Sunday, January 15, 2006


Including your kids in your work

One of the things I’ve really appreciated about Robert Scoble’s blog is when he posts about how he involves his son, Patrick, in his work life. Granted, he doesn’t bring him to work everyday, but when he is out and about, meeting folks, etc, his son is right there with him. He is actively involving Patrick in the technology world, broadening his world, and letting him find his own way.

Now, Robert’s world is a little different than the normal person (ie – you and I), but there is something there that we all can learn – involve your kids in your world. As mobile professionals, we are all over the place. We go to customer sites, trade shows, we meet with people who are impacting the world and making decisions regarding the technology that ultimately ends up in our homes and businesses. By including our kids in our work world, they are making good contacts, they learn how to properly behave in meetings, they are seeing technology at work, and they are gaining an insight that most kids won’t get until they get out of college. Now here is the real gain – it gives you and your kids something to talk about. “Say, Dad, were you able to fix that problem we were working on a ABC company? How did you fix it?”

Practically, how can you and I do this? Take your kid to a customer site and let him sit with you while you work. Explain to him what you are doing and why. Allow him (with your customer’s permission) to sit in on your meetings. When going to a conference, check in to minimum age requirements and take one of your kids along. Walk the trade show floor together, sit in on tech talks, etc. When the day is over, take him to dinner with your friends. What better way to train up your child in the business world!

In my opinion, I think your child needs to be at least 11 or 12.

Dax is already asking me to take him to CES next year. I need to find out the age issues, but I’m going to work hard to find a way. I have an NDA meeting next month in Redmond that I can’t take him to, but if it were not NDA and it were ok to bring him, I’d bring him in a heartbeat.

In the 1800’s, farmers involved their kids in all aspects of the work – they had to for labor purposes and it was the way they trained their kids to take over the farm. What is so different today that we can’t we cannot do the same.

You have been hanging around my parents, haven't you? :)

I realize the Heiny family is a bit of an exception in today's world, but Dad started taking me to work with him when I was 6 weeks old. Students who wanted to be teachers should at least know how to hold a baby, right? Our parents thought so too, so into their arms I went. Later, I became the official office paper shredder and once I could walk around the table the official collator (I couldn't even see the top of the table). My nephew and nieces grew up in the same situations... and you saw the how much the girls enjoyed talking with adults at CES -- at their own initiative.
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