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August 04, 2006
The Young and the Clueless
Anne Tergesen's July 26th blog entry, Work and Family: How Gen Y Plans to Do It, resonated with one of our Gen Y summer interns, Romy Drucker. Romy (pictured below) will be entering her senior year at Yale this fall. She gives us her perspective in the following guest post:
I bet there are not many 21 year-olds who read this blog. I think that should change!
Nearly a year has passed since I first joined the vibrant, though sometimes abrasive, discourse stirred by Louise Story’s New York Times article “Many Women at Elite Colleges Set Career Path to Motherhood.” I am a senior at Yale, the school at which Story’s survey was conducted, and I became obsessed with the attention the article and the issues it raised were being paid.
It was not long before I grew frustrated with the theoretical tenor the conversation had taken. In response, I published an essay which in part affirmed the need for practical discussion and accessible role models. I found both in this blog.
This was only after my Yale girlfriends and I spent the rest of the school year debating the meaning of certain stereotypes that the article suggested. Some women on the Yale campus were utterly outraged by the mere suggestion that any Yalie would choose to be a stay-at-home mom. Others, like myself, felt confused about how anyone our age could even state a preference. That proclamation hinged on the shaky assumption that you'll have a partner with the financial means to support the family.
During my BusinessWeek internship this summer, I met many working parents who were eager to talk about the choices they had made. Gen Y and I depend on this kind of experience-sharing to answer our questions and ease our anxieties about what our futures in the workforce hold in store.
In Anne’s 7.26 post “WORK AND FAMILY: HOW GEN Y PLANS TO DO IT” she asks if corporate America will provide quality part-time opportunities for the next generation of working parents. She voices one question among many that my friends and I have posed. Some others: Will corporate America provide affordable, high-quality childcare? Will I be hired back if I choose to spend a few years as a full-time mom?
Blogs like this one can help my generation think out loud about our concerns. They can bring us closer to the answers we’re all searching for.
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As a member of Gen Y and a new mom, I can honestly say that I think corporations would be wise to extend telework or part-time opportunities to their employees. The choice to be a working mother is a difficult one, but the decision to be a stay at home mother also brings its own burdens. To be able to work part time and help support a family financially, have career ambitions realized, and be able to spend more time with your children than mothers who work full time away from the home would be an excellent compromise between working full time and staying at home full time. Employee retention would go way up, as well as employee morale. Providing on site childcare would also be a huge benefit to both parents and corporation, allowing a parent to work while being able to visit their child during a lunch hour or have quick access in the case of a sick child or an injury.
Posted by: Camille at August 7, 2006 04:26 PM
I totally agree. The problem is though that a lot of companies that are moving toward work at home programs for employees are also taking away the benefits granted to their on site employees. I think this is a shame and a slap in the face to the work at home employee who does the exact same job at home as his/her fellow employee does on site. It can also cost more to be a work at home employee versus an on site employee when you figure in cost of computers, internet, phone lines, etc. Companies are not wanting to pay employees for these items or help defray the costs in any way. Yet, they want to cut the benefits and begin to look upon the work at home employee in an entirely different light than what they view their onsite employee: and that light is not for the better. Work at home is nice, but be sure of what you are getting into and make sure that you understand how it may affect you by working at home versus working on site.
Posted by: Reid Walker at August 11, 2006 01:01 PM