This afternoon my boss thanked me for showing up to work. Not in a “thanks for today, have a good night” kind of way, but in a genuine, “I appreciate you” kind of way.
I’d told him earlier in the day about Lilly’s tantrum over her missing mouse shoes. She wanted mouse shoes. We no longer have the mouse shoes. There were tears.
Lilly just had her first real toddler tantrum … tears, stomping, the lot, because she wanted to wear her mouse shoes. I thought she'd forgotten about the mouse shoes. The mouse shoes that we threw out a few weeks ago because Lilly wore them in a puddle and the were smelly. The mouse shoes that she used to wear to bed because she loved them so much. The mouse shoes that, if she hadn't worn them to bed, she'd ask to put them on as soon as she woke up. The damn mouse shoes aren't sold anymore. I've tried 3 different Kmarts, they're out. 😨 We replaced them with some purple shoes. Lilly picked them. She loved them. I thought purple was the new thing. But, no. Mouse shoes mum. 🐭
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Later in the day we were chatting and he said something along the lines of “I know it is a lot of effort to get here when you have young children. A lot has to happen to make it work before you even get out the door. Thank you for your efforts. I appreciate it.”
Yes, my boss thanked me simply for showing up. Not for working hard or coming up with good ideas. Not for being risk management extraordinaire (that’s a thing in lawyer world). Not for being an awesome employee (I’m that too, by the way). For showing up. And showing up late at that. (I don’t start work until about 9(ish), whereas everyone else starts at 8:30. I also leave early, because #mumlife, which, in my case, loosely translates to I like to have dinner with my toddler.)
The more working parents I connect with, the more stories I hear about employers stonewalling their employees when they have children. Flat out refusals to consider requests for part-time work, flexible working hours or working from home. Refusal to accommodate changes to childcare or school routines. Refusal to adjust working expectations when children are sick.
These stories irk me every time. It doesn’t have to be this way.
Surely these people are human (Al hasn’t completely taken over just yet), with their own families. What do they do when their children are sick?
You see, caring for our employees, supporting them through their life changes, putting ourselves in their shoes for just a minute, will do so much more for business than requiring facetime, ‘business-as-usual’ and trying to squeeze them for all they’ve got. Respecting, valuing, caring for, supporting and mentoring them will win. Every time.
I love my job and often go out of my way to make things work. Why? Because my firm do the same for me. Simple as that.