Monday, June 4, 2007

The mother of all battles.

Working mothers versus stay at home mothers.

Men versus women.

Married versus childless.

Imagine how much energy goes into these battles. Wasted energy.

On the other hand, Penelope Trunk touches upon what I perceive as a worthy battle - the battle between the y0unger and older generations. She writes:

For the first time ever, this generation will not be more well-off financially than their parents. What should we make of this new finding? Does this mean the American Dream is no longer attainable?

Probably not. Because this statistic is just a magnified section of a much larger picture – of the great generational shift taking place in America since Generation X became adults.

The shift is in the definition of the American Dream. Our dream is about time, not money. No generation wants to live with financial instability. And we are no exception. But finances alone do not define someone’s American Dream. Especially when our dream is about how we spend our time.

Is it any wonder why we value time over money? Answer: we value time because it's been robbed of us. We're drowning out here in the workforce. We take little, if any, vacation, and when we do we bring our Blackberries. We work 60 hour workweeks. We're stressed out. The shift in values that Trunk accurately perceives represents a backlash.

The problem is the older generation - senior management. They're the ones perpetuating the problem. They worked like a slave to line some one else's pockets, and now they want payback. They paid they're dues, and now they're looking to collect.

Here's a novel idea: each of the other constituencies listed above - men, women, parents, childless individuals, even SAHMs - should band together and revolt against the older generation. Work/life policies that benefit only one constituency are perceived as an entitlement and breed resentment. Childless workers become resentful when their married counterparts skip out early. Men become resentful when women are given a pass on long hours. Instead of fighting against each other, each of these groups should unite to effect a change in work/life balance that benefits all employees. After all, everyone deserves sanity.

1 comment:

Marijean said...

Amen, sister.