I swear I'll start watching this show so I can join all y'all on this conversation.
I had a dream about Girls this weekend, and I plan on re-watching all the episodes. haha.
Also, Diane Rehm had a show today discussing that article about women not having it all. Apparently fathers struggle with balancing work and family a lot more now too. My husband has been lucky in that his job allows more flexible work hours and allows him to work from home on occasion, so this has helped us a lot when the kids have been sick or need appointments or whatever. My job is a lot less flexible.
I understand that fathers struggle to balance work-life stuff as well, but I don't think it's the same thing.
For example, I recently went to a preview art exhibition opening at our local art museum where the director of the museum brought along his recently-adopted baby girl and doted on her the entire night. The consensus among all the high donor level patrons at the opening was that it was adorable. However, I've seen the same exact thing happen with a female director, and people have called it unprofessional and inappropriate.
As the article points out, when male professionals choose to value family commitments and do things like take off work early for a child's soccer game, they are praised as being good fathers. When female professionals do the same thing, they are criticized for not being serious enough about their careers, and put on the "mommy track" where they are less likely to receive important assignments, and therefore less likely to get promotions and move up the corporate ranks.
Also, unrelated, I have been menstruating for 3 weeks straight. Today marks day #21. I am SO tired all the time. I can't handle this shit. I have an OB/GYN appointment this morning.
Girls: I enjoyed the last few episodes more than I thought I would, and was surprised that the season is already over?! I want more.
Courtney: holy crap. Hope it's nothing much and that it's easily taken care of. Are you on hormonal birth control? (Or have you recently gone off of it?)
The article about work and family, or as we like to call it at my job "work/(no)life balance"... it is as tough for men as it is for women. Perhaps in more "traditional" (meaning: old fashioned) households, the burden is more on the mother than the father. Among my colleagues, many of the women have either better paying or less flexible jobs (such as those that travel or face clients) than their husbands. Quite often the guys are the ones that need to call off of work to take care of a sick kid or go to school meetings. I actually feel like the women are less likely to ask for time off or a special arrangement for family/personal situations than the guys are. I wonder if that's partially because it's such a male dominated industry and company.
I am secretly aghast that most of my female colleagues who have had kids have worked right up until they went into labor (even if they were on bed rest, they found a way to work from home/bed), and put those babies right into full time day care after their 4 weeks of leave were up. It makes me feel... not liberated to think they are doing the wrong thing.
Yeah, when I was 9 months pregnant in 2002, my FMLA did not allow me to take time off before having my baby unless my doctor specifically recommended something wrong (like high blood pressure or bed rest or whatever), so when I had some Braxton-Hicks contractions (false contractions) close to my due date and also had high blood pressure and decided I wanted to stay home until the birth, my work hassled me about getting the proper FMLA documentation after I did eventually give birth. It was such a goddamn pain in the ass to deal with while I was bringing my new baby home.
Yea, I appreciate that it's tough but our work policies are pretty liberal about letting people use vacation time before/after, or unpaid leave if there is no medical reason. (I know that sucks and isn't ideal and mothers should just be given more time off like they are in practically every other country). I'm just shocked that even the ladies who are offered paid time off do not want to.
I had to go straight back to work after the kids were born, well with Alysha, with Jacob I went to college. It is one of my many regrets in life. I often tell people who are planning to start a family that if I had it to do again I would have made sure I was able to spend the first year at home with my kids. My babysitter saw the first steps and heard the first words, that was really hard for me. I am all for women having a career, I believe it is very important for sanity even, but there are just some things you shouldn't miss with your kids.
Having been a single mom it was always up to me to miss work if the kids were sick, or got in trouble in school, had to go to the doctor or whatever. It was hard, I had managers that would show up whenever they felt like it, go take 3 hour lunches, leave early to golf, etc. but if I was an hour late due to a doctors appointment it was frowned on. I even had one boss think I should leave my 2 year old son in the hospital and come to work because there were nurses to care for my kid, I wasn't needed there but they needed me at work.
I was able to be with Izzy for the first 6 months before I went back to work. That seemed to be a perfect amount for us because any longer I might have started becoming resentful and she probably would have become more needy.
I did about 3 months for both babies which was the most I could do and still get paid. During the second baby, my husband was out of work, so he watched the kids for several years until he found some steady work around 2006. My workplace allowed me to use my breastpump and changed my set break times and lunch so that I could do 3 20 minute sessions a day, but I had to fight to use a vacant office for it (as opposed to the bathroom, ugh).
I wish I could have spent more time with my babies, but I was lucky that for my first baby, my mom watched her, and Jacob was there during the second baby, so it worked out that my kids were with family during their early years.
I've let most of my people with new babies just work from home for a long while once they came back from leave -- as long as they had some sort of system in place (like a daycare, or a nanny/babysitter, or another family member), so that they could be there for breast feedings, etc, while still getting their days' work done. It's worked out pretty well. Haven't had anyone abuse it.
As far as you know.
The ones I've let work from home, frankly kicked the asses of their at-the-office colleagues. They appreciated the flexibility -- and especially with an infant at home -- were willing to trade off some lost minutes during the day by catching up at weird hours when they were awake anyway with the baby. Of course that doesn't work for all types of jobs.
No one can have it all. Something somewhere has to give. Career. Time with your kids. Time with your spouse. Sleep. Leisure. Finances. It's very hard, and you try to do what's best for you and your family.
