Surprise! I’ve been working from home… along with more than half the world. You know who else has been working from home? My three kids. Non-stop. Unrelenting… Help me!
The Sharpie graffiti on the fireplace was interesting, but not cohesive with the brand. Marketing has been unable to take it down (Tony scrubbed for hours). During their monthly review, I let them know watching Phineas & Ferb was not a relevant performance metric. I’ve worked to teach my kids better self-management, empowering them to take ownership of their work. But it’s unprofessional to share an office and still be in your pajamas by noon, playing the Harry Potter soundtrack without coworker consent, or yelling for breakfast when they could email. Plus, all attempts to use the cat as a stapler must stop! Just because I’m their manager (er… parent), I should not need to schedule meetings and organize work priorities for them.
It is an HR nightmare with no concept of personal boundaries. One sits right next me to belch the alphabet while I’m on a spreadsheet. Another raids the office refrigerator, using an entire stick of butter marked with my name—just for one bowl of popcorn. I’ve been in a staff Zoom meeting when someone crawls into my lap to snuggle. Maxine has been with us four years, she should have read the policy manual. No matter how often I file a complaint, Human Resources is ineffective with my kids. I reported it to our COO and she said, “I have a teenager, get over it.”
You can often fix performance issues by outsourcing to the Grandparent’s office. But there is currently a freeze on internships. At this time, recruiting for new children is not an option as in-person interviews are a must. On rare occasion, I regret offering room and board as part of the benefits package. Yet, in all honesty, this goes beyond overseeing their academic experience, it is an opportunity to guide them in real world adulting.
I know my real job to help our kids become collaborators for the future of our family and the wider community we serve. With patience and a little bit more hands-on and heart-felt management, I have seen gradual performance improvements such as: washing dishes, feeding the donkeys, and mocking up graphic designs on whiteboards instead of the masonry. Maybe one day, in their career as professional humans, they can be promoted to greater responsibility. And even, we can only hope, understand the cat is not a stapler.
See You On The Virtual Office,
Founder & Mom
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