"Mom, when are you going to get fired?"
I'm not the only working mom out there who gets to hear whining complaints from their kids that they work too much. My daughter, however, has skipped the whining and now just gets direct to the point, eager to see a pink slip of some sort.
I'm also not the only mom who explains in no uncertain terms that my job is a huge part of our livelihood. That should be the end of the story there. But no. I mean, the employment status banter is really all fine and dandy. I'll chalk that up to the life of a working parent... mostly.
It was this comment that I couldn't dismiss so easily: "What are you even doing all day? You just stare at a computer the whole time. It's just so boring!".
Well, it's true. I do spend a lot of time behind a computer, but boring couldn't be further from the truth. A day in the life of an Atlassian Consultant at Isos is always a different mix of clients, challenges and adventures in all matters Atlassian and team. A dream job for me, but dang, she sure can't tell.
So since I'm also not the only mom who can turn out a rant-y, 8-year-old-defening lecture that gets tuned out quicker than a bad YouTube video (or is it the really bad ones that they love, I don't get it), I had to ponder a bit. How can I help her to see what my job is really like. And then it hit me... Family Town.
Family Town is a month-long program weaved into the curriculum at my daughter's school. Kids in her class, ages 5 - 9, are broken out into teams ("families") and with the assistance of their teachers ("grandparents") they work through the challenges of running/being a family - grocery shopping, budgeting, working, etc. Plain and simple, it's all about teamwork. And hello, Atlassian is all about team! So I knew that if I could tie in what I do to family town she'd get it. And she did! Well mostly. Officially, she promoted her opinion from boring to somewhere between boring and awesome. I'll take it.
If you're interested in the full interview, listen here and enjoy the background sounds of working from a patio in Maui - working virtually has its rewards. For all others short on time or sound waves here's the gist:
me: Now imagine if family town happened every day and the people on your team lived all over the world. How would you be able to get everything done?
Aves: Oh that would be tough decisions
me: How do you talk to people who are not in the same room as you? How do you think they would do it?
Aves: Computers, technology
me: Now, imagine that you're the teacher and instead of one classroom of 30 kiddos, there are a bunch of classrooms with 500 kids. How would you know how the families are all doing?
Aves: Oh my gawd
me: The people I work with are just like you. They're trying to figure out things just like family town, but with business problems. And I get to help them. What do you think?
Aves: I think (what you do all day) it's in between boring and awesome. So it would be "bor-esome"
I'm certainly glad I scratched that itch to explain my work in 8 year old terms, but not because I got this fun little blog post and a step closer in swaying Ave's opinion on my career or helping her see me as an example of someone who goes for their dream job. I'm glad I did it because, dang I don't think I realized just how much my little one loves her mama, especially listening to that playback, my goodness. So I must say that if you're a mom, dad or auntie or what have you out there whose loved ones accuse you of needing to get fired or of having a boring job, its great news! They probably just love you to a million pieces.