Take Our Kids to Work™ is an annual national program in which Grade 9 (or equivalent) students are hosted by parents, friends, relatives and volunteers at workplaces across the country every November.

Between creating electricity and swabbing their mouths for DNA, we put a few of our Take Our Kids to Work™ students – and their proud parents – on the hot seat to find out what the students knew about their parents’ careers. We gave the parents headphones so they couldn’t hear the question and “help” with the answer.

What does your mom or dad do? Why do they do that job?

Hannah B: Um, he’s a computer programmer guy. He types on computers and makes stuff to use in the labs? I think. I don’t know. He used to fix them and stuff, so computers were always something he liked, so it made sense that he went into doing something he liked.

Hannah’s dad Ray B: My job is a computer programmer with SRC. I’ve always been intrigued with computers themselves, [it’s like] dealing with puzzles.

Elliot G: She works in the science lab and she’s the supervisor there… I’m pretty sure she types on the computer most of the time and just supervises everyone and makes sure they’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing.

Elliot’s mom Clare G: I’m the quality assurance supervisor for SRC Geoanalytical Laboratories. I look after the quality system. I make sure all the documentation follows the requirements and the standards. I make sure [the lab employees are] doing what they’re supposed to be doing and make sure the results are accurate.

Hannah C: Um, my dad is on the Environmental Remediation team. He tries to make things fair for the First Nations people that are up north, and he tries to clean the sites the best he can and get everything good because they were here first, and they deserve that. I’m really proud that he gets to help out people in this way.

Hannah’s dad Mark C: I’m a senior advisor for community and aboriginal engagement. I like helping people. So in this particular role, I get to be a facilitator, I get to help the communities, both from an aboriginal perspective and from the municipality’s, and I also get to help our team here at SRC. So I’m helping two different sets of people and I really like that.

We also dug a bit deeper to see if these Gr. 9 students were thinking about their own careers and asked parents to share some advice and lessons learned.

What do you want to do?

Hannah B: I’m not really sure. I like art, but I also kind of like computers, so today the topic came up that a graphic designer was a thing that was both put together, so that kind of sounded interesting.

Elliot G: I wouldn’t mind being a chemist or a toxicologist. Biochemist would also be a good job that I’d like.

Hannah C: Oh I have no idea. I was thinking about going to business school maybe, or doing something like my dad with Aboriginal people. Or I wouldn’t mind being a fashion designer when I get older!

high school students huddle together for a selfie

Did you learn anything today that could help you find a career?

Hannah C: Everything that the people who were with us talked about was so, so cool. Personally my favourite was building that motor. It was so neat to see how we made something and how we turned a battery and a bunch of wire and tape into a working motor without anyone really touching it.

Parents, can you share some words of wisdom that you wish someone would’ve told your teenage self?

Ray B: Don’t give up on learning how to play the guitar. It was one of those things I regret… The other one is take more risks… you know, that way you don’t have those regrets, or less of them. As the opportunities come along for different things, try them. Try and fail. At least then you know.

Clare G: If at first you’ve got a plan you want to do and it doesn’t quite work out how you think it’s gonna work out, don’t dwell on it and think, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s the end of the world.’ It’s just a moment in time. Maybe a better opportunity is just around the corner. The other one is be kind to your mom.

Mark C: If I could go back in time I would’ve told myself you need to see what’s out there and plan your education according to what your passion is and what you might like to do. I didn’t do that. I think I was more interested in getting out of school as quick as I could, rather than trying to get the education I needed to pursue the course in life I wanted to take. Find out what are the kinds of things that excite you. Follow that and pursue it.