Saturday, 8 May 2010

mother's day in the workplace

todays "career" supplement in the newspaper had a mother's day feature about how to do the whole work life balance thing if you're a mother of teenagers. the premise of the article was that a woman is likely to be parenting teens at the peak of her career, senior management roles were mentioned more than once.
the whole thing made me see red. what, senior managers are the only ones who need to strike a balance? is that because the rest of us aren't committed to the job? or because our families don't count? or because the balance is easier when you have less responsibilty at work?
i am the lowest form of life in my job, i'd be lower than the cleaner if i wasn't also the cleaner and the work life balance still isn't a picnic:
  • i'm edgy about the kids calling because mobile phones are frowned on
  • if i told them to call reception my business would not be my own
  • if there is an emergency it better be on monday (when i'm home) because if i miss any time i wont be paid for it, there is no paid family leave for the likes of me
  • a senior manager makes the rules, they can organise their diary any way they wish, if i disappear for a bathroom break someone will ask where i went
  • i earn less than a senior manager so i can't so easily pay for services to make my life easier and the balance more achievable
  • if i take too much family time i'm regarded as uninterested
  • and i cant make up for it by working from home

gah! the reason folks want more money (as one might earn in a senior position) is because it makes life easier. when they write an article about the difficulty of holding a senior position and being a mum am i supposed to take it seriously????

and the after thought: it's a very good thing that somebody is recognising that teens and tweens still need their mums (and dads), so often it is assumed that it's only the littlies who have specific needs for care


  1. I find that sort of take unconscionable. Like everyone else is invisible. The New York Times often disappoints me by trafficking in such classist garbage.

    You make some excellent points, and it's too bad you didn't write the article instead.

  2. Well said. How many times have I seen that typical situation of senior managers strolling in and out as they please while the minions are chained to their desks ready to unjam the photocopier or make a cup of tea. If only the two were forced to change places for a week or two, that would educate some of the pampered elite.

  3. Hi Kylie... Happy Mom's Day :)

  4. NO you are not supposed to take it seriously. I agree with Leah, classist garbage are the words for it!

    And oh, GOD the clock-watchers are the worst. We have a couple in our office. "Where did you go? That was a pretty long cigarette break, wasn't it?" strangle strangle strangle

  5. Kylie I couldn't agree more. My boss can bunk off for an eyebrow trim but the minute I leave my desk for a bathroom break, he's asking for me. I swear he has toilet radar. I had to balance work and kids all my life. Even called in to say that I was sick because my then non-family friendly workplace would have frowned at me staying home with a sick 9 year old! I just spit in his coffee.

  6. Agree totally with this posting.

    In the same area is the telecommuting saints. How do you unblock a sewer, panel beat and spray paint cars, lay bricks or fix air conditioning by telecommuting?

  7. leah,
    this is nothing new for me, back in my cosmopolitan reading days it annoyed me that every career article focused on office workers, never was there anyhting so practical as a nurse, a teacher or a cook

    maybe the plebs would get some shocks, too?

    thank you, thank you
    it was a pretty average day, the kids ran out out of treat-mum-like-she's-special on my birthday

    i hate to imagine how a smoker would cope where i am, you'd have to hang out to break time and you would still get the evil eye

    i always hate it when the kids are just sick enough that i'm not sure if they should be at school or not. and then theres the fear that all four will get sick a week apart and necessitate a month off :)
    i've often been tempted to spit in coffee

    yeah, not all of of us can telecommute :)

  8. mother,s day should never occur in the workplace, only on a deserted island in the middle of the caribeen surrounded by slaves who wait on their every need


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