I choose the word anger because making inflexible working conditions seems like a giant step back and contrary to the evolving technologies we have available to make telecommuting successful.
I am angry because during World War II (when there was no such thing as telecommuting), it benefited men in power to have women work out of the home, therefore on-site nurseries were available to working moms. But once the war was over, there was no more support for women in the workforce because they were not needed anymore and expected to head back to the kitchen.
Inflexible work hours was one of the (many) reasons I left my job as a junior high teacher. There are no telecommuting options for that career, and if I wanted to be there for my kids the way that I wanted to be there for them, I had to make a choice.
From that point on, I began plotting and scheming for a career that allowed me the maximum flexibility so that I could be there for my family.
The first time that I went to BlogHer, I was amazed to see so many women wearing their babies while wrangling microphones for the crowds and attending sessions. There were rooms where they could nurse. There was on-site daycare. I reveled in this supportive environment that recognized that women can be mothers and participate in business at the same time.
When I saw this microcosm of a matriarchal community, I thought to myself, “This is what it would look like if women ruled the world.” I felt inspired and hopeful by these women who were blending their worlds together.
I felt optimistic when I saw a woman, no a woman with a new baby, come into power at a company like Yahoo!. I thought that this was going to be it - all the walls that separated work and family would be torn down and a new era that accepted the complexities of working mothers would be ushered in by this brand new mother/CEO.
I was wrong. And so very disappointed. Perhaps I projected too many of my own hopes and dreams on to someone who clearly doesn’t share my same vision.
Or does she? I mean Marissa Mayer *did* have a nursery built at her office. The hypocrisy of this just blows my mind. How can she ask her employees to leave their families behind while she brings hers to work?
Managing work commitments while juggling family needs is not easy. I was a wreck when I went back to work for one day a week. One day, people! I am continuing to figure out a balance that works for me and my family. How is one expected to care for a child, run a household, and do work? With flexibility, that is how! And flexibility is the reason I am encouraged to make this work.
I remain hopeful that my idyllic vision of women working in a more family-friendly workplace will come to fruition. Just not with Marissa Mayer.
What are your thoughts on Marissa Mayer and her stance on telecommuting? What do you think of working from home with kids?