Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Two Conversations

I am thinking about writing about mothers, work, and feminism. On Saturday, I looked a bit at the academic literature on the subject. I bought $50 worth of books from Amazon. I also talked to a couple of friends about the subject. I always mine my friends for ideas before I do any research. Here's what they said:

One friend is single, childless, and an executive editor at a publishing company. She feels great resentment against parents who work. She said that they are able to leave work early because of baseball games, while she and other single people are forced to pick up the slack. She works until 8:30 every night, and they should, too. She also dislikes it when women work part time while their kids are young, but still expect the same raises and promotions as those who work full time.

I got a very different story from my academic friend with a 3 year old. She feels that she is at a big disadvantage because she had a child. She has to leave at five in order to pick up her daughter from childcare. But then she works for another couple hours in the evening and over the weekend. At work, she never discusses the fact that she has a child or has trouble juggling all of her resonsibilities. She is constantly exhausted and is putting off having another child.

Different stories from different perspectives and from different occupations. But the pressures of the new economy are affecting everyone.

UPDATE: Steven Karlson of Cold Spring Shops comments on my post, Two Conversations. He writes, "I have to wonder how much longer the One Path to Promotion model is going to go without competing career paths. Too much stress, too much resentment, too much discontent".

He also wondered with my academic friend didn't tell others at work why she had other commitments. Because she didn't want to admit weakness. She has to compete with guys whose kids are already grown or have wives to take care of all those family details.

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