When I was a kid, I loved when my dad took me to work at his office in downtown Milwaukee. He had good views for parades on the streets below, and had one of those handheld games with water and, like, little marbles that you’d try to move down chutes. He had a set of office keys that had this one super-cool blue key on it that, as far as I knew, was for some top-secret treasure closet, maybe? (Or the bathroom, probably.) I’d sit and play the game and watch some TV and hang out, while my dad did what I only assumed was Important Adult Stuff, and then we’d go home. Man, what good times!
Back in those days, I’d think about the times I’d be able to take my parents to my job someday. I didn’t think I’d be taking them to a tech company, but instead to the NBA games I’d certainly be playing in. But things change! People stop getting any taller! Dreams get … deferred! And though it wasn’t on the basketball court, last week, at Google, I finally got to return the favor and show my parents what I do all day.
Showing my parents the Googleplex in Mountain View.
My parents tested out virtual reality at Take Your Parents to Work Day.
One of the many absurdly fun things this company does is offer a full-day event for Take Your Parents to Work Day. Thousands of Googler parents and parental figures come to Mountain View and sit in meetings, roam the campus, eat the food, see product demos and hear from our CEO. In the office, as you can see in the video above, they answer questions from colleagues about what we were like as a kid and tell their own stories of how they ended up here, on this day, proud parents of a Googler.
I have had the privilege in the last few months of taking my kid to work, and now, taking my parents. The sense of pride you feel in giving those you love a glimpse of this place—this company doing impossible things to help billions of people all over the world—that sense of pride radiates around you, everywhere you turn. Pride felt for our kids, pride felt by our parents and pride in ourselves for making all of them proud. It’s not the NBA, but it’s still very cool.
I have two daughters, and when they come visit me, they hang out and play around and investigate the Google-verse around them. They stock up on free candy bars and examine the famous T-Rex and slide down the famous slide. I don’t know exactly what their version of the blue key is, but I am sure they have one in their minds: an emblem, years down the road, they’ll look back on as they remember being “taken to work.” Someday, they’ll take me to work, at some place that doesn’t exist now (or to a National Women’s Soccer League game), and I will walk around beaming the way my parents did last week, along with the thousands more who joined them on campus, filled with love and joy and wonder, thinking: Man, what good times!