THE BLOG

This Time I Took My Parent to Work

11/10/2013 10:00 EST | Updated 01/23/2014 10:53 EST

I work in public relations. I spend my days developing and executing communications strategies for brands; I engage media, monitor crises and create content for social media platforms. While this may make sense to my fellow millennials or those in my field, trying to explain my role and most aspects of my job to my dad -- a self-employed, property manager -- has been most challenging.

Turns out, my experience with this is not unique.

Although parents can provide workplace advice and guidance, a recent survey by LinkedIn* found that one out of every three Canadian parents has a hard time understanding what their child does for a living. Over a third of those surveyed felt it could be beneficial to their child's career development if they had a better understanding of their child's job.

This survey also revealed that my chosen career is one of the top 10 most misunderstood jobs by Canadian parents; social media manager and PR manager ranked number four and number five, respectively. In response to these survey results and a growing need to bridge the generation gap when it comes to the world of work, LinkedIn held the first annual LinkedIn Bring In Your Parents Day on November 7. I, along with employees from across the globe, walked into my office with my parent.

My company Edelman hosted a breakfast for employees and their parents, including a tour, presentations, and open panel discussions about what it is we do every day. I watched as my colleagues' parents had 'ah-ha' moments as they put faces to the names of their children's coworkers, learned the how, why and what it is we do.

My dad was extremely excited and impressed by the opportunity to learn about the company I work for and how I contribute to its success on a daily basis. "I have always been slightly confused by the world of public relations, but after listening to the presentations today, my understanding of your work and its application has definitely improved," he said.

The day offered parents a chance to ask key questions about work life balance, employee expectations, community involvement, and more. While some conversations were quite serious, the majority of my morning was filled with amusing parent remarks and of course, lots of laughter.

As an employee and a child, I am back at my desk now, feeling a strong sense of pride. I was honoured as my colleagues' relayed compliments about my work and contributions. I felt proud as I showed my dad my workspace and introduced him to my colleagues who I've developed strong relationships with. On the flip side, I took pride in showing off my dad, a role model who has consistently supported my education and career choices.

Speaking with my peers who also participated, it is clear that the day resonated similarly with all parents and children. The day has provided our parents with a new understanding of what we do for a living and created a new foundation for greater work advice and guidance.

To sum up my experience, I'll end with a quote from my dad, "The day not only developed my understanding of your day-to-day working life, but I truly believe it also developed our relationship."

*LinkedIn is a client of Edelman