Welcome to Reality, Kids
Usually, things don't go sideways at work until someone tries to (gasp) talk to me, but this morning, it got strange before I even got all the way into the building.
After I trudged in and reluctantly pushed the "elevator up" button, the doors to Elevator 2 open up and it's jam-packed with a mix of the usual adults and a surprise group of adorable little kids.
"Oops...I'll grab the next one!" I said fake-cheerfully while waiting the 3 1/2 eternities it takes an elevator door to close, this time with the added bonus of a bunch of kids staring at me with big, beautiful "who is that creepy man, Mommy?" bewilderment eyes.
Ding! "Bye kids!"
20 seconds later, another car arrives and...yep...another set of parents and kids and expressions that normally precede a "Stranger Danger!" shriek. This one was only half-full, and I was late for a meeting (as usual), so I ducked in.
I was only going up 3 floors, but when you're getting death-stared-at by little kids, it feels much longer. So I decide to break my personal protocol and Make Small Talk.
"So what's going on today?"
"It's Bring Your Child to Work Day!"
"Oh." (long pause) "Well, I guess my kids got screwed....." I said, ".....again."
Thankfully, the doors flung open to my floor before I had to listen to Daddy answer the little girl saying "What does 'screwed' mean?"
I missed the memo on Bring Your Child to Work Day. Maybe it was God's answer to my "stop with the holidays already" blog rant the other day. More likely, it was that I just suck at keeping track of things.
But it got me thinking: Would I even want my kids to come to work with me?
That kind of stuck in my craw because if you don't know me and/or haven't caught on by now, I have the utterly unglamorous privilege of warming a cubicle all day, and I pretty much dread it each and every day. And I don't even get a real cubicle, but the stupid open-office style of pretend cubicle that isn't even a cubicle at all. Much of my day revolves around sitting on display all day, staring blankly at a computer monitor waiting for the right words to come to me to help me convince huge companies they need to offer our style of wellness products to their employees or members.
Now...in and of itself, a solid, well-paying job in a corporate cubicle (or pretend cubicle) isn't the worst thing to model to your kids. But gnawing at my heart and soul hour after hour, day after day, and...yes....year after year now, I know God's purpose for me and my purpose for myself are not this. I don't know what they are yet, but they aren't corporate work.
It so often feels like I've failed. And, so when I think of "Bring Your Child to Work Day" I think the best thing that could come from doing that (if I ever got my shit together long enough to bring them) would be driving home with them that I really, really want them to dream bigger than I did and unabashedly pursue anything, and everything, that inspires them rather than taking the comfortable and safe way out or, worse yet, the dreaded Fall-back Option (which, in my case, was telephone customer service for an HMO).
Since I have to go somewhere with this train of thought: As it turns out, a lot of the kids from the elevator belonged to people from my office. I humored a couple by showing them the duck that sits in the window of our corporate headquarters lobby.
The duck mysteriously showed up there when the new office location opened a few years ago and "some anonymous employee" keeps putting quotes in its mouth (swapped out every couple days to weeks, depending on if the "anonymous employee" has his shit together and remembers). Today's quote was designed for the kids, and also was a good landing spot for all of the stuff I was thinking about above:
"Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better." (Maya Angelou)
The duck got a few new, colorful friends today. It was cool.