Having a child is like getting a job in reverse.
You get hired at the company, but instead of starting at the bottom, your first position is at the top, the CEO.
You’re the boss and everything goes through you. All the decisions, the money, you are in charge of all the knowledge. You’re the guy on the news shows answering questions about the direction of the company. You take credit for the successes. When your child comes first in class, they want to speak to you, the parents.
As with every job, with every year that passes, you get evaluated and promoted. But here in Child Co. Ltd., you get demoted instead. You start at CEO, then you move down to middle management. You’re still important, but not all the decisions are sent to you. Your child now knows some things that you didn’t teach him. You’re at meetings with a befuddled look on your face. “I didn’t get that memo, I didn’t sign off on that.” Your co-workers are like, “Newsflash hotshot, shit happens here without your authorization.”
Years pass, and you’re demoted again. You’re a desk worker now, like a teller at a bank. You’re always dressed like you’re trying too hard.
Some days your children are happy with you, other days, they yell, “Dad, I can’t take you anywhere!” You call them, they only answer half your phone calls. On the rare occasions when they pick up, they end the call with, “I have to go, I have work to do.” Once in a while, you’ll get asked to sit at the high table, you’ll rub shoulders with important people. But as soon as the occasion is over, it’s back to your tiny cubicle.
Eventually, you grow even older and your children do too. You end up as the janitor, the office cleaner keeping weird hours. You’re either awake before everybody or you’re up late at night after everyone is gone, wandering the hallways muttering to yourself. You’re walking past people’s desks, smelling of camphor, staring at their computer screens like it is alien technology. You’re squinting at your phone on the street, stopping strangers and asking them, “I got this text message from my phone company. It says ‘Internet Settings’, what should I do?”
When you get frustrated, you have an outburst: “I used to be great!” or “This is not how we do things in this house!” and people will laugh and shake their heads, “Crazy janitor, he’s senile but we can’t fire him. He’s been here forever.”