Sunday, April 26, 2009

There she goes again with the work thing


I am reflecting about gender and work. Partly because of my own career angst (it is starting to bore even me, by the way) and partly because of the very cool series of interviews at Motherscribe, in which I participated and then read everyone else's answers to the ones I was too chicken to answer, like about sex and stuff. I know. But it's very cool, these interviews that JCK is doing. Thought provoking.

I'm remembering how I heard on some radio thingy how when men negotiate for jobs they demand more money, and country club memberships and season tickets and such, but women negotiate for like laptops and home internet so they can actually work more.

And then there was my friend's boyfriend (now husband) who was laid off and would only apply for jobs that would be a promotion from the last one. This guy was not someone who I would think would be Mr. Hardball Negotiator, but guess what? It worked! He was unemployed for almost a year and then got a job as a director of a whole thingy. He just thought that's what he deserved--imagine!

And then there are my graduate school friends who are off doing Big Fancy Jobs now, and here's me turning down all kinds of things like that, well not really, just sort of not pursuing things at that level. The "all kinds of things" that I am turning down are things for which I am overqualified, things that I'm offered mostly because I'm selling myself at bargain basement prices. Because of that silly invisibility thing I have--you know, work makes me visible and real and is therefore a privilege and bah bah we don't talk about pay here. It is rather silly.

And then I'm thinking about what it would be like if I was a man negotiating for a few years or more of part time work so I could be with my family. And how probably no one would blink if I demanded a huge increase in my base salary so I could do less work for almost the same money--and how everyone might think it was SO SWEET and STRONG and such a SUPPORTIVE spouse instead of thinking I had fallen off the career wagon or gone SOFT you know the HORMONES. (I have no evidence that anyone actually thinks this about me, I should say, but in my HEAD there is SOMEONE who does.) And of course--this is the Big Thing--no one would doubt I would be able to easily return to full time work when the time was right. No one would say things like you are making some REALLY IMPORTANT choices here, Nora. You are at a real FORK IN THE ROAD.

That's pretty much it. That's what I'm thinking about tonight. There you have it, my thinly disguised sexism is now out in the open.

19 comments:

J and J Acres said...

I, too, think about these things. My friend (JFriend) is friends with a girl whose dad is a CEO of a fairly big company. The friend's dad told JFriend once that he 'hates hiring young females b/c they always get pregnant'.

Bea said...

I recall reading an article recently about daddy-track men, and the jist of it was that it can be done, but that men tend to meet with more resistance from their employers when they try to shift into part-time or from-home work - employers are prepared for women to seek these kinds of accommodations (whether or not they're supportive), but everyone is kind of stunned when a man does the same thing.

All Adither said...

I've been thinking a lot about this too, and I don't even work. Much.

wheelsonthebus said...

in this economy, they'd laugh at a man making such demands

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I love the interviews too.

I'm going to sound sexist for saying this, but IN GENERAL I think it's harder for women to leave their babies than for men. Maybe it's partly genetic and partly socialized, but it's there regardless.

planetnomad said...

Try this on for size...I am now "sans" occupation (i.e. no occupation) and my husband had to write a letter saying that he was in charge of me and responsible for me. I am totally having an identity crisis here! This was to get our visas here in Morocco. But I was teaching two part-time private ESL classes and both just fizzled. I can't say I'm working and then they'll say "where?" and I say "well not actually right now" and they'd say "You need a letter from your place of employment" and I'd say "Umm...well..." which wouldn't go over. At all. So I put "sans." But that letter he had to write! Augh!

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

My husband says, "Asking isn't stealing." In general I think women like to do a dance -- a verbal dance, a conversational give-and-take, which does not extend well to interviews. Men (in general!) are better at simply stating what they want.

BTW I think your friend is crazy. If my husband were unemployed for a year I'd say FIGURE IT OUT, DUDE! Do you know how much $ he'd have to make in the next year to compensate for one year of lost income? Sheesh.

Madge said...

when do we get to stop thinking about this stuff?

JCK said...

It is a lot to think about. Somehow it is hard to imagine a time when we are not doing this dance.

I loved your interview, and thank you again for doing it!

Heidi said...

I agree with Madge, when do we get to stop thinking about this?

I also wanted to say though that in all the families who have a choice about working outside the home full, some, or none, it is always the woman who choses the some or none option. I've heard there are men who do it, I just don't know any of them.

I also wanted to say that you are NOT shooting yourself in the foot by making this move now. I really believe it.

LISA WHEELER MILTON said...

I do think men get extra kudos for parenting - family and friends used to applaud Greg for 'babysitting' when I worked evenings.

Used to irritate me a lot.

I think it's good and right to keep going with this; I love JCK's interviews AND your thoughts.

Tricia said...

I share your sexism, oh yes I do!

Misty said...

I am write there with you. I've thought of this from time to time. I've watched similar happen with my friend, who also works at my husbands mostly male employed company.

lapoflux said...

Oh Nora, I hear you!
I may have to go over and read those interviews at motherscribe.
For some reason the moment I resigned from my job I started seeing my "worth" on the job market melting away. Kind of like a sand castle as the tide comes in. Men don't feel this do they?

Dani in NC said...

You lost me at the word "negotiate" :-). Down here on the lower rungs, no one (male or female) negotiates anything. If you get offered a job, you either take it or you don't. When I decided to be a stay-at-home mom for a while, well-meaning friends and relatives kept sending me job leads. Around here, no one stays home with their kids on purpose so they didn't recognize me as a SAHM. They just thought I was unemployed.

phd in yogurtry said...

I thought the only men who admitted out loud that they wanted to spend more time with family were those who were fired from top political appointments?

I am not bored at all by your thoughts on this. I can relate. I wish there were more flex-time and pt-time jobs available for parents.

betty said...

ivory bridesmaid dresses, white evening gowns, cheap wedding dresses, green bridesmaid dresses, white bridesmaid dresses, yellow evening gowns, black wedding dresses, blue bridesmaid dresses, little black dresses, pink bridesmaid dresses, purple evening gowns

asdf963 said...

Married is a big step in the life of a woman and the last thing you need to worry is to find the perfect wedding dress. princess wedding dress So when you decide to look for wedding dresses in Atlanta is the place to start. designer wedding dress First, you should try to picture the perfect wedding dress for you: discount wedding dress the length, if so, you want long sleeves, short sleeves, or if you prefer a clothing tops, etc. dress for weddings You only need to keep in mind, fill down your choices To increase the chances of finding the perfect Bridal Atlanta has to offer. red wedding dress

asdf963 said...

Elegant gray design with sequined wedding dress for the bride has a halter wedding dresses strong background in a very feminine, elegant sense of dress will be wedding dresses designed to set off the bride’s body more graceful and elegant, wedding dresses with red fingernails on the bride and wedding dresses the softer look obvious more beautiful. lace wedding dresses