Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Women Work

I was trying to figure out why I was so irked by the discussion on whether Palin is right to take on the vice president candidacy given her family responsibilities. At first glance, most of the arguments make sense. Five kids is a lot of work. Down's syndrome is more work. Pregnant teen daughter deserves privacy. Human beings have only so many hours in the day.

But how many times can I say this ... this is no one's business but Palin's. Why am I scared to do my job search pregnant? Because the moment my belly walks in I am no longer CFA charter holder, GSB Class of 2009, recent intern at $14 billion multi-strat. I am working mom and the interviewer is my judge. And if you think I'm being paranoid, there's a classmate of mine who can tell you some good stories from her pregnant internship search.

Women work. Life does not stop for babies. It didn't stop in the hunter gather days. Or the agrarian days. Or the pioneer days. Or the industrialization days. Or the world war days. Women weren't sitting around monitoring junior's language development and scheduling play dates. Women worked. They tilled fields and built fences and cooked stew and scrubbed sheets and sewed shirts and made candles and riveted airplanes ... Women worked. And we all survived. Working mothers today spend more time with their children than stay at home home moms did in the 1970s.

And women need to stop contributing to this inane conversation. If you're a mom and you like staying at home or you like working part-time and you couldn't imagine working a tough full-time job, your point of view is not newsworthy. It is your point of view and you are welcome to live by it. You are not me. I am not you. And if you are a working mom and you hate your job don't blame it on your kids. Women pull the motherhood card too often when the real reason they quit (or want to quit) a job is because of the job, not the kids. Yeah, working for a pigheaded boss in a dead end job sucks. Yeah, inflexible workplace rules and office politics suck. Baby time is always better than bad jobs. But that doesn't mean working motherhood is impossible. It just means sometimes it isn't worth it.

These conversations, these news articles matter. They determine whether my interviewer decides I don't know what I'm getting into or that I'm smart enough to figure out my own life. Far too rarely do we allow for the latter.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

To MBA or Not to MBA:
I am a fellow classmate of yours, however, we have never met and I don't even know your real name. I happened across your blog at some point, and have enjoyed quietly reading along about your trip through this crazy GSB experience.

Having just finished watching Palin tonight, I found your post to be particularly intriguing.

I completely agree that Palin's family has no place in evaluating her candidacy.
I have my own very strong opinions about this woman, which are outside the scope of my comment... however, I do have one question that I would love to know your perspective on:

Do you perceive the attacks on Palin's eligibility, perhaps including commentary about her obligations as a monther, as coming from the Obama campaign?
I guess I am looking for the target of your rebuttal... is it the media? Op-Ed reporting? Talking heads? Or the candidates themselves?

Does this controversy have an effect on how you plan to vote?

Feel free to answer or not on any of these issues.... it would feed my curiosity and give me some perspective.

Either way, I enjoy the blog. Good luck with adapting back to school in a few weeks.

Carla Moquin said...

Excellent analysis. I completely agree with you that women have always worked with their babies and life didn't just stop. My work is strongly based on this concept--giving parents more options to work while still being with their children. Given your perspective, I thought you might be interested in it (it involves actually bringing babies with you to work):
http://www.babiesatwork.org
http://www.workingwithkids.org

Carla
Parenting in the Workplace Institute

MaybeMBA said...

Carla - I'm so curious to know how you discovered my blog. I'm actually familiar with the bring your baby to work movement (if that's the right term) and support it wholeheartedly, although I realized I'm a big fan of leaving Baby Y far from my particular workplaces ;) Great to hear from you.