Good luck impressing her with a parents’ day at the office.
USA Today recently did a story about LinkedIn and other companies who are holding Bring in Your Parents to Work Day and similar events. The idea is to help Boomer parents understand what their Millennial kids do for a living—particularly those employees involved in social media and tech jobs that didn’t even exist back in the day.
We took a look at a sample schedule and saw all kinds of red flags for companies that employ Southerners. In the spirit of cooperation, we offer these helpful tips and insights:
Suggested: Welcome reception with refreshments
The Mama Factor: Okay, you’re off to a good start. Food is always the right way to go. But don’t come at Mama with some random smattering of chicken roll-ups and cheese doodles ordered from a supermarket, served on plastic trays, and scattered over a conference table. No, no, no. There should be a well-planned color scheme with coordinating linens, serving pieces (NO PLASTIC!!), and tasteful centerpieces. No grocery store flowers. And we shudder to think what will happen if you try to serve Mama beer from a can—or at all. Reception beverages should be chilled, served from cut-glass bowls or crystal pitchers, and properly garnished. If Mama spots even a hint of “tacky,” she will write you off as a low-rent outfit unsuitable to employ her offspring.
Suggested: Presentations and panel discussions by the CEO, managing directors, etc.
The Mama Factor: While the young executives are setting forth their vision for the future, the endless possibilities of digital platforms, and the power of social media to dramatically expand the customer base and develop profitable brand extensions, Mama will be thinking: Who on earth wears jeans to a reception—or the office? Where is his tie? Where are her Silk Reflections? What on earth is an SEO and how will it enable Junior up there behind that podium to keep Baby Girl in the style to which she has become accustomed, thanks to her Daddy? That would be the same Daddy who wore a suit and tie, carried a brief case, drove a luxury automobile, and never biked to work a day in his life.)
Suggested: A group activity
The Mama Factor: Mama doesn’t fall backward into strangers’ arms to build trust, nor is she interested in doing group Sun Salutes or Tree Poses in her suit and heels. She does not do “share time.” Mama will ask about your family over a glass of iced tea or a well-chilled Chardonnay, but none of this touchy-feely New Age business. Mama “just doesn’t go along with that.”
Suggested: Tour the workplace
The Mama Factor: Where are the plush executive offices with oxblood leather office chairs—the ones Baby Girl should aspire to and already deserves? For that matter, where are the walls? And why are there dog bowls in the employee lounge? Is this a hunting facility?
Suggested: Networking reception
The Mama Factor: Mama doesn’t “network.” Mama has what appears, on the surface, to be polite conversation, at the end of which she will have discovered where you were born; who your parents and grandparents are; whether she is related to any of them; where you go to church; and whether you have decent manners and were raised right. Following this little chat (aka interrogation), she will determine whether you are “good people” or “a little different.” Score a “good people,” and Mama will ensure that Baby Girl gives this place 125 percent. Land on “a little different?” We’ll put you in touch with a good recruiter.