June 22, 2012

"Imagine what kind of policies people would adopt if this idea that work and family life should balance..."

"... for everyone, was at the forefront of their minds."
There are just countless places we could make changes without hurting productivity, and probably improve it. I frankly hope women and men will read this and start saying “why don’t we do that?” or “why don’t we ask for that?” or “why is this taboo to say?”

54 comments:

Scott M said...

Imagine what kind of policies people would adopt if this idea that work and family life should balance, for everyone, was at the forefront of their minds.

One reality this ignores is a) not everyone has families (see DINKs) and b) if people work in a situation where most if not all are salaried without bonus/commission, those seen to be absent from work more often are seen not to be pulling their weight.

MRG said...

Because of their two-parent households, whites are privileged to have this discussion.

Matthew Sablan said...

"I told the last one that I’d talk to the C.E.O. if he’d tell me honestly whether he’s the one trying to figure out what to do with his kids during the gap between school and camp, or if his wife is on that one (we didn’t talk). What do you think is going on?"

-- I wouldn't want to talk to someone who was assuming bad faith in me either.

Synova said...

"Because of their two-parent households, whites are privileged to have this discussion."

You are a bad man.

Quayle said...

What is always missing in the "can have it all" vexations is a focus on the child as anything other than a possession of the woman.

Here's my take on this:

everyone in this world are equal in that they only have 24 hours in the day.

You can always get more money. Let's see you get more time in a day.

Time is the true coin of life.

So the question is, where do you spend the coin.

Do you spend it giving yourself the praise that comes from achievement in the work place?

Or do you spend it giving of your love to a child through time together.

I mean, I've met women that have had it all.

And their kids got almost nothing of the real coin of life.

Chip S. said...

Anne-Marie Slaughter's career in a nutshell:

The lowly beginning:

In the 1980s Slaughter was part of the team headed by Professor Abram Chayes that helped the Sandinista government of Nicaragua bring suit against the United States in the International Court of Justice for violations of international law, in the case Nicaragua v. United States (1986).

The pinnacle:

Director of Policy Planning for the U.S. State Department from January 2009 until February 2011.

No wonder US foreign policy is working out so well!

edutcher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Quayle said...


I mean, I've met women that have had it all.


And I've met plenty of men that have had it all also, except a relationship with their kids.

Matthew Sablan said...

"We need to have managers who will look at someone who’s still in the office at midnight and say, look, you’re not managing your time as well as the person who can do the same amount of work and be out of here by 6:30."

-- That implies they're doing the same amount of work. I doubt it. I don't stay late, but I also don't pretend that I accomplish as much as the people there from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. I've chosen to balance my life in a way that staying late is not a thing I do routinely.

edutcher said...

I noticed the women who worked flex hours still had trouble keeping it together. This is a nice little feminist pipe dream, like every woman having a career, and not a job.

PS Notice nobody worries about men having it all.

Chip S. said...

I haven't had it all, but as far as the views of Anne-Marie Slaughter are concerned, I've had enough.

Matthew Sablan said...

"The core question is: are you actually willing to make a trade-off between the perfect and the very, very good so that your employee can have enough time not just to “make it work” but to have a life that they are reasonably happy living. That’s really what it comes down to."

-- Isn't the core question what the employee is willing to trade off? I can't decide what my employer allows, I can decide what I will accept.

The Drill SGT said...

Look at how successful both genders have been in school, since we succeeded in re-tooling the way we teach :)

PS: after we get done feminizing the business environment so that women can compete, we really need to get working on the Army and Marines.

PPS: Outcomes matter. Our businesses are increasingly multi-national. If there are truly advantages to a nuturing family friendly work environment, we'd see signs of that model popping up as industry leaders in various sectors in more than one nation.

That we don't convinces me that the male-salaryman model (to use the most extreme cliche) still works in most sectors, and I suspect that in the rest of this century we're going to be going head to head with the Indians and the Chinese, neither of which do I see going all nuturing to beat us.

Matthew Sablan said...

