Thursday, March 05, 2009

Anonymous Mama - WWYD?

When I do all my "mom stuff" on campus, I use a pseudonym. The reason being I don't want employers to Google my (one of a kind, literally) last name and find out my family status. This makes me a little bit sad since I wish it didn't matter. On the other hand, it doesn't make me in the least bit sad because I prefer to keep my personal business (such as fertility decisions) out of the public realm. On the other other hand, maybe it would actually open up interesting opportunities (and I'm proud of the work I'm doing for moms and moms-to-be). On the other hand, I don't want parenthood to be my defining characteristic.

The trouble is sometimes stuff gets posted online under my real name, not the pseudonym, and it gets tiring trying to clean up my Google history and worrying about it. And having two last names for different realms of my life is confusing. And I'm not looking for a job anyway. And if someone were to not hire me because I had kids - well so be it. And I can't help but feel this is sort of cowardly and deceptive. But it is a tough economy. I might need to find a job and I don't need any extra hurdles. And, as I said, mostly I'm just trying to cling to some privacy in this GoogleWorld I live in.

Am I being silly? Should I bother with this name charade? I'm especially interested if any men try to keep their family status secret. And what about you moms out there?

What would you do???


Lady D said...

Maybe I'm just being naive but as an MBA mom I use my real name and I'm completely exposed out there with pics of me and my baby on Facebook. It's not that the thought didn't cross my mind,I just figured that companies that won't hire me because of my "status" are not the kind of companies I'd like to work for long term anyway.
Basically I think people should do whatever they feel most comfortable with from an "inner" perspective of what's right for them. And it's a very personal choice!

Anonymous said...

Male MBA here who's just gone through internship recruiting. I look young but Resume says 'experienced' so I take off my ring in interviews and don't mention the kids - particularly if I'm being interviewed by other men or childless "never want kids ever because my career is so important" women. And I've even lied a couple of times when asked the direct (and illegal) questions.

Sad but true - even for men - they question commitment and 'can he manage it?' and 'will work be a priority for him?' just because of kids.

It depends on the employer of course. Some have a culture of merit (rather than some of the alpha male organizations that have a culture of ego and hours) and these are the place's I have decided to keep interviewing with. After all - why do you want a job in an organization if the people have such different values to you? And you can't keep marital status/kids much a secret once you are hired.

Anonymous said...

This is indeed a big issue that has an interesting cultural spin to it. As a female MBA, I was pursuing employment in Russia and Eastern Europe. Interestingly enough, I found that the fact that I have no kids to be a very significant challenge. Family status and number of kids are valid employment criteria in the countries I was look at and I got more than one set of raised eye-browns when I disclosed my situation. The reasoning is that women in their late 20ies/early 30ies only have a few years to start having kids before its too late. If a woman has a husband but no children, it's just a matter of time before she gets pregnant and go on extended maternity leave. No employer in that region want to deal with that.

Despite my qualifications, my childlessness turned out to be such a barrier that I came back to the US.

The Ruminator said...

Hello and thank you for your comment. I'm so pleased to see I'm not the only one disillusioned with the system and the people who run/ruin it. I thought I'd be the last person to get cynical about finance!

So our idea: Getting on and off the 'tubes' here for disabled folk and pregnant women is enormously difficult - typically the tubes are really busy most of the day and noone can even see that you need a seat when you board - even assuming someone would offer you their seat in a packed tube. So, we designed the inside of a tube carriage with a small section entirely devoted to people with special needs - you can get on and off easily, always have a seat available (so no embarrassing moments when you have to beg for a seat from a 20year old perfectly healthy man/woman who can stand more easily). Plus, less delays for the authorities as they can get on and off quicker.

this special carriage is always in the same place, so you know where to stand to get it, and able-bodied people are not allowed to use it, except during quiet times and weekends. Typically we counted about a dozen people on average per tube who fall into a 'special needs' category - mainly very old people but also about 2 expectant ladies per train.

We haven't worked out the economics of it, but essentially, we would be targeting the guys who run the underground lines and wanting to have a 'suite' installed every time a train goes in for refit. The suite is practical, easy to clean (unlike the rest of the tube), and modern - bigger seats, higher seats, lower seats, wheelchair areas and lots of handles - you get the idea.

all preliminary just now - we thought of it with the course in mind, so it will be interesting what the angel network think about it. based on that we may do some more interviews and try to get in touch with a transport official to validate some of the findings.

Keep up the blogging by the way. Your lack of misty-eyed romanticism about the whole MBA experience is really a pleasure to read.

Matt said...

[unrelated, but you mentioned once that you aren't likely to see comments tied to older posts...]

First, thanks for the fantastic and helpful blog.

Second, if you get some time, could you share a little more about the academic overlap with the CFA curriculum? Are there ways to focus on more advanced material to limit duplication? Or do you find yourself stuck b/c, for one example, any given Chicago course might have 80% overlap w/ CFA material, and the only way to get that last 20% is to take the whole course?

I'm preparing for CFA Level 2 while I wait for admissions decisions, and I can't help but wonder if I'd be better off just waiting to cover the material in an MBA program. It seems the material would sink in better if I were incorporating it into group projects/case studies (my work experience is in flow trading, so a lot of the FSA and other material is too-easily forgettable post-exam), and maybe I could use my pre-MBA time on something that I won't be duplicating over the next 2 years. Thanks for any help!

Samantha said...

I don't think you should, since it's going to take people like you being open with who you are to make it easier for people like me in the next generation who will have kids in 5-10 years.

That said, maybe I'm a bit naive about how the hiring process works. But I can't imagine ever having a pseudonym (not that the idea ever occurred to me before now).

MaybeMBA said...

Very interesting comments. Thank you! (and feel free to keep them coming)

Good memory, Matt. Per Samantha's helpful suggestion I actually fixed it so now I receive all comments by email - so I miss no comments now.

Per your question. I'm going to do a big recap at the end of spring quarter about which courses I think are repetitive for those with CFA experience. So more specifics then, but here are some general thoughts. Your questions are very apt and I'm struggling a bit with a good answer. Part of me says if you have the time and energy I would do the Level 2 now. Even if there is MBA course overlap, I think students find themselves so stretched timewise during school that preparing and sitting for the exam just doesn't happen. I've known more than a few folks who sign up and then never take the exam bc it's just too much to squeeze in. But, as you point out, if you're going to be learning all of this stuff in school, maybe there's a better way to spend your pre-MBA time. I think you should think about the time cost to you now relative to the real possibility that you might end up taking the exams postMBA, depending on your personality and career goals. Another consideration is that having Level III candidate on your resume in the first year could make a difference for internship recruiting, especially in a rough job environment. Certainly not a dealbreaker but it's easier to be Level I or II candidate, and is less meaningful than Level III or CFA.

As for the 80/20 overlap question, that's a tough one that I've yet to figure out personally. I've taken a lot of classes here which were awfully repititious per my CFA studies but in the big picture were also of value. One consideration is what else you want to do with your time here. If you have a huge list of non-accounting/finance classes you want to get through, I'd skip most of the overlap classes even if there is a 20% chunk that might be valuable. However, if you find yourself tiring quickly of the other subjects, you might find yourself seeking refuge in courses which have a lot of overlap :)

Let me know if more Qs.

Matt said...

Thanks Maybe--I'll probably have another question or three before you graduate :-)