‘It’s not as exciting as other jobs’: The child’s view of their work-from-home parents

For many ad industry staffers, the coronavirus-forced lockdown hasn’t just been about adjusting to the quirks of remote work, but also having to suddenly juggle three full-time roles as parent, teacher and executive.

For the children of those parents, the lockdown has opened a rare window into what their moms and dads actually do for a living.

Digiday asked seven brave advertising executives to take on another temporary new role — interviewer — and ask their kids what their parents’ jobs entail.

Such is the unpredictable nature of kids, their answers range from adorable at one end of the scale — “I want to work with Daddy” — to devastatingly blunt at the other — “I think she should work harder.” And ad execs’ children appear to have cottoned on to the notion that all they really do all day is make lots and lots of phone calls…

Agnes (age 4) and Kitty (6) interviewed by their mom Helen James, managing director of creative agency Crispin Porter Bogusky in London

Helen, Agnes and Kitty. Source: Helen James

What does mommy do for a job?

Agnes: She makes things that people see. Her job is quite tippy-tappy. She types on computers all day and talks on the phone to everyone.

Kitty: She puts adverts in places. I’ve seen lots of them about boring things. I did see Duolingo, and that one was good – oh but that was Daddy’s advert not Mommy’s. [Editor’s note: James’s partner is Rob Ward, chief strategy officer at competitor agency, And Rising.] Oh, she also puts things on screens.

What is the best thing about Mommy’s job?

Kitty: We get lots of sweeties from June [Frangue, head of design at Crispin Porter.]

Agnes: Playing the cupcake game, and Duolingo. [Again, this is James’s husband’s ad.]

Would you like to do Mommy’s job when you get older?

Agnes: No, it’s not as exciting as other jobs. Like keeping the flowers and the bees healthy and looking after the planet.

Kitty: No, I want to be an explorer and a rockclimber.

What’s the worst thing about Mommy’s job?

Agnes: She doesn’t get much time to play with us, or pick us up from the black gate. [School, in other words.]

How could Mommy do her job better?

Kitty: She could work a bit slower, and she should take more breaks. Or, she could change to be a doctor or vet, and help people.

Agnes: I think she should work harder.

Caitlin (6) interviewed by Tom Firth, managing Director at ad agency M&C Saatchi

Caitlin and Tom. Source: Tom Firth

What do I do for a job?

Caitlin: Make adverts.

And what does that actually mean I do all day?

Caitlin: Sit in your office and do your work by writing a script about what advert you’re going to make.

What’s the best thing about my job?

Caitlin: That you get to see your friends at work.

What’s the worst thing about my job?

Caitlin: You don’t get to see us until night and you are a very nice dad so I’m very sad when you have to do it — and we don’t get to see you all day because of school.

Would you like to do my job when you’re older?

Caitlin: No, I want to be a fireman because they get to wear cool uniforms and a cool helmet and they get to do cool stuff in fires and they also get paid!

Do you not get paid in advertising?

Caitlin: No. We don’t get paid in school.

That’s different to advertising.

Caitlin: Well, you do get paid in your job. Lots of money. But if you take a break I don’t think you get much money.

How could I get better at my job?

Caitlin: By going to school. You still can go to school but you have to go on a course instead of learning things.

What kind of course would it be?

Caitlin: Not an obstacle course, definitely not. But you could ask a really wise person … what a course was. I don’t really know what kind of course, but I definitely know it’s not an obstacle course.

Stanley (4) interviewed by Dan Cullen-Shute, CEO of creative agency Creature

Stanley, Dan and Mali (who sat out the interview.)

What does Daddy do for a job?

Stanley: He works for Creature

What does that mean he actually does all day?

Stanley: Calls and working for Creature.

What’s the best thing about his job?

Stanley: That I get to come and visit.

What’s the worst thing about his job?

Stanley: I sometimes need to go downstairs.

How could he get better at his job?

Stanley: If I was helping him.

Would you like to work in advertising when you’re older?

Stanley: Yes, because I want to work in the same place as Daddy.