"If people were in charge who had to balance something other than being in the office all the time, then we wouldn’t have this culture."

-- There are more women in leadership positions than ever before; so, that's clearly not true.

Matthew Sablan said...

"I was very conscious of openly saying “I have to go to a parent-teacher meeting. I have to go home for dinner.” What kind of society doesn’t let us say these things? "

-- At the two places I've worked, I've never seen that problem. Guess I'm lucky.

RonF said...

I'm a Scout leader. My kid hasn't been in Scouts since 2004. But the Troop still depends on me to show up to help run campouts. The last outing I HAD to be there because no other leader was First Aid trained - which is not a terribly complex training and takes a few hours. Of the last 9 kids that joined, only one father shows up at campouts.

The fathers of these kids tell me "I have to work." My reaction is "Are you telling me that if you go to your boss once every couple of months and tell him 'I need to go on a Boy Scout outing with my son' he'd say 'No!' and look down on you?" I don't believe it.

X said...

Imagine if Anne-Marie Slaughter said something interesting. Princeton students and the world waits.

Scott M said...

At the two places I've worked, I've never seen that problem. Guess I'm lucky.

You're probably too white.

The Drill SGT said...

Synova said...
"Because of their two-parent households, whites are privileged to have this discussion."

You are a bad man.


LOL

Rabel said...

"It’s no accident that one area where we see near parity among men and women as leaders is among presidents of Ivy League universities. That’s because academia allows you to control your own time in a way most careers don’t."

What an amazing statement.

Matthew Sablan said...

"It’s no accident that one area where we see near parity among men and women as leaders is among presidents of Ivy League universities. That’s because academia allows you to control your own time in a way most careers don’t."

-- Personally, I liked the university. They gave us money and facilities, we didn't have to produce anything! You've never been out of college! You don't know what it's like out there! I've *worked* in the private sector. They expect *results*.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Nobody can 'have it all'. There are always trade offs in everything you do in life.

If you want to put family over work, then you will trade one job for another that has more flexibility. Some people have more choices than others but there is still a trade off in every choice.

Choose and stop whining.

holdfast said...

"The fathers of these kids tell me "I have to work." My reaction is "Are you telling me that if you go to your boss once every couple of months and tell him 'I need to go on a Boy Scout outing with my son' he'd say 'No!' and look down on you?" I don't believe it.

Believe it. If you work on Wall Street or in BigLaw, you have to be pretty much on call 24/7. Maybe not in the office, but ready to jump on a conf call or flip open your laptop.

My Dad was heavily involved with our Cubs and Scouts, and I don't know how I am going to manage it when the time comes. Hopefully I'll figure something out, because I want to be involved, but I just don't control my schedule.

wyo sis said...

I worked in a food processing and packaging plant while I was working on my degree. Hours of standing on concrete floors, wet, cold, working as fast as humanly possible. Getting time off to take care of my children was nearly impossible. The supervisors were nothing short of brutal. Their supervisors were the same. I couldn't take time off to stay home with my kids when they had chicken pox. My 14 year old daughter had to stay home from school when I couldn't be there.
So, if women in high powered jobs have a little trouble balancing work and family they're not so different. Except they have the means to hire help and not keep their children out of school. I've been on both sides of this and the white collar side is much better. I'm not trying to diminish the problem, but put it in perspective. Working hard and balancing family isn't new or reserved for the educated, they're just better at articulating it.

The Drill SGT said...

Matthew Sablan said...

-- Personally, I liked the university. They gave us money and facilities, we didn't have to produce anything! You've never been out of college! You don't know what it's like out there! I've *worked* in the private sector. They expect *results*.


It's also no secret, that universities are the most leftist sector, and the least efficent. She is in the social sciences of course. The soft squishee side, where race, gender and politics rule.

Over in the labs, even the bio labs where the majority of the grad students are female, I suspect that the majority of the awards are won by the folks who work 60 hour weeks, and most of them are guys.

Michael Haz said...

The discussions of "women having it all" are increasingly tedious.

The (feminist) answers are always "Yes! You can have it all!! And you should want to have it all!!"

