Working parents are an essential part of not only today’s labor force, but in shaping the labor force of tomorrow. As working parents we have a unique skill set that enables us to add value in ways that others many not consider (see previous blog post). Additionally (and very obviously) the labor force contribution is increased because of our decision to stay in the work force in whatever fashion—as an executive, an individual contributor, or entrepreneur. That is no small point. Making and sticking to this decision requires sacrifice, team work, and a different type of energy. Kudos to you, working parents of America, for sharing your talents with the nation.
But the less direct contribution isn’t talked about as much—and that’s our role in building the labor force of tomorrow. We do this in many ways. Most obviously, we partner with our families, teachers, other parents (both those with careers and those who put their careers on hold) and our communities to teach and grow our kids who will become the labor force of tomorrow. As education funding dwindles, it will become increasingly important that working parents share their insights and talents to develop programs, inform of the types of opportunities that exist, teach, mentor and prepare the next generation for the rapidly changing work environment. (In fact, at the same time, these kids will also be teaching us! How many of you have asked your kids to teach you something about technology?)
As kids get into high school and college, working parents will need to give them opportunities as interns and entry-level hires. We will need to make sure to coach them through not only how to apply the technical skills they’ve lived, but common workplace manners, politics, and career development. These soft skills are hard to teach in a classroom. And of course, there will come a point when these kids won’t be kids—they will be adults, and they will be looking to us, their working parents, for advice and coaching on how to transition to working parenthood.
So kudos to working parents everyone. You are an important part of our country’s history—past, present and future. This day off is for YOU—now go enjoy it!