Unless you're a doctor, lawyer or teacher, your parents probably don't have a clue what you do for a living. In fact, a recent global LinkedIn survey of 16,000 adults found that one out of three parents confess to not understanding what their kid does from 9-to-5 and more than two-thirds of parents want to learn more. The majority of professionals tend to underestimate the insight, support and connections that their parents have to offer, when in fact, our parents may be the most underutilized career development resource we have, between their years of experience, vested interest in our success and rich connections.
Thursday, Nov. 7 is LinkedIn Bring In Your Parents Day, a worldwide initiative to help bridge the gap between parents and children when it comes to the world of work, to highlight the value and wisdom that parents hold and, in turn, to allow parents to better understand and support their children's careers.
In honor of the event, here are three classic parental refrains that lend insight into why bringing your parents to work can be much more productive than you might expect.
"I want to tell my friends what you do." Think of it this way: Your parents' friends are an extension of your network. The more your parents understand what you do and how you do it, the better equipped they will be to act as your personal marketing team. Your mom's friend Betty from book club, who just happens to be a CEO, may very well be your next new client or boss. Career success is all about who you know, and after years of building relationships, your parents' professional connections are likely to be both wide and deep. A personal endorsement from a long-term and trusted source goes a long way.
"When I was a starting out in my career." LinkedIn's survey also determined the top 10 most misunderstood jobs by parents. Ranked in the top five were user interface designer, sub editor, actuary, data scientist and social media manager. The list proves there is a true generational gap when it comes to parents understanding their children's jobs, particularly because of the tech boom over the last several decades. Yet this doesn't mean your parents don't still hold valuable pearls of workplace wisdom. Yes, technology may have changed what it means to be a modern professional, but the day-to-day rules of office etiquette, professionalism, teamwork and how to rise in the ranks are evergreen. The liquid lunch may not be as prevalent but the rules of when to drink at the office function still apply. The boss who steals your ideas? Your mother had to deal with that person too. So much of our career success relies on the soft skills that come from years of experience. Borrow from your parents.
"I just want you to be happy." And happy is what you're more likely to be if your parents have a better handle on what you do. Employees who feel supported by their family tend to be happier. And happy people make more productive and loyal employees. Output is the standard measure for success and if a little parental understanding is all you need to finally get that proposal out, not only will you be happier, your boss will be too.
Will you consider bringing your parents to the office? To learn more about LinkedIn Bring In Your Parents Day, visit http://linkedinbringinyourparents.com/.
Nicole Williams is the bestselling author of three books, the latest of which, "Girl on Top: Your Guide to Turning Dating Rules into Career Success," has been optioned by Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen, the producers behind the Academy Award winning films "American Beauty," "Milk" and "Silver Linings Playbook." Nicole is also LinkedIn's Career Expert. Nicole's role at LinkedIn is to help professionals understand how to enhance their careers using the LinkedIn network. The company she founded, WORKS by Nicole Williams, is the go-to resource for career-minded young women and was named one of Forbes magazine's Top 10 Career Websites for Women. You've seen her on TV – as a regular guest on "TODAY," "Good Morning America," and CNN – and in print, where her advice has appeared on the pages of ELLE, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Marie Claire and the Wall Street Journal.