The Weekly Rant with Gary Patella

Thoughts and ideas on various grievances that are relevant to everyday life.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

On Children In The Workplace

The productive members of society all have a means of generating income. While there may be various ways to earn money, I believe the vast majority of individuals earn income through employment. In this day and age there are now various jobs that can be performed from a remote location through the internet. However, the majority of jobs still involve the individual traveling to a workplace.

Regardless of the job setting or the position held, I believe it is fair to say that most jobs should require at least some modicum of professionalism. Even when the job atmosphere is very laid back, some order should be maintained. But this is not always the case. From low level jobs to high corporate positions, there is an occasional disruption that should not exist. I am referring to children in the workplace.

A lot of businesses and organizations may sometimes have a "take your child to work" day. These days are already known well in advance, and a bit more work can be done on the preceding days in order to compensate for the fact that less work will be done with children present. Scheduling such days do not really pose a problem. The foreknowledge provides the employees with an opportunity to plan ahead. But many employees with children are unconcerned with planning ahead.

There are times in every job where a child is unexpectedly brought into work. This creates a potential problem for everyone else that works there. In some cases, though few, there is no problem. A parent that brings in a well-behaved child does not really create a disruption. In the cases where the child does not run amok, the parent has usually brought some activities to keep the child busy. Unfortunately, not all children are well-behaved and most people are too inconsiderate to bring something to occupy the child's time.

In a great many cases, the employees have to suddenly become baby sitters. The children run around creating a major disturbance and prevent any real work from getting done. Suddenly the workplace turns into Romper Room and everyone has to suffer. This is just plain rude and inconsiderate. The parent obviously knows how the child behaves. Yet not only was that child brought into the parent's place of employment, but furthermore he or she is given carte blanche to run around disrupting everyone.

I think that this is inexcusable. With a handful of exceptions, the employees did not sign up to baby sit someone else's child. The burden should not be on them to keep the kids out of trouble. Regardless of the job setting, there is work to be done. It cannot be completed with a screaming child running around like a maniac.

So if you are the parent of a disruptive child, don't bring that child to work. Or if you really must, then you should be the one keeping his or her behaviour in check. Don't pass on the responsibility to coworkers. The onus of watching your child does not fall on their shoulders. Let's try to keep the workplace at least a bit professional.

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