It's nonsense, of course.

No one, male or female, can "have it all", by whatever definition of "all" he or she may contrive.

Want a kick-ass career, plus incredibly bright children? You'll need to outsource some of your child-rearing to others (probably low-paid women, by the way. Contemplate the "fairness" of that).

Want a massively satisfying and rewarding career? Plan on giving up a lot of free time; time with your children. It's not win-win at all. You may think it is, but in 18 years the home-schooled kids will rule the world, while your kids private school background will make them second tier.

If you don't get the parenting right, nothing else you may do in your life will matter. And you won't know if you got it right until you see how your children raise their children. There are no do-overs.

No one seems to fuss over men "having it all", especially men. Men just go to work every day, slug their way through long days in hopes of climbing the economic ladder. No entitlement, no whining about "fairness" or "fulfillment" or anything else.

Just work. Then we die earlier than women. Here's a thought: Women believe they are paid less than men for doing the same work. But men who do that same work die at an earlier age than women. Find the "fairness" in that.

R. Chatt said...

Nobody wants to hear excuses at work for why you get to leave while others have to stay. Also I question honestly how many men really do want to take on more responsibility for caregiving of their children? How many really do prefer to be at work making money?

I don't know, any answers?

Slaughter aims to change the culture by assuming that men want or should want more balanced lives. Is this even true?

Robert Cook said...

"It's also no secret, that universities are the most leftist sector, and the least efficent." (sic)

As compared to what, and based on what data?

MadisonMan said...

Imagine what kind of policies people would adopt if this idea that work and family life should balance for everyone, was at the forefront of their minds.

How naive.

Someone -- at least one, but probably many more -- is not going to be thinking that. They'll be thinking, because they are competitive: I can work more than my co-workers, and get ahead faster and do better than they do, and make more money.

And then the people that do think that work and family life should balance will be crying that It isn't faaaiiir!!!

Do what is best for you and your family. Ignore what other people say about it. The alternative is to have govt mandates and there are already enough of those TYVM.

Henry said...
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Matthew Sablan said...

"Do what is best for you and your family. Ignore what other people say about it."

-- Or you can try to carry the donkey.

Henry said...

Imagine a culture in which you could choose your life's direction. You could choose to devote your time and energy to a career and make lots of money and assume some sort of power. You could choose to devote yourself to painting or literature or music and make little money yet create something of artistic worth. You could choose to find a balanced life in which you devote time to family and friends, find work -- or art -- that allows those tradeoffs.

Imagine that culture. It's not hard to do because it is all around us. It's called "Western" culture.

It is especially true for professionals. If you are a professional nothing stops you from making the choice to find and work for a family-friendly organization. No on forces you to move to Manhattan. You trade off some salary and the chance at some power and in return you get more time for yourself. It's your call.

It is true that such options are less available for lower-middle class and working class people, but only in comparison to the better off. In historical context the option to modulate your work and personal life in Western culture is unprecedented.

But Ms. Slaughter isn't really talking about working class people. Look at the names that Ms. Slaughter drops. She's talking about COOs! The poor dears.

What if someone wants to work hard? What if someone loves their work? I purposely mentioned artists and musicians. Yo, Yo Ma, stop practicing so much. You're making the rest of us look bad.

RonF said...

Want a kick-ass career, plus incredibly bright children? You'll need to outsource some of your child-rearing to others (probably low-paid women, by the way. Contemplate the "fairness" of that).

An unemployed woman with few skills might think it's real fair and be glad to have a job.

ricpic said...

Astoundingly, the best and the brightest are continually astounded by limits.

Brian said...
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jimbino said...

It seems to me that a woman who masters computer programming can have it all. I have worked most all my life as a contract programmer, a job that pays from $50 to $100 per hour and that you can often do at home.

Unfortunately, women don't pursue STEM subjects in school and I've known very few women who work as software engineers or programmers. The women who "can't have it all" must be those women who want positions of power, jobs where they can see and be seen--anything but a high-paying job where you spend an entire day conversing with a machine or, in the alternative, four hours at the machine and the rest of the day with your child or children.

