New Workplace Battle: Parents vs. Non-Parents
I didn't realize that the parents were forming a tyranny in the workplace -- all the demands for extra time off for soccer practice and sick children are creating an unfair working environment for those who are childless by choice -- or even single, says an article in the Globe and Mail.
As someone who has been working at home since parenthood, I'm not really sure whether the article is trying to create a division where none exists, or is highlighting an existing problem. But I can see how a problem can arise; shifting work responsibilities because you must see your daughter as the purple fairy in her dance recital would be really annoying to co-workers.
If it happened. My guess is that a person who transfers their work on to other people would do so whether it was a dance recital, or just a bad hangover. Slackers are slackers and people who take responsibility and do their job despite outside pressure are the ones you want to employ, whether or not they are parents (And, let me be honest I am a slacker which is why I am sitting in my kitchen right now.)
Childless workers are becoming increasingly vocal over their displeasure about the perceived advantage parents have when it comes to taking time off for parenting duties. In an article in the Fiscal Times, Laura S. Scott, Roanoke, Va.-based author of "Two Is Enough" and founder of The Childless by Choice Project said, "There's an assumption that the childfree don't have lives outside of work. There needs to be an acknowledgement that all employees, whether they have children or not, need work-life balance."
There is no question that the workplace needs more flexible arrangements so that parents and non-parents can care for sick relatives, sick kids and have the flexibility to live a life outside of their cubicles.
But there also has to be recognition that working moms take pay cuts, and that often there is a bias against working mothers in the workplace which makes them not mention their kids, or work even harder to counter the stigma.
I can see how a one-year maternity leave can seem unfair to those who haven't been through it. But as Lea Zeltersman writes, maternity leave isn't a sabbatical -- it's keeping a future citizen alive. Parenting isn't a choice in the same way that training for a triathlon is.
I wonder if those people who are griping about parents taking time off to care for their kids are also the first ones to judge a parent when a child falls off the rails? Because it is a lot easier to comment from the outside.
So, does this division in the workplace exist? Or is it the media just trying to create divisions? Do you think parents and non-parents are at war in the workplace?
Want more chaos? Last year, I answered the question: What is it like to have three kids?