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Feminism has held back working class men

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  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    jamelia wrote: »
    Of course. I doubt anybody would claim that there is one sole cause for any complex social phenomenon.

    The argument about choices pisses me off though. A lot of the time what people mean by that is that "women choose to have babies rather than advance their careers".
    .
    Why does it pisses you off? Is it really that hard to realize that drawbacks that happen to women also happen to men?
    jamelia wrote: »
    This is a poor argument for two reasons:
    .
    No, it is not a poor argument, because a decision to have babies is the sole responsibility of the couple in question and more importantly it is a choice. Well, at least it should be, because having children is something that changes your life, including work opportunities.
    jamelia wrote: »
    1) Having children and raising the next generation of workers and citizens is reduced to a lifestyle choice, broadly equivalent to taking a year out to go backpacking;
    .
    It is a lifestyle choice that changes your life forever. I'd say it goes a bit deeper than going backpacking for a year or two, tho.
    jamelia wrote: »
    2) Men also make the choice to have children, but luckily for them, it doesn't negatively impact them in the labour market to anything like the same degree it does women.
    Yes, they do, but I don't agree that men aren't impacted. More and more men are eligible for maternity leave as well, putting us in the same position as women in terms of having less work opportunities. Up here in Scandinavia, I've read about plenty of men who have been denied promotions and in some cases even lost their jobs. And the reason? Because they excersiced the right for maternity leave... So I'd say the odds between men and women is more even these days.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Lets say person A and person B are in the same job at the same level. Person A is off for a year (could be maternity, could be something else entirely) and Person B continues to work for the year. The idea that person A will have progressed just as far in that year as person B is ridiculous given that person B has spent that year working and person A hasn't.

    Also if you have a poor attendance record then unfortunately it does affect your ability to do your job. For example when I was at school we had quite a few teachers take long periods off sick. On the one hand you can sympathise with their situation but on the other hand it was very disruptive for everyone.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    You assume, first of all, that you can only learn workplace skills in the workplace. As a personal example, having a baby daughter has taught me far more about time management, crisis management and people management than I anything I've done at work. Being a father has taught me more about management than my job role has.

    There are very few jobs that require specialist skills and, by and large, if you're in a job requiring those skills you don't lose them by taking time off to be a parent. And the higher up the food chain you get, the more interchangable inter-personal skills become important, and you don't just learn how to manage and interact with people in your workplace.

    Having long periods of sickness is more disruptive than having maternity leave (which has fixed start and end dates), but if long-term absence is disrupting the workplace then that is a management failure. If someone's on the long-term sick you generally have a good idea how long they will be off for- if you fail to manage that absence then that's your problem, not the person who's sick's problem. Short-term sickness is far more disruptive as there's no certainty and no way of planning around the absence- hands up who's never had a few days off sick?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    You assume, first of all, that you can only learn workplace skills in the workplace. As a personal example, having a baby daughter has taught me far more about time management, crisis management and people management than I anything I've done at work. Being a father has taught me more about management than my job role has.
    I can agree that having your own family forces you to improve time managment skills and other aspects, but not everything that can be applied to family life can be applied to a work setting. People management in a private setting is also different from people management in a business setting because professional relations are different than private relations.
    There are very few jobs that require specialist skills and, by and large, if you're in a job requiring those skills you don't lose them by taking time off to be a parent. And the higher up the food chain you get, the more interchangable inter-personal skills become important, and you don't just learn how to manage and interact with people in your workplace.
    Very few jobs require specialist skills? Work life is actually becoming increasingly specialised, which is escpecially true for many technological workplaces. Substituting your workforce is a problem for many companies and will most definitely require interruptions. While it doesn't mean you loose your skills it still means your skills will fade and that it may take some time to get well back into it after leave. In the meantime, your company will also have to train someone else to do your job, which means they won't be as effecive as yourself during the training period.
    Having long periods of sickness is more disruptive than having maternity leave (which has fixed start and end dates), but if long-term absence is disrupting the workplace then that is a management failure. If someone's on the long-term sick you generally have a good idea how long they will be off for- if you fail to manage that absence then that's your problem, not the person who's sick's problem. Short-term sickness is far more disruptive as there's no certainty and no way of planning around the absence- hands up who's never had a few days off sick?

