Interesting in light of recent conversation about women and career advancement

Landscape Architecture for Landscape Architects Forums GENERAL DISCUSSION Interesting in light of recent conversation about women and career advancement

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 34 total)
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  • #160350
    Heather Smith
    Participant

    This radio show caught my attention this morning, especially in light of a recent conversation on here that has since been deleted about women in the workforce.

     

    http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2011/09/22/lawsuit-work-family

    #160383
    Heather Smith
    Participant

    I reposted…see if that works.

    #160382
    Tanya Olson
    Participant

    …and now for something completely different….http://www.slate.com/id/2304331 “Men are finished” debate. bwahahaha.

    #160381
    Barbara Peterson
    Participant

    This is in interesting question / topic. It is hard when you have a baby & have to get back to work w/in a few weeks of having it. And there is a lot more involved than just working or not working: there is a lot of “how to make it work” considerations.  Perhaps part of the answer is to look at / discuss ‘flexible work schedules’ again. 

    Generally, women in the field want to keep working so that they don’t loose their connection to and contacts in the field and because they love what they do…and of course because they need the income.  Here are some issues that I’ve seen with l.a. & l.scape designer (female) friends that either have kids and are trying to spend more time at home when they are there or are just about to have a baby:

    1.  “Part-time” in many l.a. offices is a min. of 30 hours a week in order to keep company health benefits (okay, 30 hours can be considered part-time  😉  when projects are flowing or under construction but on a regular basis it is hard to drop off &/or pick-up kids or be there after school or when someone is sick esp if you have to drive across town)

    2.  The cost of daycare is crazy high and working part-time barely covers the cost…but not working is not an option. And how do you tell your boss that you’d like to take work files and drawings home? Others in the office may see this as unfair or there may be other concerns.  Plus, if you’re leaving “early”, the reason is to spend time with kids vs working while they sit infront of the tv…so work often needs to be done at night when everyone is in bed.  (After awhile, that can be physically & mentally draining.)

    3.  Flex schedules can create “ill will” in an office if some can flex while others can’t.  And while everyone thinks that they would be understanding, when your work load gets crazy, it is easy to “resent” the person that leaves early…even if they are working at home.

    4. Opening up a small home office / firm is an option.  It sounds really good and can work but then considerations of insurance, etc. need to be factored in.  And also the disconnect from others in the field…and how do you get new clients esp if you were a PM vs someone with good owner & architect connections? Not as easy as it sounds and sometimes difficult to coordinate work vs personal time since you are always ‘right’ there. (I’ve got a couple of friends who are awesome at this but it takes juggling and nannies or older kids who can do things on their own, and really good boundaries and focus.)

    Anyway, just a couple thoughts.

    #160380
    Heather Smith
    Participant

    Exactly.

     

    #160379
    Leslie B Wagle
    Participant

    I’m very conflicted about this whole area. I managed to have a small family (1 child). For about 3 years when I needed them sometimes he was with private sitters followed by a good university preschool setting (I did have to pay for) while I was in LA school, then we hit primary grades using after school centers while I got my required office time to go for the exam. From grades  3-12 came a period of me working from home….then I went back to the 40 hour commuter life when he started college. Along the way, I have seen several younger women have to return to their desks very quickly after pregnancies, leaving tiny infants in day care centers. In retrospect, it was almost better for me that the child came before the education. I may have missed some collaboration with fellow LA students but you can do LA student assignments outside the required lectures and lab in an apartment. My situation wasn’t possible due to “wealth”as my husband struggled in his field also, but we got by.

     

    When I read “poor me” postings by women who chose to stay at home and later find they are hugely compromised when they decide to return to work, I think of the ones who were putting in the office time and wonder why should they (or any men for that matter) have to “move over” to accommodate or accelerate the new returnees? I would especially hate to see the continuous workers taxed even more to furnish any additional no-means testing welfare-style benefits. There is already a trend of subsidized lunches, Medicaid, Section 8, food subsidies, etc. making some welfare recipients tally not far below other working people. We don’t need even less incentive to work in this country, even if at the moment jobs are hard to get.

     

    However, I also felt badly for the small children in the cases of the young professionals who wouldn’t shift focus after having children. I can see why they felt they had little choice (and their careers did keep moving forward as a result of their choice) but I noticed some of the kids ended up with a few problems that more maternal attention might have addressed. No point to make here I guess except that there is no single perfect solution.

    #160378
    Heather Smith
    Participant

    I agree Leslie it is a complicated issue.

    #160377
    Heather Smith
    Participant

    I want to watch this!