Synova said...

"As compared to what, and based on what data?"

No one is left compared to you, Cook. :)

Henry said...

The most inadvertently self-defeating line from that interview is this poisonous blob of corporate newspeak (my emphasis):

We need to have managers who will look at someone who’s still in the office at midnight and say, look, you’re not managing your time as well as the person who can do the same amount of work and be out of here by 6:30.

In other words: please get the same amount of work done as everyone else; just don't do it where I can see you.

Thus the false premise (one of many) that worms through Ms. Slaughter's consciousness: the idea that time-management is a substitute for time.

Imagine Pope Julius II gazing up a Michelangelo on the scaffold. "Mike, it's 1512 already. You’re not managing your time well."

The Drill SGT said...

Robert Cook said...
"It's also no secret, that universities are the most leftist sector, and the least efficent." (sic)

As compared to what, and based on what data?


as for the data, let's use political contributions as a surrogate for beliefs, and the 2 parties as markers for left and right. then consider the spread of donations in 2008 at open secrets. Say the Harvard Obama /McCain split at 14/1 or the overall Education total of Obama at just under 25 million while McCain was a 1.8 million.

as for sectors farther to left than universities? I stated the hypothesis, you need to disprove it, not me. Name a sector more Leftist.

Scott M said...

Name a sector more Leftist.

The Northeast.

The Drill SGT said...

Cookie,

If you were talking about my least efficient claim, I'll just point out that the cost of an education product is increasing at perhaps twice the inflation rate for the last 30 years or so and most folks think the quality of the grads is far lower.

compare that to the price of corn, or computer chips, or cars, or TV's and The quality of most products has increased and the cost (inflation adjusted) of most is lower

Chip S. said...

The quality of most products has increased and the cost (inflation adjusted) of most is lower.

It's not easy to get all prices to rise at less than the average rate of price increase, you know.

Kimberly said...

Dust Bunny Queen said...
Nobody can 'have it all'. There are always trade offs in everything you do in life.

If you want to put family over work, then you will trade one job for another that has more flexibility. Some people have more choices than others but there is still a trade off in every choice.

Choose and stop whining.


Thank you. Too much "feminist" discussion seems to be complaining that women are forced to make the same choices as men, are held to the same standards in making choices as men, and have to live with the same outcomes of their choices as men. A "feminist" who can't distinguish between (a) the parts about being female that might suck (a small percentage of problems) and (b) the parts about being human that might suck (the vast majority of life's problems) is doing no one any good.

I decided early on that I wanted a kick-ass career. Thus, I decided not to have kids, and I married someone with a small family to reduce the amount of outside relationships that we'd have to manage. I work more hours than do my colleagues with more demanding families, and I get more done. I'm not better than they are; I just have more hours to devote to work. It's that simple. I do think I "have it all" in the sense that I have what I chose, and I'm living with and standing by my choices.

Thus, I'm mystified by people who focus their efforts on trying to remove the need for women - or any humans - to make choices in life.

Shanna said...

Nobody can 'have it all'.

I've always heard that you can have everything you want, but not necessarily at the same time.

People who value time off/flexible bosses gravitate towards jobs and bosses that allow them that. It's a choice. If they don't chose it, they value something else more.

Zach said...

You know, one "policy" that people could adopt is not being in the stupid office until midnight. As in, going home and accepting the consequences.

Slaughter wants to go home, she just doesn't want the consequences.

S said...

There are two real issues here, I think: one is just that life has trade-offs. That's life.

The other is that in some industries -- generally ones with high paychecks -- working long hours is a useful signal to employers. An employer is willing to pay more than twice as much for an 80-hour employee than a 40-hour employee because of the demonstration of dedication to the firm (also, sometimes there is inherent value there -- I've been told that a six-person 80-hour-per-week investment banking team is more efficient than a twelve-person 40-hour-per-week team because managing the sort of information they deal with within a group of six is more efficient than in a group of twelve).