Indy (6) and Joaquin (5) interviewed by Andrew Dawson, chief strategy officer at ad agency Barbarian

Joaquin, Andrew, Akari and Indy. Source: Andrew Dawson

What does Dad do for a job?

Indy: My dad does phone calls for work.

Joaquin: Gets money.

What does that mean I actually do all day?

Indy: Work on the computer and do phone calls.

Joaquin: You do phone calls. You’re on the computer working.

What’s the best thing about my job?

Indy: That you make money.

Joaquin: The best thing about your job is calling.

What’s the worst thing about my job?

Indy: That you have to work all day.

Would you like to do my job when you’re older? (If not, what would you like to do instead?)

Indy: No, I don’t know why. I would like to dig.

Joaquin: No, ‘cause it’s boring.

How could I get better at my job?

Indy: You can finish earlier.

Joaquin: You can get better by doing more phone calls.

Sonny (5) interviewed by Nick Wright, managing director of Havas Media Group’s content and partnerships division JUMP

Nick and Sonny. Source: Nick Wright.

What does Daddy do for a job?

Sonny: Building work. [Wright has recently been renovating his house on evenings and weekends.]

What does that actually mean Daddy does all day?

Sonny: Work so hard. Work really, really hard at the top, top, top room.

What is the best thing about Daddy’s job?

Sonny: He gets to be out of my way and also there’s not much room in the top [room]. Also it’s nice and peaceful for Daddy to do his work. That’s the best bit — because it’s nice and quiet.

What’s the worst thing about Daddy’s job?

Sonny: I want to play with him!

Would you like to do Daddy’s job when you’re older?

Sonny: No!

What job do you want to do?

Sonny: Be a scientist!

How could Daddy get better at his job?

Sonny: Work really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really harder.

Anything else you want to say?

Sonny: I wish Daddy could do that. Love from Sonny.

Helena (17) and Stella (13) interviewed by Anselmo Ramos, chief creative officer at creative agency GUT

Stella, Anselmo and Helena. Source: Anselmo Ramos

What does dad do for a job?

Helena : He makes ads for brands.

Stella: My dad works with advertising. He makes commercials for companies. He is the owner of GUT.

What does that mean I actually do all day? 

Helena: Answer emails and talk loudly into his phone.

Stella: Write emails. Makes calls with clients to talk about working with them. Looks at ideas from the creatives.

What’s the best thing about my job? 

Helena: Going on shooting sets and getting Lions in Cannes.

Stella: That he’s one of the founders of the company and that he gets to work with what he loves every day.

What’s the worst thing about my job? 

Helena: Long hours and long trips.

Stella: There are tough days sometimes. Sometimes things don’t go as planned.

Would you like to do my job when you’re older? (If not, what would you like to do instead?) 

Helena: It’s an option, but I don’t know yet. The execution of filming the ad is cooler to me.

Stella: I don’t think so because it’s not something I’m passionate for. I like it, but I’m just not passionate about it. I think I would be working with performing arts.

How could I get better at my job?

Helena: I don’t know, it seems like it’s going well. Maybe relax more often. 

Stella: You could think about ideas that would make the agency better for the clients. Make sure everyone is happy. Especially on Mondays — you can bring everyone chocolate.

Ben (17) interviewed by Kat Gordon, founder and CEO of The 3% Movement

Kat and Ben. Source: Bronac McNeill

What does your mom do for a job?

Ben: She is CEO of a conference company related to diversity and marketing.

What does that mean I actually do all day?

Ben: She talks to lots of people and meets with lots of different people. She’s on the phone a lot.

What’s the best thing about my job?

Ben: That she gets to spend a lot of time at home.

What’s the worst thing about my job?

Ben: She travels a lot compared to other parents I know.

Would you like to do my job when you’re older? (If not, what would you like to do instead?)

Ben: No. But I’m too young to know what I’d like to do instead.

How could I get better at my job?

Ben: She could work on her public speaking.

Would you like to work in your mom’s industry?

Ben: Possibly.

https://digiday.com/?p=364985
Digiday Top Stories