Why Mommy Types
Krista Foxwell, Senior Account Executive
My job became real for my daughters on April 26 during Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work® Day, celebrated in the U.S. on the last Thursday of April. This public education program, administered by the Ms. Foundation, helps children connect what they learn at school with the working world.
After just five hours, while their understanding of mommy’s job still consists of typing, they now realize everyone else at Waggener Edstrom types too. But it was more than typing last Thursday; it was making the connection for them about why mommy types, what she does when she drops us at school, and why she sometimes needs to type as she is cooking dinner. The experience made them understand what a job is and what a business is and how these concepts fit into our family and our community. Beyond all that deep insight, they realized there are more sweets served at work than in school. For them, that was the No. 1 reason they wanted to come back on Friday. My youngest, Lindsay, asked, “Do you get doughnuts every day?” To that my oldest, Tabatha, responded, “Lindsay, they could never afford that!”
All in all, the experience was fantastic and well worth the day off school. While it began with tears from both of them as I hesitated about bringing them to work, it ended in new friendships, a sugar high and a new appreciation for my typing. My biggest fears at 8 a.m.: “What in the world are they going to do? How will I keep them quiet? Will they disturb my colleagues? And what will they say if they run into Pam Edstrom?!” Shockingly, all those fears disappeared as soon as we walked in the door. Senior Admin Assistant Julie Kather was immediately resourceful and grabbed the large easel pads. The walking track that encircles the interior walls of WE’s Portland office became their canvas, and they began to get comfortable. They’ve been here before, but only after work hours – popping in to grab my power cord or my forgotten lunch bag.
About half an hour later, Operations Clerk Amy Hellickson put them to work and they loved every minute of it. Delivering morning papers, cleaning the kitchens, and — a true highlight — testing the dry erase markers created a lot of entertainment for a nine-year-old and a six-year-old (as she would say, “almost seven”). During paper delivery they met a new friend — Olivia McDonald. She was at work with her mom, Account Director Susie McDonald, and within minutes an instant friendship was formed. This was Olivia’s second Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work® Day and together the three of them become a well-oiled business group. With “a partner in crime,” they roamed the halls like a gang of cool kids. With office access card key in hand they rode the elevator, skipped along the walking track and determined they would have a lot more dishes to do after lunch. Lindsay exclaimed, “Did you see all the people who work here? We are going to have a lot of dishes to do after everyone eats!” But what was most exciting to watch was their desire to stay as the hours ticked away because they understood their “jobs” needed to be finished.
This, I believe, was the most important message of the day — they had a job to do that needed to be finished. As they went to bed that night we talked about all the fun they had and they summed it up by saying, “I wish I worked at Waggener Edstrom.” Now, when I’m typing during dinner or heading to catch an early flight to Seattle, they understand what I do, why I do it, and how it all fits together. I’m so grateful for the day; it started with tears and ended with smiles and, more importantly, an understanding I could never have explained to them (even though I’ve tried many, many times!).