Picture courtesy of www.acep.org
Click here to read the article: Author suggests childless women deserve ‘meternity’ leave
When I first saw the headline for the article above where Meghann Foye discussed her new novel “Meternity”, I immediately became irritated. My first thought was why does everything have to be tit for tat? Do we always have to strive for equality in every situation? However, after reading the article thoroughly, I began to see the validity in the claim. The author makes a good point about burnout at work and the lack of flexibility that companies offer to their employees.
I can recall being in the work place before I became a mother and having to cover for my co-workers who had to take time off for various reasons concerning their children. Although, I never felt slighted or that my own work life balance was not equal to those with children, I remember hearing grumblings from other coworkers about individuals who needed time off to care for their children.
Now, do I feel that a so called “Meternity” should be implemented into the office work place for single individuals? Absolutely not; that is the purpose of vacation time. However, I will address the burnout epidemic that is a truly a problem in the work place.
It is my opinion that the author’s frustration is misunderstood. Her misguided anger appears to be directed towards her peers but in reality, she is angry at the lack of flexibility her company offers. I think the maternity leave issue actually has absolutely nothing to do with the core problem. Companies are consistently laying off talented individuals, focusing only on the bottom line, offering less benefits and expecting their employees to be available around the clock.
Herein lies the problem. Work should not be your life, nor should that be the expectation. We spend the majority of our day in the office and yet, that still seems not enough at times. We all have experienced those managers who have no qualms about overloading you, establishing unrealistic deadlines and instilling fear in those who try to push back with the potential loss of their livelihood.
America has the worst reputation for work life balance, it practically does not exist. One hour lunches are not enough time to do much of anything and oftentimes, employees work straight through their lunch hour. It has been proven how detrimental it is to spend long hours in front of a computer screen, sedentary and with few breaks. Yet, we continue to operate like this throughout each work day. There is a staggering amount of people who suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome, endure back pain and few people can function without the aid of glasses. All of these issues can be a direct correlation to the 8+ hours we spend at the office.
I can truly attest to experiencing the pains of burnout. After almost two decades in the oil and gas industry, I welcome a change. The instability in the current market and the constant fluctuations of the industry are not only stressful but exhausting. I have always wondered why companies invest in so many tools that offer the luxury of telecommuting and then not open up these avenues for their employees to utilize them.
I recently read another article about Ricardo Semler, (click to read article:) What happens when you run a company with little to no rules?, where he chose to reorganize his father’s company to offer less management and more flexibility. He has successfully increased the company’s profits due to his unorthodox approach to business. America should definitely pull a page from Ricardo’s book and work to prevent these type of frustrations in the work place.
Foye’s article received so much backlash, she canceled her Good Morning America appearance. I take issue with that fact because she should be able to freely discuss her book without being shamed into silence, but we will save that for another blog.
What say you? I would love to hear more opinions about this topic. Join me tonight at 7PM CST via Twitter @maraprose using #LetsTalkProse and sound off about this topic.
Until next time, “Work is just a part of our Life, not vice versa. So Live life full time, work work, part time.” ― Vikrmn,
~ Mara Prose