With the COVID-19 pandemic finally easing up, companies are bringing employees back into the office and gradually resuming business as usual. An annual event that was just gaining momentum before shelter-in-place is finally back, and this year is going to be better than ever!
What is Take Our Grown Daughters & Sons To Work Day?
Take Our Grown Daughters & Sons To Work Day (TOGDSTWD) is an annual event that gives grown daughters and sons, who are technically adults but still live with their parents, a glimpse into the “grown-up” world. Through this hands-on, immersive experience, these young adults can begin to imagine a life in which they, too, would hold down a steady 9-to-5 salary-type job, and actually move out and live on their own. A parent takes his or her grown offspring in to the office or other place of employment and allows them to “shadow” actual employees as they go about their traditional working roles. In addition, numerous fun activities are hosted, depending on what resources a company has to devote to the event.
When is TOGDSTWD?
This year’s event occurs on Thursday, April 28—the same as the traditional Take Our Daughters & Sons To Work Day. This way, adult offspring can see actual children attending as well, and perhaps feel the slight stirrings of embarrassment that they’re really in the same boat, despite no longer being students.
How does Take Our Grown Daughters & Sons To Work Day create a fairer, more equitable world?
This annual event helps inspire our adult offspring to “launch”—i.e., take charge of their lives and eventually become a nation of homeowners and economy-boosters, instead of malingering with gig-economy nowhere jobs while their degrees get stale. Parents: imagine a world where nobody borrows your car all the time and returns it with an empty gas tank!
Can everybody participate?
Parents will need to check with their employers about whether their offspring can participate. If you work for the CIA, or in a surgical operating room, or as an Air Force pilot, it may be difficult to accommodate your son or daughter. On the other hand, for positions in manufacturing or mining, it can be easier to participate than with traditional Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, because no child labor laws apply!
I work from home. Can I still take part?
Yes, though it will be trickier. See what kind of support is in place now that teleworking is so widespread. Your toughest job will be to keep your adult child from getting drawn in by all the distractions in your home—though frankly, that’s a big part of your own job too, is it not? Meanwhile, TOGDSTWD is a great chance to emphasize to your offspring that just because they’ve seen you fall asleep at your desk watching webinars, they can’t expect to get away with that … after all, it took you years to get where you are.
I am coordinating this event for my company. Can you suggest some fun activities?
Yes! Below are a variety of ideas for making this day a big hit with parents and their adult children alike.
Career Exploration Panel – Company employees host a panel on how to break into the adult work world. The twist is, all panelists are people who got a slow start, spending years as waiters or baristas before getting their acts together. They will describe how they spun their limited work experience into a workable résumé and talk track, and managed to insinuate themselves into corporate America. What better way to give hope to the “Lost Generation 2.0!”
Career-Themed Coloring Books – At first your adult child may feel insulted, but this isn’t like the coloring they did in preschool, where they were encouraged to explore their artistic side by going outside the lines. This exercise is all about staying within the lines, to explore what it’s like to simply do something the way “the man” says. This is a fun way to build a skill that is so important for these young college grads.
“Kids” Cook-Off – This is a great one if your offices have a kitchen or cafeteria. In this twist on the original child-oriented concept (where parents cook, kids vote, and everyone grabs a fork), it’s the adult children who cook—and actual meals, not just Top Ramen and box mac ‘n’ cheese. Parents vote on what turned out best, and the top prize is getting to eat that (as opposed to the loss-leader entrees). Best of all, the young adults do all the cleanup! This is to teach these not-quite-fledged offspring that there’s more to daily sustenance than Mom’s home cooking and Uber Eats.
Have Your Offspring Interview You – Chances are your adult child has already been through plenty of mock interviews (which obviously didn’t help). But this time, he or she interviews you, the parent/breadwinner. It’s been so long since you were actually interviewed, you might find this a challenge ... especially with the tough questions your kid will throw at you. This activity is all about parents building empathy for their adult children’s difficult journey.
Record-a-Video Contest – This is a simple concept: throughout the event, parents are challenged to make videos of the activities, and at the end of the day they submit them to a panel of judges. There will be prizes for both Best Video and Most Videos. The offspring, meanwhile, must surrender their phones upon arrival at the event. This way, the tables are turned and the adult children can witness how annoying it is for somebody else to be buried in their phone instead of paying attention.
Quiz: What Do Your Parents Do for a Living? – This one is guaranteed to be a hoot. As many times as you’ve explained your career to your kid, it’ll become obvious they weren’t paying attention, and their guesses can be comically inane. Here are some surprising answers from last year’s event:
- “You, um, take a lot of calls…”
- “You work on that … that application thingie, that system … whatever the thing is that gives people internet.”
- “It’s either marketing, or program manager. Maybe both?”
- “You coordinate … stuff.”
- “Something with databases, CCRs or CRMs or something? Basically tracking things in some way?”
- “Some kind of techie thing, involving meetings where people try to sound smart to themselves.”
Business Email Workshop – Toward the end of TOGDSTWD, the adult sons and daughters will each write an email to the organizers describing their experience. Then they’ll work with their parents to polish the email until it’s “business grade.” This means turning phrases into complete sentences, adding capitalization, and most of all changing the tone from offhand and dismissive (e.g., “to2ly lame, waste of time”) to earnest and professional (e.g., “I felt the day was extremely useful in terms of helping me discover the vast possibilities available to me to have a meaningful career that helps me grow personally, while building a better future for everyone”).
Is there an Excused Absence form I can download to get my adult child out of his shift at the coffee shop?
Unfortunately, it’s not as easy to excuse an adult from a service sector job as to excuse a child from school. After all, we’re trying to poach from these businesses’ already diminishing workforce. At least gig workers will have no good excuse to skip the event!
The event website merchandise catalog offers a “Hydration Water Bottle.” Is this the same thing as a water bottle?
We really struggled with this, actually. It’s not completely correct to call it a water bottle, because you could put just about any beverage in it. On the other hand, “hydration bottle” just sounds weird. So we went with Hydration Water Bottle. Note that the contents of the bottle could be hot, so be careful.
Can I donate money to the Take Our Grown Daughters & Sons To Work Foundation?
Absolutely, donations are always welcome and in fact are what make this program go! Unfortunately, we are not able to accept checks, credit cards, PayPal, Venmo, or Zelle at this time. Program liaisons are available to collect cash contributions and provide receipts. Please note that docents never have more than $200 on their persons to make change.
Is this program a great way to make a change?
Please see above.