Archive for April, 2015

Take your kid to work!

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

On the fourth Thursday of each April, more than 37 million Americans at over 3.5 million workplaces participate in Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day. Today marks the program’s twenty-first anniversary. If you’re one of those 37 million who brought a child to work today, you’ll want to know what you should and shouldn’t do.
Here are the dos and don’ts of Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work day:
1. Plan the day: Think about how your child will participate in the day ahead of time, says Anita Attridge, a Five O’Clock Club career and executive coach. “Think about what you would like your child to see or do that day based on their interests.” Carolyn McKecuen, president of the Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Foundation, agrees. “Sit down the night before and talk to your child about what they want to learn that day and what they’re most looking forward to.”
2. Seek out advice from other parents: Talk with other parents who have brought their child to the workplace to learn what went well and what they might have done differently, Attridge says.
3. Talk to your employer and colleagues about the day: Find out if your company or organization has any planned activities for the children that day, Attridge suggests. “Make sure you understand how to maximize the event from the national sponsor and your employer’s or department’s perspective,” says Lynn Taylor, author of Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant and national workplace expert. “There should be an office committee that can help. This event will be very [formative] of how your child envisions and defines work, so make it count.” McKecuen says the best organizations are those that put a team together to decide what to do with the day. It’s not a job for one person.
4. Find out what line of work your child is interested in: Don’t force your child to come to work with you if they aren’t interested in your job. “A lot of kids don’t necessarily want to follow in their parents’ footsteps,” McKecuen says. “If that’s the case, have a friend or family member bring your child to his or her workplace.”
5. Invite children other than your own: Invite your niece or nephew, neighbors, friends or children from housing authorities and shelters so that all daughters and sons can participate in the program.
6. Lay out the ground rules: Talk to your kids before they go to work with you and lay out the ground rules, says Andy Teach, the author of From Graduation to Corporation: The Practical Guide to Climbing the Corporate Ladder One Rung at a Time. “Tell them exactly what is expected of them and consider giving them some type of reward if they behave themselves. Answer all of their questions; this is a fantastic learning experience for them.” Don’t place children in a potentially unsafe environment or lose track of them. Be specific about where you want them to be and what’s expected of them, Taylor adds.
7. Introduce your child to your colleagues: Introduce your kids to everyone you work with and have them acknowledge your co-workers by saying hello and shaking hands, Teach suggests. Tell your kids what each person does so they can start understanding that everyone has different responsibilities in the workplace.
8. Make it real: While you want to make it interesting, keep it realistic, Taylor says. “It’s Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, not a trip to Disney World. Allow them to see you problem-solve and let them partake in that process; a valuable and empowering exercise.” Don’t just have your child shadow you; make sure they’re engaged, Taylor adds. But be careful that you don’t let them become too hands-on at work, Teach says. For instance, don’t allow them to make business decisions, take important calls, or send work-related e-emails.
9. Put yourself in your child’s shoes: Taylor recommends looking at the day from your child’s perspective. “Solicit input in advance for what they most want to see and why. Make it as interesting and interactive as possible, or the experience could seem dull.” Ideally you want your daughter or son to look forward to next years’ event. “It should be that intriguing,” she says. “Just make sure that every year you vary the type of activities they witness and are engaged in.”
10. Expose your kids to new things: Don’t bring your child back to your same job 10 times, McKecuen says. “That won’t help anyone. Even if they are interested in your work, you need to expose them to other things.” If you have no choice but to bring them to your workplace each year, show them different aspects of your job or your company.
11. Make your child feel comfortable: Don’t assume your children are comfortable in your office, Taylor says. “You may not realize that it’s very intimidating for them to walk into your world for the first time. They may be afraid they’ll say or do something wrong, so take measures to put them at ease through some humor and lightheartedness.”
12. Don’t ignore your children: Don’t ignore your kids, even if you’re especially busy. This is their day. “Make it special for them by paying full attention to them,” Teach suggests.
13. Be positive: Don’t have a bad attitude. It’s important to be positive and have a little fun. Even if you’re having a bad day, don’t let your kids see it. Their impression of work could be molded by what they experience on this one particular day. It’s in your best interest to ensure that your kids equate work with fun, so that one day they will actually look forward to getting a job, Teach says.
14. Reflect on the day: Have another 20-minute meeting at the end of the work day to ask your child about what they most enjoyed and what they learned, McKecuen suggests. “Ask them to write a couple of sentences on what they’ll share with their class the next day. Give them examples or ideas if they need help with their reflection.”

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Reprint from Independent Dealer magazine

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

Sixty-Five Years and Counting for
City Office Supply in Houston
Congratulations are in order for the brother and sister team of Michael Mc-
Cain and Colleen Gingrich at City Office Supply in Houston, who this year are
celebrating their dealership’s 65th anniversary.
The dealership was founded in 1950 by Michael and Colleen’s grandparents,
Reese and Betty Phipps, who started the business with some savings and
the proceeds from the sale of a litter of pure-bred boxer puppies!
City has come a long way since those days, of course, and currently operates
out of a building in Houston’s historic East End, where it has taken a strong
leadership position in the area’s “Shop Local” campaign.
The dealership is also a very active supporter of numerous local community
organizations, donating generously to charities such as local food banks,
homeless shelters and similar non-profits and supporting Little League teams
and various schools, churches and non-profits requesting assistance.
On the business front, reports Colleen, things have been challenging but an
expanded product mix—into areas such as jan-san, industrial and shipping
supplies and a five-gallon water program—has helped keep sales moving in
the right direction.
Also of note, the mix also includes European and metric-sized office products
to cater to Houston’s growing international clientele.
Our congratulations to the entire City team and here’s to the next 65 years!

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