A Real “Take Our Kids to Work Day” Safety Memo

Hi Readers! Today is officially “Take Our Sons & Daughters to Work Day.” And here is an official memo from one reader’s employer:

Parents are cautioned to be mindful of the safety of their children and limit their exposure at work to job-shadowing which could include: permitting the young observers to attend a meeting, encouraging them to interview office workers (who volunteer) about their jobs, demonstrating use of special equipment (not including equipment which could be harmful such as paper shredders, cutters or staplers), and allowing them to participate in hands-on activities appropriate to age and skill levels. “

As our mole in this office notes: “Participation in limited to 9-15 year olds.  Staplers, huh?”

32 Responses

  1. I guess this company wouldn’t approve of my son having his own chef’s knife since he was 4.

  2. Well, I wouldn’t let my kid near Milton’s stapler. He’s pretty protective of that thing.

  3. Yeah, gosh, we wouldn’t want our nine-year-olds to be taught how to use a stapler. They might get crazy ideas, like stapling something. Oh, wait, they already know how to do that….

    And notice, it says you shouldn’t even DEMONSTRATE how to use a stapler, paper cutter, or shredder. Leaving aside the fact that it’s hard to imagine something more mind-numbing than a demonstration of such basic office equipment, this isn’t even about letting kids do “harmful” stuff, it’s about “letting them get the idea” that such dangerous stuff might be able to be used. Horrors!

  4. We used to have a paper cutter in my third-grade classroom. I still remember the satisfying feeling of slicing through construction paper.

    @ Peter, LOL!

  5. Elizabeth — that’s right! I don’t know what grade we first started having paper cutters in the classroom, but it was likely as low as third, or even lower. I’d forgotten that.

    And we were even taught to use it, and taught not to mess with it.

  6. Staplers???? Dear God… you have to be joking. I still remember going to work with my father in a large factory… his words, “don’t touch those boxes or that stuff. I’ll show you how you can help.” And I worked on the conveyor with him.

    I guess he should have been fired, as I could have gotten my fingers stuck in the rollers since I was a moron child. *rolls eyes*

  7. ROTFL! I was 11 when I started woodshop classes. I used a band saw, a rotary saw, a sewing machine, oven, stove, scissors, paper cutter, and yes…even a stapler. I still have both eyes, and all fingers and toes. I think I got more cuts, scrapes and bruises as I got older. lol

  8. Yes, but how will their young minds be protected from the boredom of a 40-minute meeting without stapling endless pieces of paper together? I don’t want to be the one to spend my lunch hour unwinding a paper-clip chain…

  9. Take our kids to work?? My daughter began WORKING in my business when she was about eight years old. She can assemble technical reports more skillfully than any Admin I ever saw. Except she doesn’t have time for it these days – too much homework!

  10. Keeping with this “stapler humor,” I found a great prank to teach your kids.

    Granted – kids aren’t usually thrilled to get instructions from Mom or Dad, so maybe you should just surprise them with an unexpected demonstration.

    Not only will they love doing this at work to drive the workplace nannies wild, ( and probably get you fired), it’s probably something they’ll want to do at school, although it might get them suspended. (Ha!)

    Nevertheless, it’s totally harmless, and would be a great story for them to “share” with friends the rest of their lives. I can just hear them saying, “Did I ever tell you about the prank I did that got me suspended from school eventhough I had a straight A average?”

    Here it is. Take a look:

  11. I actually don’t let my son touch my stapler at work, but only because he has somehow managed to break several staplers in his life! I promise, I have shown him how to use it. He just has bad stapler karma. And I don’t want to overuse the Swingline guarantee. (They really are the best staplers and they truly stand by their guarantee. When I called to see if I could get new spring – they told me to just dispose of it and they would send me a brand new one – and I use a special, ergonomic style.)

  12. Fun with staplers – one of the many things that was a real drag about being a “yeoman” (clerk/typist) in the Navy was that when we came into port and everyone else got lots of time off us office drones had a lot of paperwork to catch up on. So one day I was sitting in the ship’s office in a foul mood because my buddies would be at the bar by noon and I was working all day. I was collating some vitally important four-page handout and stapling them together. Had two of the regular desk-sized Swinglines in front of me, but one of them was empty. Assemble four pages, try to staple them with the empty stapler, cuss, use the full stapler, repeat. My friend Chuck came in and said “Hi, Jim, how’s it going?” I went all Jack Nicholson and said “Going? You want to see how it’s going? I’ll show you how it’s going!” I unhinged the empty stapler and held it up to my forehead and gave it a good whack. Of course, there was one staple left that repeated whacks hadn’t loosened, but that one did it. Realizing that this accident was the stuff legends are made of, I gave no indication that I had not intended to staple a lock of hair to my own forehead. I glared at Chuck with blood running down between my eyes and said “That’s how it’s going! You got any more stupid questions?” You have never seen a sailor with Bambi-in-the-headlights eyes walk backwards so fast.