    I can agree with the fact that unscheduled short-term leave for whatever reason is a bigger problem, but leave - no matter whether long-term or short-term represents a challenge for the company, and you'll never be able to avoid disruptions completely no matter if your management is well oiled or not, because training substitutions will always require time and resources.

    And frankly, I just don't agree that people on a long-term leave should have the same opportunities as people who work and contribute to the success of a company during the same time. I'm not saying that people on leave shouldn't be regarded an asset and be allowed to continue after the end of their leave, but you can't expect people who've been away for a year - possibly much more - to be considered for a promotion when they get back. Promotions have to be earned, to earn them you have to contribute which means you have to actually be there.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    JanePerson wrote: »
    Lets say person A and person B are in the same job at the same level. Person A is off for a year (could be maternity, could be something else entirely) and Person B continues to work for the year. The idea that person A will have progressed just as far in that year as person B is ridiculous given that person B has spent that year working and person A hasn't.

    Also if you have a poor attendance record then unfortunately it does affect your ability to do your job. For example when I was at school we had quite a few teachers take long periods off sick. On the one hand you can sympathise with their situation but on the other hand it was very disruptive for everyone.

    I agree, of course poor attendance/not working affects your ability to do your job, I regard anything else as wishful thinking. While respecting people on leave, they can't simply expect everyone else to be happy about it, more than often it involves an increased workload on the rest because they have to cover for the absent.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    T-Kay wrote: »
    I can agree that having your own family forces you to improve time managment skills and other aspects, but not everything that can be applied to family life can be applied to a work setting. People management in a private setting is also different from people management in a business setting because professional relations are different than private relations.

    People management is people management, there is no difference between "private" and "professional" relationship management. You have to learn how to interact with people in a mutually-respectable way and you need to learn how to discipline without causing people to hate you.
    Very few jobs require specialist skills? Work life is actually becoming increasingly specialised, which is escpecially true for many technological workplaces. Substituting your workforce is a problem for many companies and will most definitely require interruptions. While it doesn't mean you loose your skills it still means your skills will fade and that it may take some time to get well back into it after leave. In the meantime, your company will also have to train someone else to do your job, which means they won't be as effecive as yourself during the training period.

    Nonsense. Most jobs require generic transferable skills- an ability to manage workload, an ability to manage relationships and an ability to work as a team. The specific technical knowledge can be taught and employees don't lose those skills once they go on leave.
    And frankly, I just don't agree that people on a long-term leave should have the same opportunities as people who work and contribute to the success of a company during the same time. I'm not saying that people on leave shouldn't be regarded an asset and be allowed to continue after the end of their leave, but you can't expect people who've been away for a year - possibly much more - to be considered for a promotion when they get back. Promotions have to be earned, to earn them you have to contribute which means you have to actually be there.

    The point, though, is that absence will affect the rest of your career, not just the few months after you return from absence. And that is completely wrong.

    As for your point about "contributing to the success of the company", the best way of making a company successful is to employ the best person for the job. And that doesn't happen in so many cases, especially for married women of child-bearing age, because employers get too hung up about leave. Basically you're arguing against any form of external recruitment as well because, hey, someone else has been working there longer so they should get the job. Nonsense. The best person should get the job, the most able person should get the job- promotions are "earned" by ability, not by presenteeism.

