And so we asked the Novus Asia team: “Do your parents know what you do?” Often the answer was “Not really,” but that doesn’t mean they weren’t hilarious
Eat your heart out, Take Your Kids to Work Day! Around the world, proud and befuddled parents are being bundled into cubicles to see what their children get up to.
Alas, we couldn’t participate at Novus (our work life is so awesome that dozens of parents would be pleading to work here, and there are fire codes to adhere to, damnit!), so we did the next best thing. We asked our staff to share what their Ma and Pa know about Asia’s coolest content creation company.
Yeah Dad, I’m Stephen King
Will Chin, Staff Writer
My mother has a clear idea of what I do for a living. I sometimes showcase the work we do at Novus, such as the Great Eastern websites or the articles we’ve written for Going Places Singapore. My father, on the other hand, has always been a more hands-on type of businessman, which means that soft skills like writing tend to go over his head.
He sometimes introduces me to his friends as a ‘reporter’ or an ‘author’, and people then ask me which newspaper I write for or what kind of genre I prefer. I’ve given up trying to explain my work to my father, preferring to let my mother do the job. I’m still not sure if he fully understands, but he knows that I can spell. So there’s that.
Apparently, I’m the Pretty-Maker
Kevin Ong, Director, Design and Creative Services
“You just meet people, bring in sales and then create pretty things, which encourages others to buy more because of the pretty things you designed? That sounds like a great job, son.”
All this delivered in rapid-fire Mandarin of course.
A Pointed Hint
Iva Sa'adon, Digital Designer
My parents don't know what I'm doing.
My Dad thinks it's something to do with design.
My Mom occasionally tells me to find a full-time job.
When I tell her I do have a full-time job, she asks me why I'm not helping with the bills.
“I’m off to China, Ma!”
Andrea Edwards, Head of Content Marketing and Training
I think I’ve had the greatest challenge in this area. The bulk of my early career was in PR for the tech and aerospace industry. I just couldn’t work out a way to explain this to my folks, other than saying I make companies look good.
Then I moved into marketing services from 2003, which is now redefined as content marketing. How do you explain content marketing? “Mum, I help businesses tell better stories.” I follow that up with “I’m going to America (or China or Vietnam) for business,” because then I’ve armed her with some information that makes sense to her, which she’ll dutifully share with her mates.
Keeping it Legal
Safiyah Lim, Digital Account Manager
My parents don’t really care what I do, so long as I’m earning “decent” and “legal” money.
Ellen Bone, Project Manager
I tell my Mum that as a job:
Customers ask my company to write stories or to build websites.
My husband’s job is to tell them that we can definitely deliver that, but unfortunately unlike Star Trek, not tomorrow (warp speed being taken into account) and definitely not for $10.20.
My job as a project manager is to ensure that when they pay for the literary equivalent of a semi-detached, we don’t end up delivering the Taj Mahal.
A Literary Endeavour
Andy Sim, Senior Writer
My Mom knows I write for a living. That’s the extent of it. She used to think I was a journalist, but I had to clarify there’s a palpable difference between news writing and content authoring.
Now each time the topic of my career choice comes up, she praises herself for inculcating the reading habit into me at an early age. I didn’t enjoy Blyton, truth be told, so I insisted she bought The Three Investigators instead. I ended up reading every single one of them.
Design it Like Beckham
Richard MacLean, Creative Director
Telling anyone what I do is quite tricky. I’m a graphic designer, but I still like the older term Commercial Artist better, it’s slightly easier to explain. My title of Creative Director, for my parents at least, is very ambiguous, made all the more so by the ‘celebrity' creative director.
For example, Victoria Beckham, Creative Director at Range Rover. She designed the car apparently, saying that her inspiration came from "looking at boats and planes". I don’t design cars Mum, sorry.
Sarah Liu, Writer
They know that I write for a living. But Mum continues to call my work “homework”.
Skin-tight Suits, as Far as the Eye Can See!
Vicki Yang, Senior Writer
Me Ma knows I write for a living, although I don’t suppose she really understands when I rage about ethics when I see wilful writing and a lack of consciousness (and conscience) elsewhere.
She does wonder why my work takes so many hours though, ha! That said, she also knows about my activities outside of my day job. I view them as jobs as well, even if they don’t pay. That ranges from film production and writing, to random volunteer-type activities like being a furry mascot for VWO groups, or dressing in a skin-tight suit for a performance.
For that sphere, I think she has no actual clue how far you challenge yourself when running with your passions. But for me, that’s pure playtime.
Daniel Seifert, Assistant Editor
They know what I do, but heaven knows what I’d do if they did visit the office and saw my car crash of a desk. Try as I might to explain that a creative mind needs a messy desk, and an Elmo doll so dusty he looks like an aged, blood-covered wizard, I’d still get That Stare. The Stare that every kid knows. A stare that says, “Clean your room!”
Have You Hugged Your Parent Today?
Veronica Dela Cruz, HR & Office Manager
New Year Day 2015 — a special day in most Filipino families. This is the time where you meet your relatives and get updated on all the family gossip.
In the middle of conversation between my Mom and my aunt, we veered to this tangent:
Mom: So how is Michael doing in Dubai? What is his work there again? Is he doing fine?
Aunt: He is fine, he’s working with a company there, but I don’t know the name, he is doing IT that’s all. I know, he also doesn’t bother to let me know the details of his work. [Sighs in the way that only a disappointed mother can]
Mom: Why you’re not asking? You should know the details! Especially since he is working overseas. What if something happens in the place where he is working?
Aunt: Ate [Sister]! They are grown-ups now. They have their own family and living their own separate lives. We shouldn’t bother about it at all…
Mom: Belen [my aunt’s name] that shouldn’t be the case. You know “Marvie” [my mom’s nickname for me]. She is working as an Accounts and HR Manager in [a company prior to Novus]. Her boss is Mr. _______ and she is working at this address_____________________. Their office is so big she has her own office, and she is managing this number of people. I have met her boss and he is so kind and accommodating. [Beams]
Do you know that when I heard the news about a fire in the area where she works? I called her automatically to check if their office is nearby the incident! Thank God it was far from them.
So, does my mom know what I do?
You bet she does.
Even as I have grown up I have opened up with my Mom (though of course, there are some secrets). When I was single, I even gave my full pay envelope to my parents, and let them give me allowance for the week. She taught me the walks of life. I reached where I am now because of her.
So I always see to it that she knows my other personal details. If chance allows, I let them meet my colleagues and boss, even though I am married and have my own family.
It might sound odd, but it’s a joy to them. It means they can speak up about us to anyone they know. It means they are proud of who we are and where we are, simply because we are their children.
It’s not ridiculous nor out of this world for us to let them know about our daily life.
Let’s make them proud by sharing who we are, and what we do.
Do your parents know what you do? Leave a comment and share your story with us.