Do you pay to work here?

Friday was Take Your Kids to Work Day at my place of employment.

My son was having a great time with the jumbo-Jenga in our office, and got a small cut on his finger.

As we stood at the first-aid kit, selecting from seven band-aid types, he asked, “Do you pay to work here?”

He’d seen the free snacks, imbibed the free juice, met the nice people, and jumped on the chairs with wheels (his favorite past time).

He’d seen me sit in a meeting room and talk, which didn’t seem overly difficult.

In his mind, people would have to pay to get this kind of gig.

At first I smiled and laughed, as I explained to him…”No, they pay me to work here.”

“How come everyone doesn’t work here then? I would work here,” he said.

“Ah…that thing we talk about…you know, school? That’s why it’s so important. You don’t have to pay to work here, but you pay your dues to be able to qualify to work here. For them to even consider letting you work here, you put years and years of energy into your education. You take risks. You sacrifice. You try really, really hard. And, you keep showing up for yourself when you think you can’t anymore.”

That conversation by the first-aid kit made me appreciate my job, my workplace. We’ve been through a lot of change in the past couple of years, and many employees are struggling to see how what they contribute is making a difference. The company is evolving in all sorts of ways, and we’re feeling the fatigue of transition. It’s easy to see what isn’t right. Or, notice what used to be there (or who used to be there) and isn’t any more. When we start looking at those things, it’s like we put on the blinders race-horses wear to keep focused on the track.

Those blinders keep us from seeing the whole picture.

My son saw the other things that day…he saw all the good things. All the things he imagined I’d have to pay admission to be part of.

Some days at work are harder than others. Some days, I have the blinders on. Those are the days I’ll look at my workplace through his eyes. And, I bet it will be a great day.


  1. Thank you for sharing! This post made me smile. Not having children myself, I’m not privy of seeing the world through a child’s eyes, and it’s so refreshing!

  2. Happy to share any and all moments like these along the way. I agree, it is refreshing. Sometimes he offers a perspective I never would have considered. How is it that we come to accept the ‘way life works’ so easily, without even realizing.

  3. I really needed this today. After having 2 coworkers just up and quit last week with no notice which made the week really hard for those left to take up the slack, it’s easy to get lost in the negative view of the week instead of the big picture. This made me stop and try to focus on the positive things. Thank you cuz!

    1. Wow, no doubt that is a hard situation to have to pick up the slack. I know your company is lucky to have you and your strong work ethic. Remember you can only do what you can do. And, hopefully, you’ll continue to focus on the positive aspects to pull yourself through. It’s pretty amazing how much control we have to switch the lens, but I know this experience on Friday was a wake-up call for me.

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