Most women work right up until the birth of the baby because they know that the time off they may need afterward is far more valuable (and also because it feels good to be up and around and keeping yourself occupied - what are you going to do at home... sit around and wait for it to happen?). I can't imagine going back to work after four weeks myself, though, and it's wonderful that you let your new moms work from home, Heidi. My husband and I worked opposite shifts for many, many years, so that someone was always home with the kids. But I was fortunate, I have a husband who is a wonderfully willing and participatory father. And we sacrificed a lot of our time together. Fortunately again, we have a strong, solid relationship that could withstand that.
When my twins were three and I was pregnant with my youngest, I was working for an attorney service. I left for work before they woke up, and returned late in the evening. I saw them for maybe and hour and a half a day. One night I was putting them to bed, and one burst into tears and cried, "please, Mama, don't be gone in the morning!" And I couldn't stand it. Because what was I doing, having children only to never see them? So I quit my job, and stayed home through the birth of my youngest and until she was a year and a half old. (I stayed home for 20 months after my SURPRISE! twins were born; that was unintentional, though, I'd intended to go back after 8 weeks when I thought I was only having one, hah.) Surviving on one income was horrendous. But at least I had the opportunity to do it. So yeah, no one can have it all. Choices have to be made.
And Courtney, that sounds awful. Good luck with the tests. Hope all turns out well.
Heidi, I was being silly. A job is done when it's done well. It doesn't really matter how one chooses to achieve that. At least it shouldn't from the boss' perspective.
Courtney, damn that sucks. I hope all is well.
Just to be clear, I let the dads work from home too. Most of them have wives who have to return back to work after a month or two, and it seems like at that point, they are needed more than ever at home.
You are right that something always has to give, but I'd hope that more employers are seeing that it doesn't really benefit them to be inflexible and to force both women and men to choose between doing OK at their job and doing OK by their family. Obviously it depends a lot on the nature of the work, but I think there are a lot of jobs where a person could be offered slightly different hours, or a split shift, or to work fewer/longer days per week, or working from home sometimes. Most of those adaptations don't cost the company anything. I guess I'm really lucky that the company allows us to be flexible. I think the more difficult you make if for someone to do well with both job and family life, the less likely you are to earn their loyalty and best efforts.
My work has been inflexible in recent years because we take queue calls, and when they were giving us more flex time, the later queue shifts were not fully covered. I wish they would revisit that thought because it would be nice to work early one day a month for those of us with late shifts and no seniority so we do not have to dip into our vacation time for doctor's appointments.
That sucks Courtney, I hope you get it sorted out.
Then I got a new director and his philosophy was that if he worked from home, he wouldn't do any work and would just watch TV instead of working. even with our track record of showing increases in productivity he pulled the plug on my team working from home. in the year and a half since he changed that policy my vacation and sick time has gone from over 200 hours available to less than 30 because I have to constantly take a half day here and there in order to get to a doctor's appointment where as before I could take care of that during an extended lunch break and return to work after my appointment was over.
it just sucks because our success working from home allows all these other teams to be able to have scheduled days/weeks to work remotely and I am stuck coming into the office everyday. I don't even have to be a slave to the call queues anymore since I've been promoted a few times since then, but it's still a non-starter for him.
...unless of course he needs something done on the weekend, then he'll call me up and ask me to work a few hours from home. it pisses me off like you wouldn't believe since working from home is fine when it benefits him, but not when it benefits the employee!
Heidi, good on ya for allowing people to have flexible schedules like that. I wish there were more boss ladies like you (can I give you my boss' number? )
People do the same to me when I ask for a quick suck.
Beth, that's lame. If you're hiring professionals, you should treat them like they are professionals. Don't assume they're not going to conduct themselves professionally, unless they don't, and then address the problem once it occurs. If you want to have an arbitrary policy about working from the office, fine, but don't tell people that you don't think they'd actually work if they aren't in the office being supervised. He's basically said he doesn't trust your work ethic. What a way to inspire people... Adult professionals should not need that much supervision. If I have someone who needs to be watched that closely in order to do their job well, I will just fire them or encourage them to look for a new job. :P
I think my view is really skewed because I don't always work as hard as I could, either in the office or at home, but I still get more done, and do what I do better, than a lot of the people I work with, so I don't see any problem with the way I work. And almost every boss I've had has been happy with my work, since I'm exceeding their expectations no matter how "hard" I work. One of the few things I love about my company! Our work performance is not supposed to be measured on how hard you work, but what the result is.
Last edited by chiapet; 06-26-2012 at 01:04 PM.
that's the way I took at as well even though I wasn't exactly singled out directly. it's actually made me consider transferring departments at my earliest opportunity or after my medical stuff clears up in October, I may even look elsewhere since there are other issues besides working remotely that make me feel like I can better serve another company.
I would love to work in the kind of place that would allow the occasional login and work from home. I probably wouldn't do it often, I do enjoy the social interaction, even though I work with a bunch of idiots. But it would never work being an admin or accountant type, especially in construction. These guys need constant babysitting.
I really hate to say this (HATE HATE), but my company is unionized, and it is really hard for my employer to fire anyone because there are all these bargained-for steps the company has to take, and even if they have taken all those steps, the union is allowed to file a grievance and can sometimes keep the employee's job. This can make it so that it is really hard for my employer to fire lazy employees who produce shoddy work and who perhaps abuse the FMLA system. I like that I'm in my union, but I really wish my employer could fire those lazy employees whose work messes I have to clean up all the time.