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July 19, 2007

How do Kids See Our Careers?

According to Jared Sandberg’s article in the Wall Street Journal, to our kids our jobs are about talking and typing. One of my friends Steven Keith contacted me recently and told me he was in a Wall Street Journal article. The article and information’s all about discussing what your kids think you do all day. They have misconceptions and accuracies.

Let me just share my first thoughts. I mean my kids may be gleaning some of my entrepreneurial nature. A great part of my career coaching and advice often focuses on treating your career like you own your own business. So what do my kids think I do? Well they ask me and I tell them I help people. I don’t really get into the nuances of my mission of assisting people in moving toward their worklife mission instead of just a job but that’s part of what I get excited about after 16 years of doing this. I hope I don’t pass along any sense of entitlement because when one of my kids has come over to my office, I do what I do to my friends – I ask and expect them to work. Perhaps they learned what I learned at McDonald’s many years ago – If you have time to lean you have time to clean.

Now they have also asked for some office space to sell things like paper weights or art to my clientele. It’s early stage but look out for www.oconnorrocks.com which will be their online site to sell their artistic work. Painted rocks seem to be the rage and most recent entrepreneurial focus of my kids now. The lemonade stand didn’t do too well last weekend. Not enough traffic on our street.

Some of what I do is what my dad did and does today – write. Dad, you work a lot on your computer and talk on the phone. That’s part of what I do. It doesn’t sound that glamorous I guess. Dad, you don’t really do too many games on the computer do you? No, I guess not.

What I remember is that my dad taught people in classrooms. I remember playing with the curtain in the back of one of his classrooms. Way back then I think I sat next to someone who was smoking and watching people play Frisbee. The person and the class seemed to be gripped onto the Nabokov story my dad was evaluating but the early, early 70s were a time of Frisbee watching and smoking in public buildings. For work at home I remember my dad stomping on the floor from the second floor of our house of Curtis Avenue for quiet. Later, when I would walk into his office I would see drafts of stories, many number two pencils with bite marks all over them and hundreds of pages of typed and crossed out sentences. Stacks of papers everywhere and smell of Marlboro Lights.

One of my kids was certain that I played hockey for a living since I might jet off with my equipment to play at the Factory or Reczone. I think they thought I played on the Hurricanes. I couldn’t keep that image up for long!

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