Emma finished her summer internship at a sports marketing firm this week with a business trip to present her independent project to the CEO at headquarters in Dallas. This was her first business trip, and obviously, she had many questions completely unrelated to the job and all related to how to dress, act and ensure she didn’t embarrass herself. Jackpot! As I’ve said before, there is no better feeling than when one of my kids needs my help AND I can credibly offer counsel. I’d been there and done that, so I was ready for all of Emma’s dilemmas concerning her first business trip. It was like winning the lottery for me.
As it happens, I also happen to be reading Philip Galanes’ Social Qs. Philip is a friend whose book is based on his New York Times’ column, Social Qs where he tells readers how to manage awkward social situations. Often incredibly witty and, on somber topics, thoughtfully honest, Philip is pretty much always spot-on in his advice. It strikes me that I was to Emma this week what Philip is to his readers: a total expert on what to do when one isn’t sure of the best decision and when Google cannot answer your question definitively…in other words, I was the brains behind Mom Qs…
E: Should I wear a dress or pants to present?
M: What’s most comfortable?
E: I’m a pants person, but the dress feels more professional.
M: I’d go with comfort but, really, it’s about what will give you the most confidence in front of the room.
E: What shoes should I wear with the dress? Pink sneakers? Black short boots? Or Sandals?
M: What’s most comfortable?
E: Sneakers, but I don’t want to look too young, and the sandals are almost as comfortable.
M: Sneakers is very marketing and would be fine but, really, it’s about what will give you the most confidence in front of the room.
E: What should I wear to go to the baseball game the next day? Are cutoffs OK? I am thinking a crop top.
M: Comfort key and it will be like 100 degrees. Cutoffs that CYA are fine. No crop top. May scream confidence, but no belly button views allowed in work circumstances. Go for sleeveless and coverage.
E: I’m back from the bowling social. It’s sort of late but I’m not tired. I’m thinking about going to work out in the hotel gym.
M: No operating machinery after socials. Drink water, get ready for bed, and take Advil. Watch a show. Set an alarm.
E: I’m at the game, and the only brand of water is Dasani. Not our client. I am SO thirsty.
M: Buy a Dasani, drink in the bathroom if you have to. Don’t pass out in 100-degree heat.
E: I’m at the airport, and I didn’t eat all day because I didn’t want hotdogs or pizza. Everyone else went to Chick Fil A. We don’t land until 10PM.
M: Pretzels are the ultimate plane food.
Needless to say, Emma’s astute decision to seek my counsel made this trip highly successful. It was my great joy to be her Dear Abby, and I hope with all my heart that she will allow me to serve again and again in the future.