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.