Read of the Day: “Work/Life Issues Really Depend On What Kind of Job You Have”
6:00 pm, June 18th | by Weiyu Li
Workers — particularly female workers — have been struggling in the pursuit of a work/life balance since forever. You may clock out at five but the work never ends; when you’re home, there are dishes to wash, meals to cook, laundry to fold, and oh, still a dozen emails for you to respond to. In today’s Read of the Day, Feminist and political blogger Amanda Marcotte contextualizes a recent study that claims men in white collar professions get socially penalized for challenging traditional gender roles at home. Taking an in-depth look at the Science Daily summary of the study, Marcotte finds that it is difficult for both men and women who worked stressful jobs to defy traditional gender roles:
In those cases, one body must defer to the other’s career and that body is far more likely to be the woman’s. Or their husband’s career, not in academia, limits their choices. As one biology graduate student in our study said, “My husband has a job he loves, but it will require that we don’t move: This limits my postdoc and career options significantly. I think the chances of staying in the same city throughout the career and finding a tenure track position are almost nonexistent. However, I am not sure I care any more.”
Then there is the job interview. One job candidate we interviewed said “ I also had the experience of being in an interview, mentioning my child, and seeing the SC’s [search committee head’s] face fall, and that was the end of the job. Although there could have been a million reasons, there is no doubt that having a child did not help my candidacy in that case.” Mothers are more likely to join the ranks of the second tier, or to drop out of academia.
It’s women who have a mess of divergent experiences. In some jobs, being single and childless is the best possible thing you can be if you’re female, because you’re perceived to have a killer combination of a responsible personality but no demands at home to tax your time. In other jobs, however, being single and childless is perceived as “weird” and can hurt you. In my experience, being single and childless in an administrative job means you have to take on more of the work so the mothers can leave early to pick up their kids, but doing that extra work often doesn’t translate into more respect or more money. But being able to give more to your job in the more competitive professional world outweighs people’s distrust of the single, childless woman for being “weird”, and can help you climb the ladder.
To read “Work/Life Issues Really Depend On What Kind of Job You Have” in full, click here.