Maybe there's a cultural way to make that signal less valuable to the firm, or maybe people just have to accept that you can either work a 40-hour week or you can be an investment banker and you have to choose. But I think this signalling issue is the fundamental issue she should be addressing.

Women, of course, face an extra issue, in that if a couple has kids, she has to produce the baby and do any breastfeeding that the couple does. The father can spend more time raising the kids once they are born, and he has some control over how much of a burden his wife's pregnancy is, but until medical science progresses further, she has to do the actual childbearing.

"I told the last one that I’d talk to the C.E.O. if he’d tell me honestly whether he’s the one trying to figure out what to do with his kids during the gap between school and camp, or if his wife is on that one (we didn’t talk). What do you think is going on?"

In other words, she assumes that male CEO can't "have it all" either - he's a CEO, so his wife is managing the kids. Which is probably usually true.

Nathan Alexander said...

The original article is just another great example of the general math illiteracy of women.

Statistics/probability, in this case.

Blue@9 said...

Imagine what kind of policies people would adopt if this idea that work and family life should balance for everyone, was at the forefront of their minds.

Imagine what they could imagine if they acknowledged that not everyone has the same priorities.

And why is everyone such a fucking victim? Nobody is forcing you to work late and long hours. If you do it because you're terrified of upsetting your boss, it's not your boss who is the problem, it's you. Good grief, it's like listening to whiny 20-year-old women who make bad relationship choices. "Wah, my boyfriend is so inconsiderate and treats me so badly." Wtf.

Freeman Hunt said...

I want to have it all. For example, I want to live in the United States, Hong Kong, and Finland, so I keep apartments in all three places, and spend every other day flying from one place to the other. Today I wanted wontons, pizza, gelato, and to fast, so I ordered three lunches and fasted between bites and bouts of vomiting. I couldn't decide whether to wear a pantsuit or a sweater and slacks today, so I set a repeating ten minute timer on my phone, and I change from one to the other when it goes off.

Never settle for a piecemeal life, that's what I always say.

John M Auston said...

The role of parents is over-rated. See Judith Rich Harris' writings.

It isinfluences from a child's peers and friends that end up mattering most.

Hence, the biggest impact parents can have is in whatever they can do to help ensure their children hang with other good kids.

To the extent this is true, we could say, especially of the Black situation, with so many single-parent instances, that thqt would not be as devastating were it not that the predominate Black youth culture is so sub-optimal (pissed off attitude, quick to sense disrespect, promiscuousness, disdain for school, unwillingness to rat out the bad guys, unwillingness to help the police, etc). A worse 'peer' environment than home environment.

Come to think of it, maybe we should hope Harris is wrong.

kathleen said...

These women see the world strictly as a gigantic opportunity to preen. They resent the fact that it doesn't let them preen to the utmost. Where in the world did they get the idea that they are so impressive? It's downright delusional.

kathleen said...

and people still claim that Hillary Clinton is *impressive*? That is so 1997.

MarkD said...

My phone rings when I'm on-call, and you never answer it, or fix the problem. My work-life balance is OK, and if it's not, I can fix it. I don't have to answer the phone. I don't have to keep getting a paycheck either.

If I wanted a lot of time off, I'd have been a teacher.

John Lynch said...

"No one seems to fuss over men "having it all", especially men. Men just go to work every day, slug their way through long days in hopes of climbing the economic ladder. No entitlement, no whining about "fairness" or "fulfillment" or anything else.

Just work. Then we die earlier than women. Here's a thought: Women believe they are paid less than men for doing the same work. But men who do that same work die at an earlier age than women. Find the "fairness" in that."

This.

What people (women, in this case) are crying about is not getting paid for doing nothing. No one has to have a high powered career that takes a lot of time. It's really not that hard to not work all the time. Many, many people manage to do it. Some don't work at all!

Listening people cry-

***boo hoo my 100k/yr job takes me away from my kids waaaaaa***

is so tedious. I don't like listening to people brag about their problems. Do you?

Go to work and spend the money on your kids. That's what men have been doing for all of recorded history.

People are so full of shit.