  13. Back in the good old days, if you had a doctoral degree in Advanced Stapling on your resume, you could get a job anywhere.

    But now, with liability fears, our kids are doomed.

    Next thing you know, we’ll have Child Protective Services after you for underage stapling. In fact, I wonder if there aren’t stories out there about school teachers called on the carpet for allowing kids to use staplers.

  14. some staplers are more dangerous than others! But I guess this is overkill from a typical office environment.

  15. Hey now staplers are dangerous! I stapled my hand when I was 9 and it hurt a lot. I had to go to the hospital and lost two fingers wear a bandaid the rest of the day.

  16. They forgot to add paper to that list! Any child participating could get a paper cut, and then it could get infected and turn septic and then they could lose their arm, or even worse, DIE. We have to protect the kiddos! Safety for kids! Who’s with me? Anyone?

    [Eye roll] Paper cutters or shredders, I’ll give them that. But staplers? I think they should be more afraid of their recommended age demographic using the photocopier to copy their butts and plaster them everywhere.

  17. My 40 something year old, college educated, engineer husband stabled himself in the stomach with a stable gun. The amount of blood was amazing. The blue air around him was even more amazing. Our then toddler thought Daddy had done something incredibly stupid and said ‘Why did Daddy do that, that was dumb!’.

  18. I choose to believe that memo was inspired by the Great Staple Gun Fight of 07′.

    Anyway, the memo should be about protecting office equipment from children, not the other way around. When I was a kid those days were exciting because work had computers and home didn’t. And computers meet Solitare and Minesweeper!! Gotta save dad from looking like he can’t get a single high score!

  19. I once carried my baby into my workplace to celebrate a co-worker’s birthday. Later my boss douched me out about it. “Safety”. She was 6 months old and in-arms the whole time. Maybe my boss should have followed me home around, you know, the REST OF MY LIFE to make sure I knew how to carry her.

  20. Dad used to take me to the office all the time on Saturdays when he had to work overtime. We’d be the only ones on the entire floor and my brother and I would have desk chair races down the hallway and play secretary by typing gibberish at about 800 words per minute until the typewriter keys tangled. Dad would give us files to organize and swore he’d pay us a quarter a file (he never did!) He used to get grief from everyone else for the way we screwed up the office but he kept on bringing us. It wasn’t a case of him having to take us, he took us because we enjoyed it and never caused any serious problems or got hurt, and it goes wthout saying that he wanted to be with us.

    A few years later, on a different job, Dad took us to a factory he supervised but instead of running around the assembly floor, he gave us run of the cafeteria, where we made ice cream sundaes and watched wrestling on the black and white TV in the employee’s lounge.

    This is what good childhood memories are made of, not standing around while someone teaches stapler safety.

  21. One of my “jobs” is a consultant for a scrapbooking & stamping company, and my kids have always used my tools to craft as well. When my oldest went to preschool at 4, they gave them a cutting “test”. The teachers said they wouldn’t have believed it if they hadn’t been watching her the entire time. She cut exactly on all the lines; could be because she’d been using scissors since before she turned 2.

  22. As far as the link about schools not encouraging Take-Your-Kid-To-Work Day, I think the problem, at the heart, is money.

    In many states (I’m pretty sure NY is one of them), schools get money for pupil attendance. If your child isn’t in school, the school gets less money for that day. This is stupid, because it’s not like they have less expenses because they’re at 99% attendance instead of 100%, but that’s the way it is.

    It sounds crass to admit it’s for the cash, so they come up with other reasons to encourage you to send your kid Every Single Day.

    This goes double if the day your kid stays home (or goes to work) happens to be a test day, especially if they also get money based upon test scores.

    Of course, there really is no reason not to schedule it during, say, the end of summer break, or during spring break (and have it vary according to locale, of course) instead. Although the “OMG! TEST SCORES!” rationale is totally overblown (either they’re doing well enough that it won’t matter, or they’re doing bad enough that it won’t matter), there’s no cost to moving the date except that they have to change their fliers.

  23. Uly is right. We don’t encourage students to take your kid to work day for several reasons

    1. State funding. We get paid $X per student per day. In Texas it is every day. In some states TPTB chose random days called snapshot days. I remember one year TYKTWD fell on one of a state’s snapshot day for one state and it seriously affected funding. (Don’t remember which state just lots of yelling on teacher listserves that year)

    2. It is done in the spring time when schools are gearing up for testing. Again a local group organized one on a TAKS Days – boy did the schools make it clear that students could NOT miss that day. Kids that were absent principals tracked them down and brought them to school. That many kids missing would have triggered a TEA investigation (especially if they were largely from 1 sub group which did happen in my district) In case you haven’t noticed with the curriculum controversy the TEA and Texas SBOE don’t have 2 brain cells to rub together – hell I don’t think they have 1 to share.

