It is hard for me to imagine a more efficient, effective, family-friendly and environmentally sound model for my work. I am amazed by how much staff gets done every day, and how well balanced my life is overall. If my daughter gets sick, I don’t miss work. I’m still able to do what needs to be done and also take care of her. I walk downstairs to work. I have great relationships with my co-workers… I just don’t actually see them in-person very often.
It’s no surprise to the vast majority of us who have both a job and family responsibilities that something’s not working at work. The American workplace is perfectly suited for the American workforce… of the 1950’s. Even today, when 46% of the U.S. workforce is made up of women and 81% of women have children by age 44, most good jobs in the U.S. (those with good benefits and pay and opportunities for advancement) are designed around the ideal of a worker who is available for and devoted to work 24/7, with no domestic responsibilities.
Morra Aarons Mele, Women and Work: Let’s Talk, 03-25-09
Women have reported high levels of work life conflict (about 40% of women, according to the National study of the changing work force) for years now, because it’s so hard to find time for work and family. Many in my mom network were scared by an article today in the Washington Post that reports a decline in flexible work arrangements because of the recession. At BlogHer, we’ve figured out how to work in many different ways. Many of us online have traded some security and income for flex on our terms. Others in the BlogHer community work traditional schedules and habits. Some raise children and wonder whether we can or should re-enter the paid workforce. What are you thinking about? What have you learned that works for you and what can your work as a blogger teach others?
DJ Nelson, All Diva Media, What Is Considered Work?, 03-26-09
Are we as a society really so focused on what others think about us that we have to discuss and label “valid work choices?” If so, then it’s going to take a long time to get through this discussion because there are plenty of people who believe that unless you follow the traditional path, you aren’t working.
Melanie Ross Levin, National Women’s Law Center, Finding Work/Life Balance in the Big City, 03-26-09
I’m lucky enough to work at an organization that walks the walk and talks the talk when it comes to women achieving a work / life balance. But that isn’t the case for everyone. We’re in the midst of a record economic downturn, and for many women and men alike, flexibility is no longer an option (if it ever was).
Veronica Arreola, Viva La Feminista, Working as a Professional Feminist, 03-26-09
As a Latina of Mexican heritage, work is not a four-letter word. Lazy is. Despite the stereotype of Mexicans & our siestas, we work hard. In fact I didn’t know what a siesta really meant until I got to Spanish class in 7th grade. A siesta in my household meant taking five minutes for some iced tea. I haven’t studied our relationship with work to know if Latin@s are taught to work hard to fight against the stereotype or we just work hard naturally. Pollo – huevo. Either way, it was drilled in me early on that we work hard for what we have. And that continues to this day.
Joanne Bamberger, Pundit Mom (also at BlogHer), What if "Women’s Work" was Centerpiece of the Stimulus Package?, 03-27-09
Isn’t it long past due for our view of what jobs are worthy of national stimulus should change? My nine-year-old already equates work with getting in a car, going to the office and not getting home until dinner as the one that is deserving of her patience. If some more attention was paid to my work world –from the home computer, crafted carefully around a third-grader’s school and activity calendar so I can work and not have to pay a nanny – and it was considered by the stimpak gurus as worthy of investment, there could be some real economic stimulus on the horizon.
By in large, women are still highly concentrated in low-wage industries and continue to shoulder a disproportionate share of the uncompensated caregiving to family members, but this does not mean that it is classified as “women’s work”. One important change that needs to occur is the framing of work that women often find themselves in.
In the workplace of the future, the words "work" and "family" will be connected by more than the obligatory hyphen. In the workplace of the future, workers who are sick will have paid sick days so they can stay home for a day or two and take care of themselves – without fearing they will lose a day’s pay, or worse, their jobs. In the workplace of the future, working parents won’t have to miss their child’s big part in the school play or forfeit the chance for an important parent-teacher conference — they’ll have parental leave that will allow them to both do their jobs AND be good parents by being involved in their children’s school activities. In the workplace of the future, more workers will be able to utilize the provisions of the Family and Medical Leave Act for more reasons – and it will be affordable for them. In the future, work-family flexibility will be more than something that we’re working toward – it will be a reality.
Gloria Feldt, Heartfeldt Politics, Women’s History Month #27: The Value of Work Deja Vu All Over Agai, 03-27-09
Yep, don’t agonize: organize. Band together to make the workplace and worklife such that people of both genders can both earn a living and have a life. This is the necessary next wave of the feminist movement, one in which both men and women must participate. Because these days, men want to participate in their children’s lives as women have always done. Family-friendly policies benefit everyone.
