Thursday, January 31, 2002

The Way We Work

Per David Weinberger's praise of Jeneane's site Hyperlinked Mom, I've been haunted by her description of a near-perfect balance of child-rearing, writing, working, living, loving that she's managed to pull off.

I applaud her. I'm trying to do just about the same thing and so far, so good, BUT so many people (and I won't even say women, because many men are trying hard to have a balance of work and family/friends and are even more discriminated against in the workplace for this, than women) are simply not able to pull this off.

Two books speak to this in rather shocking and alarming ways — Crittenden's The Price of Motherhood and Williams' Unbending Gender: Why Family and Work Conflict and What To Do About It.

In the Williams book, we meet the very scary corporate robot drone, she calls "The Ideal Worker." The Ideal Worker works full-time, is fully available to travel at the corporation's convenience and time schedule, has no child- or elder-care responsibilities and is ideally not married and willing to relocate.

The Ideal Worker is never inconvenient to the corporation. In other words, if you have a life (and a family), you are essentially screened OUT of these jobs, which usually come with high financial reward and authority. I know we're all working to change this, but check these books out for a chilly view of the state of most worker bees lives.