    3. Federal Report card large numbers of absences can trigger reports.

    So for the love of Everything will you people STOP BLAMING THE SCHOOLS, ADMINISTRATORS, AND TEACHERS.

    If you want change go to the state and federal legislatures and executives(The people with power) and change the blasted laws. You want a TYKTWD – get a group together and go before the school board (if they can set local holidays). Arrange for an official day off to do this. My district does it with Fair Day. The schools close down, we have a huge parade, there are discounted prices at the fair and it is the first of 3 days that the kids show their animals. (Friday, Saturday, Sunday).

    When the state narrowed the opening and closing dates of school, there was talk about dropping fair day. Other districts in the county did. Our board talked to the community and it was decided to start Thanksgiving Break on Wednesday (we had the whole week off before), and keep both Fair Day and Easter Monday.

  24. When I worked at HMCo (School Division, no less), we tried our hardest to host TYKTWD after school finished for the year- which is difficult when you have lots of snow days. Of course, we also organized activities & speakers for the kids, instead of letting them spend the entire day with their Adult. Fun & educational, they did learn about different divisions and types of jobs in publishing, but not what I think the day is about.

  25. I’m going to add to the list of old folk reminiscing about my days at work with dad…

    I was about 13 when I learned to drive a tractor with a slasher on the back, by 15 I was operating an overhead crane and somewhere about the same age I was having fun with the stapler’s big brother. The nail gun!

    I also remember using a lathe, drill press, bench grinder…
    I am still disappointed I never learned how to weld, but as a librarian it is not a skill I have much need of.

    Work with mum was also a bit of fun. By 13 I was doing the night watch at a thoroughbred stud, driving a farm car, operating the feed hopper…

    I broke a toe at work with mum once, but she won by breaking her sternum a few weeks later. Other than that I don’t remember any problems despite the fact that I was a kid with ADHD operating heavy machinery.

  26. @ADHD Librarian – based on the ADHD sons of two of my friends, operating heavy machinery might be the perfect treatment plan. One kid is obsessed with steam trains, another is obsessed with NASCAR racing. Neither of these boys could tell a quarter from a nickle by 3rd grade – because it just wasn’t important – but they knew engine displacements, compression ratios, paint schemes, year and place of manufacture, etc. etc. etc. of every steam locomotive or NASCAR car in North America. Maybe operating heavy, noisey equipment might give them the focus they need to where they could sit in class for 10 minutes withouth going “Whoooo, whoooo!” or “Vroooom, vroooom!” I was recently talking with a new aquaintance about this and she grinned and said “Yeah, with my brother’s son it’s WW2 airplanes.”

  27. Well, that explains why we have grown adults who cannot use the paper cutter, stapler or other office equipment. No one ever showed them how to use it safely as a child. It is so clear now.

  28. Once many years ago, I reached for my office stapler only to find it empty. The strange thing was, I was sure that I had just filled it up a few days before, and I’m not exactly a high rate staple using person. I shrugged it off and filled it up and went on with life. About a week after, I dropped a very small part of an electronics assembly, and got down onto the floor to look for it. Lo and behold, what do I see but dozens and dozens of staples that are stapled into the carpet of my office. My boss had his young son in the day before I noticed my stapler was empty…

  29. We actually had a couple of bleeders yesterday and they were 8-10 year olds playing with office supplies.

    Even so, the safety memo wasn’t necessary in my building. Maybe a DON’T FREAKING RUN AND SCREAM memo would have been okay though.

  30. Man….my grandfather would have been in for today. He used to be the General Manager for the Pendelton Woolen Mills and I used to spend many days there at the ages of 5 & 6.

    Nothing like roaming around watching the weaving machines all day, though you did have to watch out for the occasional shuttle that decided to fling itself from the loom.

    He’s also the same man that taught me how to silkscreen, from making my own screens to adhering the image with *gasp* dangerous chemicals.

    My son loves watching the paper shredder, though he knows not to touch it when we’re using it. If it’s not in use, it’s unplugged and put away from little fingers.

  31. I staple my thumb when I was 7 or 8. Lo and behold, I lived to tell the tale *and* I’ve never stapled my finger again!

    thx
    SCott

  32. This is just beyond belief. When I was that age every fall I’d go out with my dad and get firewood in for the winter… I couldn’t touch the chainsaw, but I trimmed branches with my axe… and every now and then brought down a tree, even though with the axe it took ten minutes.

    This was only 15 years ago. What happened?

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