: Mate, you've earned it, so you can do what you want with it. followed by: there was a a-lot of grunt with those plastic sleeves to get that cash - do you want to spend it all now? Would it have been worth it?
He kept on walking.
8. AD - Loved showing through the actual day to day - that there is a lot of tedium behind the glitzy final product images
He is proud of my work, as am I, but they all see the fruits of labour - ie - magazines etc for a glitzy building. But the reality os - 5 years of explosive paper and models and cardboard and negotiations before hitting site. I liked that he saw it is 'tedius' and 'disciplined' for me too.
9. AD - Loved watching him problem solve
He was looking at the tasks. Got markers out on the whiteboard. Made a table. Projects, Folders, Sleeves, Print, Check Done. Really impressed! Also loved letting him know that even though he is only 15% through what we set - myself, and my team, can pick this up on Monday morning - so you have helped the wider team. That is teamwork. Helping. Chipping away.
10. AD - Loved seeing the satisfaction on his face
He literally undid his top button and took off his tie at 12:30pom in the car to take him back to Mum ( my wife). He got dressed up - buttoned shirt, Hawaiian shorts, skate shoes, and a novelty tie.
I have never work a tie since I was 18 in high-school - black, jeans, black trainers, black t-shirt - yes the cliche.
But it looked so satisfying at the end of a work day... I might just start...