CV Harquail, Authentic Organizations, Hey “Working” Mom– getting laid off is a “relief”. Really. 03-27-09
While a larger proportion of men than women are being laid off, it’s not as though women as a group are doing "better". (See Melissa McEwan at Shakesville for a good discussion.) Because women work fewer hours, are more likely to have part time jobs without health insurance, and in full-time jobs earn 20% less than men in the same jobs, it’s hard for many working women to support a family.
What’s more interesting than a comparison of the numbers is a comparison in how we understand the consequences of layoffs for men and women. The consequences of being laid off are different for women and men.
Marcia Yerman, The Caregiving Equation, 03-28-09
At some period during a woman’s lifetime, she will be called upon to help a family member who requires caregiving services. Whether it is in the role of daughter, mother, wife, aunt, or niece – women invariably are there to fill the gap when others are in need of assistance. Regardless of whether they have jobs or professional commitments, the task usually falls to the females in the family circle.
Jill Miller Zimon, Writes Like She Talks, Does Being a Mother Qualify as "Work"? 03-28-09
And yet, then, and now, when people ask me if I work, I think they think that I should know that they are asking about outside the home work. And yet, I still say to them, “Do you mean outside the home?” because to me, everything I do inside the home? It is work. Might love it, might hate it, might have no choice but to do it, might get someone else to do it once in a while, but it is still work.
Pamela Lyn, Pam’s Coffee Conversation, The Definition of Work, 03-28-09
A mysterious thing happens when you no longer receive a biweekly paycheck. People look at you askance. Many equate your new “jobless” status with a 20-30 point drop in IQ , the loss of years of formal education and the invalidation of any professional credentials. Some think that since your budget no longer includes regular visits to the salon that you no longer care about your appearance…or something worse. Forget the fact that your new duties include negotiating and often fighting with insurance companies, understanding medicine management and, understanding mortgages and real estate values. You are no longer considered a “professional”.
Judy Martin, WorkLife Nation, Women at Work: The Emancipation of the Female Voice, 03-28-09
Thrust into the work life balance debate, women forge ahead on-line and in the media pushing for more flexible working arrangements, better maternity leave, and changes in the Family Leave Act. But when we walk through the doors of big business (and again, not everywhere) there’s the perception that a voice that dares speak up might fall on deaf ears – or worse – end up with a pink slip. This perception needs to be slayed, but it will take both sexes to open up the conversation in the workplace.
Anne Mai Bertelsen, Work in 21st Century: Untethered, Creative, and Connected, 03-29-09
Since my first home office, technology has leapfrogged and irrevocably changed where and how work is defined: my computer has been replaced by a laptop, the modem for a wi-fi network, the faxes for email and phone calls for webinars. With 24/7 connectedness and ultimate mobility, the “office” can be anywhere. I can partner with the person down the street or on the other side of the globe. And, technology has done something else: it has freed us to be more creative, to spend more time building relationships and communities – both physical and virtual, to understand and solve the pain points of our lives.
Anita Jackson, the meaning of work in the 21st century, 03-29-09
If I had to work in that 1950s corporate model of an office that Joan Williams describes, well, everything would be different. The way I raise my babies, the way I live my life. My priorities would shift to accommodate my work. Now, my work life and personal life accommodate each other. This satisfies me– it seems sane and reasonable. I can prioritize my family without feeling like my work is suffering. I can work without feeling like I’m losing touch.
Amy Cross, WomenMakeNews.com, Women’s work on the Web–does it have to be a labour of love, 03-30-09
Why do so many women bloggers demur at the thought of charging for their work? Maybe because they don’t consider themselves cultural workers, or journalists. And if they don’t actually do time-consuming difficult journalism—maybe they shouldn’t be paid to muse or journal on-line. Yet again, if there’s an audience for musing, a sizeable audience, it does have value that could be translated into dollars. And what would be so wrong with that.
Steph Lovelady, All For The Love Of You, Everything’s Work, 03-31-09
I do find myself wondering sometimes what parts of what I do at home count as work. Is cuddling in bed and reading to a sick preschooler or watching episodes of Max and Ruby with her work? Surely napping with her isn’t, but what about the night of broken sleep that led me to need a nap in the first place? If I’m stapling, labeling and alphabetizing the printouts of online health newsletter articles I clip for Sara while June sits on my lap am I multitasking? Eating breakfast isn’t work, is it? But can it be the equivalent of eating lunch at your office desk if in the time it takes you to finish a bowl of cereal you get up to change a diaper, settle a property dispute and get more food for a child?