Not one of my children offered to host me for Bring In Your Parents Day. With the five of them gainfully employed, you would think my chances were above average for such an invitation, right? But no: nada.
Bring In Your Parents Day is an idea conceived by the social media site LinkedIn. Marking its fourth year on Nov. 4, it was envisioned as a riff off the now ubiquitous Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day in April, when we let our kids tag along to observe how we earn the moolah that pays for their kibbles and clothes. (It also has become an unofficial day off from school, but that’s beside the point.)
Switching roles and inviting parents to adult childrens’ offices is one way of helping the older generation figure out exactly how our offspring spend their time and talent in this ever-evolving workplace. To wit: social media editor and web developer weren’t around when I launched my career, yet they’re now the most sought-after people in journalism.
LinkedIn, for the uninitiated, connects people to each other professionally. Think of it as a virtual networking event. So connecting the generations seems a natural offshoot, a way of building up professional contacts.
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In its online toolkit, Bring in Your Parents Day — henceforth referred to as #BIYP in a nod to our acronym-loving and hashtag-friendly times — tugs at the heartstrings, namely that secret tender spot of parents who simply want their children to call them more often. (No, wait, let me take that back. We want our kids to call not because they need us to do something for them but just to say hello. Quality over quantity, in other words.)
#BIYP therefore is a global one-day HEY! WASSUP?
Also: "A chance to say thanks... and to learn from the best," according to the #BIYP sign-up page. "Your parents are a great source of career advice and have provided you with countless words of wisdom throughout the years. How often do you take a moment to say thanks for their advice and encouragement?"
While I haven’t received formal thanks from anyone, I’ve learned that gratitude can come in many guises. At least once a week I serve as sounding board for a venting adult child. Sometimes I’m asked, straight up, for advice, other times for ballast and comfort. In my book, that’s a vote of confidence.
The #BIYP website, by the way, also includes a template for an actual letter of invitation in case the clueless parent doesn’t use email or social media. For the benefit of my own children, I want to publicly note that I’m completely, absolutely, totally social media savvy, thanks to the endless training provided by my employer.
At any rate, the idea behind #BIYP is genius. I know very little about what my children do when they go off to work — surprisingly well-dressed and coiffed, too! Their jobs have little in common with mine. Except for my daughter who’s a social worker (and there’s some of that altruism in journalism, to be sure), my four sons work in the business/finance sectors, two as CPAs, one as an actuary and another in development and acquisition of commercial real estate.
Surely I would get valuable insight into their jobs with a #BIYP visit. Hint, hint.
But no worries. There’s always next year, and now that I’ve publicly embarrassed them, I expect an invite. Or an evite. I will FaceTime, Skype, Facebook messenger, SnapChat or tweet my acceptance.