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Sunday, February 04, 2007

What do I Think About This?

I am not sure what the answer is myself. This is one of those issues where I could keep busy for a week just debating in my head. I am referring to a column I read in the local paper (I still love reading the paper paper with a cup of coffee in hand) entitled "More employers discriminating against mothers". by Megan Hook.

Ms. Hook is a stay-at-home mother of three boys who describes her attempt, after 4 years of stay-at-homeness, to rejoin the workforce, and applies for a job at her former employer. Well several jobs at her former employer. To make a long story short, she didn't get the job and it was insinuated that it was because she had small children at home.

Here's my dilemma: the Retro Housewife in me says "hooray" because it will be better for her boys for her to be home with them, and I think if you stock the world with offspring, you should take care of them as well.

But I don't like discrimination for stupid, arbitrary reasons. It really bugs me. I have heard the sad, flappy argument about how women with kids will need to spend more time taking care of them, can't work long hours, blah blah blah. Or maybe it's the one where they say "she has been out of the work force for 4 years and her skills are rusty". (Possible comeback: so what's your excuse?). I am not even going to deny that those two statements have some truth to them. But here's the thing... So what?

On the plus side, you have a more mature woman, who understands responsibility, who obviously WANTS to be there and will most likely be 3 times as motivated, and goof off less because she has become an expert at time management and has no patience for hanging out at the water cooler gossiping. So maybe she won't be able to "work" late. The quotes are intended.

I have a real problem with the "who can pretend to work the hardest bunch" (the ones at the water cooler gossipping, taking 2 hour lunches and then staying at work until 11:00 at night to impress the boss and show everyone how macho they are.) I have seen plenty of these goofballs during my working career and I have to say they really ruin it for the productive employees.

Face it folks, you will get more out of a person when they are fresh and well rested. Everyone should go home at 5:00. Plus, a mother has experience that you can't learn in school, (it's called common sense) and is an expert at handling stressful situations. She is trained to see things as they are. All invaluable skills in ANY workplace.

So that's it! I know what I think now! We mothers are far too valuable to be wasting our skills in some dumb office. But if you can convince one to come work for you, you've got gold and you better treat her as such.


Anonymous said...

Hi there, I just found your webpage, and will be back possibly daily to try to learn how to better take care of my wife. I'm a new house husband due to a debilitating illness. I have found that it's very hard to run a household, and we don't have any human children to take care of, I find it hard enough to take care of my wife who works 12 to 13 hours a day, (sometimes 6 days a week). Not becuase she has too work these hours, but because she feels she needs to, to keep her job, (or because she doesn't want to spend time here wih me, I'm not sure which is the case, but I don't question her). I take very good care of her, (well as best I can). I make sure she has clean clothes, a clean house, a clean and nicely dressed husband who smells nice, and is there to rub her feet after giving her a hot foot bath. Followed by, (or sometimes before) a nice home cooked meal I've made for her using the skills I have aquired by watching several food TV programs.
I do all of the food shopping as well as the clothes shopping for her, (she hates to go shopping) but I don't mind it as long as I know what size she wants to wear, which makes it hard to get it right the first time. I have found I must return items I've bought because it doesn't fit the first time. Every woman knows a size 8 is not always a size 8... and so do I!
I'm very happy I've found a way to function in this world with my heart problems and incredible back pain without becoming a couch potato that just lives off of a woman who clearly needs me to help her with her life, and to help the woman I love function more easily and perhaps more happily in her world.
Thanks for reading my story! This is the first time I've ever written to anyone or anything like this, but I do understand the plight of the woman, and I wish more men understood these things.
Ken Mc!

Nomad said...

Ken needs someone to talk to...
Poor Ken!

Great a former career woman now stay at home mom for going on 7 years it can be so challenging, WAY more tiring,...personally I found the office politics so exhausting. I completely agree with you take on the office situation... and the 9-5 thing. vs the loosers who lunch and then stay till 11 working so "hard"...In my mind if you need to stay til 11 then you are not working smart...and your office is understaffed...

Anonymous said...

Two points:

1. Given that most HR departments are predominantly female, I wonder how much of the discrimination is being done by women against women. She mentions two interviewers in the article, both are female.

2. Unless, before she had children, a woman was working a job that was rather unskilled (like clerical work), chances are that four years out of the work force has put her significantly behind. I think it's foolish to minimize this fact. The world is moving so fast today that being out of some field for that long will make you look like you just stepped out of ancient Egypt.

The real problem here is that only in rare cases can a woman have it all. This is the central fact that a lot of women struggle with and an inconvenient truth that your post doesn't address.