Friday, April 21, 2006

Work/Life Balance

I was reading here about a discussion on the "Mommy Wars", and newer "Daddy Wars" (It's a good blog post, you truly should go check it out! Now! But come back, ok?) and it reminded me of an issue at an old job, which was who was going to put in the million hours of OT, and who wasn't. The argument went that the parents of small children couldn't be expected to work late, because they had to pick up their kids at daycare, they had to get to a soccer game or a ballet recital, they had to tuck their kids in at bedtime. These are very valid arguments, which always trumped those of the no-kid employees, whose arguments of, "I had plans with friends", or "I really want to watch XYZ on TV tonight, sit on my ass and eat some pizza" carried very little weight. Well, as a parent, I was on the winning side, but I always tried to bring up the more important issue, which was resoundingly ignored by all:

WHY DO WE DO THIS TO OURSELVES? WHY DO WE LET THE BOSSES DO THIS TO US? If there is too much work for people to do in a 40 hour workweek, why the hell can't we hire more people? The childless and/or single folks have ABSOLUTELY as much of a right to a life outside of work as those of us breeders. Why can't this be the argument? Why are we pitting the employees against each other, when the argument SHOULD be, "We are all valuable employees...valuable employees are more valuable when their lives are in balance...hey, we have too much work here for our valuable employees...let's hire MORE valuable employees, so we don't burn out the ones we have, and cause all of this resentment." Of course, I work in the software industry, and everyone is expected to LOVE their job and be there 20 hours a day, and 'take one for the team'. I suspect many industries are just as bad. It's bullshit. I hearby declare my right to have a LIFE, with or without a kid...when Maya grows up and moves out, I will NOT start working more hours so that those employees with little ones can leave after their day is done. It's just not right.

Seems like 'The Man' is always finding ways to pit us against each's truly just a way of keeping us down, so we don't overthrow 'The Man' and take away his MONEY. So, if stay at home moms and moms who work outside the homes fight about which is more valuable, and put each other down with their self-righteousness, and we get into all of these little battles about breast feeding vs. the bottle, crib vs. co-sleeping, spanking vs. no-spanking, we're diverted from the bigger issues out there, like how to support each other and raise the best SOCIETY of children that we can, not just our own kids, but help make sure that all of the kids are doing well. After all, these kids are going to be our doctors, lawyers, mechanics, chefs, unemployed, presidents, CEOs, musicians, teachers, etc. We should support each other in raising them the best way we can, and not focus so much on our different approaches.

If 'The Man' can keep us all fighting about who will put in the hours at the office, then that keeps our resentments diverted from the real issue, which is, "Who says we all have to work so damn hard to begin with? What the hell is so wrong about taking your time and doing something right, and having enough employees around to make sure it gets done that way, and people having the right to do whatever the hell they want after work, be it go to a movie with a friend or sit at home and have pizza or tuck their little ones in at night?"

Boy, I'm rambling and rant-y this week, huh? What do you all think? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

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