“She shone for me like the Evening Star. I loved her dearly, but at a distance.” – Winston Churchill
Churchill was referring to his mother, of course. Mothers will always have a place in our hearts… just not always, hopefully, at our sides.
The manager of our Customer Care Center was hiring an inside sales person, someone who would be prepared to come in at odd hours to accommodate West Coast customers. One prospect showed up for his job interview with his mother. Astonishingly. The receptionist was astonished to see the two enter the building together, she with a purposeful stride, he barely able to keep up, virtually clinging to her petticoat. The Customer Care staff was collectively astonished to see the two strolling as one into their supervisor’s office, an uneven but inseparable couple. The manager was astonished and could only blink… though it might have been more of a twitch. And the Black Widow – who at the best of times has a propensity to devour her young – was astonished that the two could so easily pass through her otherwise impregnable web.
The mother not only sat through the interview, but also let it be known that she would negotiate the best deal for her son when, not if, they did the only logical thing, which was to hire him. The manager assured her that in his deliberations, her inclusion in the process would definitely factor into the decision making process. He thanked her for clarifying things that may not otherwise have come to his attention.
Newspaper editor Hodding Carer wrote about a wise women who once said to him: There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children: one of these is roots, the other wings. This poor lad was tethered by his matriarchal roots and smothered by her expansive wings. He was clearly unable to lift himself off the ground and fly on his own.
She pleaded her son’s case… explaining away the circumstances of his minor indiscretion.
Our very own Black Widow was not off the hook just yet. Only days after the Mother Hen Affair, an employee at one of our distribution centers was suspended for bringing a case of beer to work. (It was over-hoppy Heineken to boot, not one of my favorites, so we could add bad taste to bad judgment.) Had he actually been drunk, he would have been terminated on the spot, such is our zero tolerance policy on the issue of alcohol and the workplace. A grievance was filed by the union, instigated not by the employee, but by his mother. She pleaded her son’s case, vouching for his character and explaining away the circumstances of his minor indiscretion. Again, astonishment reigned among our C-level executives. Do we need to create a corporate policy on breast milk as well as booze?
Apparently, this is already occurring at a number of major industrial concerns. In her book, How to Raise an Adult, Julie Lythcott-Haims, the Dean of Students at Stanford, notes that several big companies are already holding job information sessions for parents.
Let’s just say that there is no place for helicopter moms in the Small Office and that, for the record, both our not so intrepid youths were summarily and unceremoniously grounded.