My father comes home everyday after work and takes a nap. His job always tires him out, especially after long days of sitting in his cubicle. He’s told me many times what he actually does, but I haven’t really listened to them. I remember, the one time I went to Bring Your Kid to Work Day, I spent the entire time doodling because his computer work seemed so boring to me. Since that day, I always imagined working in front of a computer like him all day would be like accounting, the most boring thing in the world. After I talked to my dad further, I learned that to him the computer work made sense, and not only that but he enjoys the computer simulations at his work. Understanding and figuring out the problems all requires experience that deals with the multi-dimensional, space and time. He says “it’s like figuring out puzzles...you need to know what all the piece are and know about how the pieces perform… and you need to understand all the concepts in order to put it together the solutions to these puzzles.” I have never been a major fan of puzzles, I would much rather create my own picture from scratch, or admire the difficult puzzles done by someone else. I think it’s the same way with my father’s job, I don’t think sitting behind a computer is for me, but I respect that he does it.
This past year as a junior, I had many things to think about, college and career type things to think about. One thing in particular that I couldn’t help but notice when I thought about my future career, was that all of the majors and job-fields I chose to look at were all very different from my families. My brother and sister are working towards environmental and chemical engineering degrees, respectively. My mother has a masters in English and works for a private school. And my father works as a engineer st Ford, or rather, a Aerodynamics Technical Specialist. My entire family is very book-smart and scientific, and yet I grow up wanting to be a baker or a writer or in theater production. I have chosen art classes over science classes, a decision my sister might have seen as sinister. I wonder how this happened, as the youngest child, why did I not inherit my family’s trait of grammar and science? I learned that my father had a similar situation. He told me that neither his Father nor his Mother had major influence on his preferred job. He was the first person in his family to finish and graduate college, his father was salesmen and his mother was a housewife. Growing up in the Grand Rapids area, my dad was surrounded by farming communities, but he decided not to become a farmer. My dad said that what did help him in his decision was what he was exposed to in school. He talked about how his school gave him the educational materials, such as computers, that gave him interests that followed him into his college life. Over the past two decades, access to resources, education, and colleges have become more available for everyone, especially in the first world. College is where my father gained an education that allows him to pursue his computer interests and become proud of the degree that he earned.
Growing up with my father, I have come to understand the importance of earning things. I was always taught “respect isn’t given, it’s earned.” by my dad. Yet, lately in the job market, people are expecting companies to give them respect before they have shown that they are a worthy employee. There has been a noticeable change in companies, or whom I call the millennial companies. These are the businesses that are shown in movies such as The Intern or The Circle, they have the image of a chill boss and the workspace is very, super open. In these millennial companies, cubicles are taken away and offices are made out of windows in the attempt to give the employees a better ability to cooperate and communicate with their coworkers. More and more people are entering the job market and looking for jobs such as these at companies like Google or Facebook. My father told me that back on the day, that office spaces used to be laid out in a similar ways with rows of desks where everyone could walk around and chit-chat with each other, but then companies added cubicles, and then they added offices. And now companies are taking those things away to make their workspaces more open, and to inspire cooperation.
There are many benefits to the open layout of workspaces, but there are some problems with open layouts as well. “I wouldn’t like it,” my dad told me, “I wouldn’t like the feeling that anyone could look over my shoulder. I like being able to concentrate.” It’s very important to be able to get work done at your job, and I have to agree with my dad. Although the millennial workplaces look fun, I think I would be too distracted by the people around me or the cool chairs that have been laid out. “So why do you think so many people are going into jobs such as these?” I asked my dad. “Kids figure that companies owe them something and their corporations need to give them cool working spaces, but that’s short sighted. You need to prove that you’re worthy being paid and it’s not the employer’s job to entertain them.” He compared it to the life of a teacher, a life I know pretty well because my mom is one. “Some people drop their kids off at school with the assumption that teachers are babysitters or caregivers, but they aren’t there just to watch your kid, they are there to teach your kid.” Part of the responsibility of the parent or student is to make sure you are there to understand and learn. It’s up to the employee to prove to the company that they are worth being paid and working for that cooperation. It’s not up to the company to codel you so that you continue working. Privileges have to be earned by the employee.
I always thought that working at a cubical all day would be boring and I looked at the millennial job as a better option, but I have to agree with my dad. I wouldn’t like being so exposed in the workplace like that with no office or cubicle to return to when you need to concentrate. And people who go into those jobs expecting the employer to provide them with so many workplace benefits, are expecting too much and need to understand that the employer isn’t a babysitter. You go to work to do the jobs given to you by a boss or to continue the production of whatever it is your company makes. At the end of the day, you go home, set your suitcase down, and enjoy your family of pets, sitting in a really cool chair that you could buy with the money you earned.
When talking to my dad he brought up a very interesting thought; “some people live to work, and some work to live.” I think about the CEOs of big companies, the people who will spend hours into the night looking into and working on their next project. They work up that ladder people talk about, until they have reached the top, but then they find another ladder and they work their way up that one. Then, I think of my dad, I think about how he works hard for 5 days a week, 8 a.m to 5 p.m. But he works this hard so that on the weekend he can relax with our dogs or go to beach and kiteboard. So what about me? Sometimes I think I should chase my super-extra, probably unrealistic dream job so that I can live to do work that I love. Other days I wonder if I should settle for a mediocre job that will pay for the life I want. My dad says, he wants me to be happy and supported.