    #160376
    Craig Anthony
    Participant

    In this day and age, why is so much of the burden of child care still placed on women? Is it territory that women still don’t want us in? Or do we men just expect it of women? Women have been working for a long time now. You’d think that we would be a lot closer to figuring out how to make this thing work. I think employers allowing men to have more schedule flexibility to pick-up the slack is the answer, because what we’re currently doing isn’t working. I don’t see the harm in encouraging men to spend more time with their children.

    #160375
    Andrew Garulay, RLA
    Participant

    Honest inquery to you, Heather. Please don’t take this the wrong way.

     

    There is no one more qualified to address this issue than you, Heather. You and Jon both have the same degree. You are presumably partners in both the business and raising the family. You appear to be at home and he appears to be in the field. You don’t seem like an oppressed housewife from a 1950’s sitcom and Jon does not seem like a redneck or chauvanist. Yet you are in the very situation that is being discussed.

     

    How is your (both yours and Jon’s) situation different or the same as any other mother in this field and any other employer? Presumably, you know why your specific situation is this way and you accept it both as the employer and as the mother. Does this differ from a different LA not hiring or keeping an unrelated woman with children working? Who is a better employer to understand your professional needs than you or Jon? Who is in a better potential employee to understand the employers reasoning for not having you involved full time than you?

     

    I hope this does not freak you out or if I misunderstand your situation, I apologize. If I have not, I think you would be able to help a lot of people on both sides of the issue (as in would be employer and working mother), as well as yourself, understand it a lot more by analyzing and explaining how your own situation has evolved.

     

    You have a master’s thesis, if not a best selling book, waiting to happen here.

     

    I’m guessing that you do not believe that you are left out because of an evil employer who wants to oppress women. I’d also guess that it is not because you are professionally incompetent. That has to leave a different reason that the two of you apparently understand within the context of your own situation which makes it the way it is. Do you have a clear understanding of what that is? Can it be explained and shared? Does it apply to other women and other employers? If not, why not?

     

    Again, this is not an indictment on your situation, but what I think is an opportunity to hear from someone, you, who has a first hand perspective of both sides of the issue.

    #160374
    Zach Watson
    Participant

    I don’t know if this answers your question but from my personal experience, from the child’s stand point, there are many times that my daughter wants my wife to be there for her instead of myself.  Why don’t we look at this topic from a child’s point of view rather then always approach this conversation as, ‘why don’t women get this or that?’.  As a general question, would children rather have a mother or a father with them when they are in need of something(I’m referring to when kids are like 0-8 in particular), from my personal experience there are many times that a child would rather have a mother over a father.  

     

    Also why is it that children are always referred to as a burden?  Yes they are work, but it is also a lot of work to have a job and make a living, and even more so when only one parent is working, so is work a burden?  If they are both a burden then why do we do either?  Or are they both a blessing but in different ways?  

    #160373
    Cara McConnell
    Participant

    I think, women need to stay at home! Leave the ‘bringing home the bread’ to the men. Women should go back to cleaning, raising the kids, cooking and taking care of the home. Women’s lib ruined everything! Women want this or that. There’s no place for ladies in the workplace. This is a man’s world.

    #160372
    Craig Anthony
    Participant

    Ah, speaking of buzz saws.

    #160371
    Leslie B Wagle
    Participant

    I think I should have added to my bio post, that I did manage to get the lone consultant business solid enough to move into a low-overhead business “incubator” (suite in an old school building) during my son’s high school years, even employing some contract part-time drafting assistants on occasion. I would just pass on to younger women who may lack the way-out sense of time that after age 45, they still have a good 15 or so years of a window for employment elsewhere if they find a good opening. Most of us aren’t going to have small children to tend to at 45…however, the variables can make a big difference. Obviously having several children with waves of needs following the early professional years might protract arrival of the ‘greater freedom’ years. And another chunk of advice is to keep an eye on avoiding an ‘amateur’ looking resume at the mid life point. You need to have hefty enough work (ie. multifamily site planning) and community service (ie. things like historic preservation commissions or other such functions) to present at that point. I look back and still see a pattern of having to pass through an eye of a needle in terms of several transition points at along the way.

     

    I’m sure many gentlemen have the same retrospective but it seems especially relevant to the female experience.

    #160370
    Andrew Garulay, RLA
    Participant

    There is no opinion offered or position taken by me on this very real situation where being a mother impacts employment and advancement. It is merely the observation that Heather is the most uniquely qualified by virtue of being both the potential employer and the potential employee.

    There is no reason for any negative reaction for simply asking the questions “why have you not been hired full time by the family business or why do you choose not to work full time for it?”. I think it will shed some light on the cause of the phenomena rather than just symptoms and without that we are all left to speculation.

    She knows the answer. I do not.

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