Maybe the fourth time’s the charm. That’s the hope of Ryan Liebling, founder of Take Your Lazy-Ass Son to Work Day. Liebling says this year the event, in which fathers have their lazy-ass sons accompany them to work, will be held during the academic year, allowing lazy-ass sons to cut school. He hopes this will make spending an entire day with their fathers more palatable.
Liebling, who is thirty-five years old, says watching their dads at work can be an eye-opening experience for lazy-ass sons. “When a lazy-ass son witnesses first-hand how much his father hates his job, he gains appreciation for how miserable his dad’s life is. It forges a common bond.”
Fifteen-year-old Ely Dahlrang of Cunway, Oregon, says he was transformed by seeing his dad at work in 2012. “I always thought my dad hated my brothers and me, and all of that work stuff was just noise. But no, he really, really hates his job. I’m pretty sure that actually he probably doesn’t even hate us, it’s just that his life blows. So last fall when he asked me to rake leaves I didn’t ignore him or tell him to hire somebody.”
Liebling wants more lazy-ass sons to experience similar epiphanies, and he hopes shifting the Day to the school year will help.
Thirteen-year-old Trevor Nixel of Kaukauna, Wisconsin, says because he’ll be able to skip school, he’s considering participating. “Look, I don’t want to spend eight more hours with my dad. The weekends are bad enough, what with him bitching about the lawn, the garbage, and all that shit. I don’t need to hear it. But if participating gets me out of that dungeon they call a ‘school,’ yeah, I probably will.”
That positive outlook is what Liebling wants to hear more of. The event, which began in 2010, used to be held in July. “After a third year of disappointing participation, we developed a marketing questionnaire for lazy-ass sons, and the evidence from the 1.4% who responded was that ‘no way’ were they going to go to their dads’ places of work when they could be hanging out with friends, swimming, or vandalizing businesses and public property.”
So, what was Liebling’s inspiration to found the event? “My son was so lazy,” he says. “I thought, what if he could see what he has to look forward to?” Liebling, who lives in Chicago and works as a loan officer, took his son, then eleven, to work in 2009. “When he saw my hatred for what I do, it was a revelation to him. Within weeks, my wife only had to ask him three or four times to pick up his room. I said to myself, ‘You have to share this with other fathers.’”
Sometimes taking a lazy-ass son to work isn’t entirely positive. Ignacio McGeenen, who works at a meatpacking plant in Drenner, Iowa, took his lazy-ass son to work in 2012 but says his son disappeared after two hours. McGeenen, who works on the killing floor, says his son was discovered “in a supply closet, with one of the summer girls in Accounting. Luckily, she didn’t get pregnant.” McGeenen says he’s not sure if he’ll take his lazy-ass son, who turns eighteen in December, to work this year.
Pescadero, California, father Kurt Tayle says even though he took his five sons to work in 2011, “They still don’t get it.” Tayle commutes an hour and a half each morning to Cupertino, where he works at a computer firm. “I have five boys, and all but my first-born are useless. The worst part is they know it, they know I know they know it, and yet they don’t do anything about it. What will they do when I cut them off at age eighteen? Go into crime? Go on welfare? Rack up student loan debt with no degree or intention of paying back the loans? I hope they figure something out because I honestly don’t know.”
However, Bryan Melz, a part-time delivery truck driver from Queens, New York, and two-time participant in Take Your Lazy-Ass Son to Work Day, says fathers owe it to their children to do this. “I don’t know if Connor is any different because of the program,” he says. “I’ve seen him read a book when there’s nothing good on TV, so who knows. But I think every father has a moral obligation to show his children how miserable and pointless his work life is. They have to step into the adult world with their eyes open. I have to do that for the kid, at least. I mean, I don’t want him bitching to me later about how he didn’t know.”
A sociologist at Boston University, Francine Prohz, says Take Your Lazy-Ass Son to Work Day “should be promoted and embraced. Lazy-ass sons need to see that there’s more to a job than doing something you hate for forty or fifty hours a week. While you’re stuck doing something you hate all day, every day, you can be thinking about your family, and how important that job is to them. Preliminary research shows that a lazy-ass son who sees his father’s struggles is six times more likely to pick up a job application in the following ninety days.” Lazy-ass sons don’t always fill out the applications, Prohz concedes, but “it’s a step in the right direction.”
Liebling says he thinks 2013 can be a breakthrough year for lazy-ass sons all across the United States. “And if it becomes the success we think it will, we intend to expand to EU countries in 2014.”
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