    Many a successful company has been ruined by promoting someone based on service, not on ability and talent.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    People management is people management, there is no difference between "private" and "professional" relationship management. You have to learn how to interact with people in a mutually-respectable way and you need to learn how to discipline without causing people to hate you.
    Yes, you have to be respectful and be able to discipline in a respectful manner, but as a manager you may experience situations that cannot be solved by just being respectful and find that you'll have to undertake actions that you don't do in your private relations, such as formal reprimandes or even firing people. In a company, you have a formal structure, which means that you as a manger has formal power over your employers which is not the case in private relationship. I'm not saying that managers should be trigger happy and just wait for the opportunity to pin down their employers, but some situastions do require that a manager excersise their right to undertake formal disciplinary actions. You just don't do that to your friends and family.
    Nonsense. Most jobs require generic transferable skills- an ability to manage workload, an ability to manage relationships and an ability to work as a team. The specific technical knowledge can be taught and employees don't lose those skills once they go on leave.
    Well, it's always easiest to denote others people's arguments as "Nonsense" isn't it, so you don't have to pass on your own arguments?

    While worklife requires general transferable workskills as well, specific skills is incresingly more important, and those are often skills that may fade depending on the nature of work and the technology in question, moreover teaching those aspects can take a substantial amount of time, creating disruptions. Underestimating the time needed to learn new skills is often the predominant factor of project delays and I'd say that it is a huge managerial problem.
    The point, though, is that absence will affect the rest of your career, not just the few months after you return from absence. And that is completely wrong.
    Well, whether you'll like it or not, being absent at the wrong period in your career will affect your workf life. I'm not saying it's neither right or wrong, because frankly, I don't think it matters whether either of us thinks it's morally wrong. Managers are choosing the hard workers, which is often the workers who are -present- and arguing over the morality of that is hardly going to change anything.
    As for your point about "contributing to the success of the company", the best way of making a company successful is to employ the best person for the job. And that doesn't happen in so many cases, especially for married women of child-bearing age, because employers get too hung up about leave. Basically you're arguing against any form of external recruitment as well because, hey, someone else has been working there longer so they should get the job. Nonsense. The best person should get the job, the most able person should get the job- promotions are "earned" by ability, not by presenteeism.

    Many a successful company has been ruined by promoting someone based on service, not on ability and talent.

    Yes, and sometimes the best person for the job involves hiring a person that's actually at work as well. It doesn't help the company if you're a five star performer but absent most of the time. You can be as good as you want, but if you're never there, who can you show your abilities, and how can you prove yourself for the company?

    Being able but never present is hardly something that generates revenue for a company.

    Also, what's considered as "the best" may also be subjective. What one manager regards as being able enough will be completely different from other managers. But in the end of the day, I've learned that the decision lies in the hand of managers and being absent will never put you ahead in the competition because you won't be able to show how just able you are.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    If friends or family behave very badly then you "fire them" just as you do any employee. Why else do we have divorce courts, for example?

    I work in a field where knowledge is important, but I can honestly say that transferable people skills are far more important than any knowledge. I can teach people what a charging order is, or what the University's appeals regulations are, fairly easily but teaching them soft skills is much much harder. Teaching someone how to be a manager is very very difficult, so why throw that experience and ability away just because they might want to spend some time having children?

    As for "arguing about the morality" being "pointless", er, no, it really isn't. Considering the ethical and moral implications of things is important, saying that something is acceptable just because lots of people do it is an appalling and lazy argument. Lots of managers employ people because they're friends or they're married to their children- do you think that nepotism is acceptable too? It's the same argument: "managers do it therefore it is right and acceptable". Or how about racist managers refusing to employ black people? Surely if they do it then the moral aspect is irrelevant and it should be accepted as "the way things are"?

    You're going to have to come up with a better argument than "hard workers deserve rewards" and "you have to be present to be able". Industry does not equate to ability. Being at work does not mean you're working efficiently and to the best of your ability.

    There's no reason why taking time off to have children interferes with your ability or your knowledge- things don't change that quickly, and there are "keeping in touch" days to keep up-to-date with changing knowledge. The basics remain the same. They always have.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    If friends or family behave very badly then you "fire them" just as you do any employee. Why else do we have divorce courts, for example?
    So you don't see the difference at all?

    Let me ask you a question. A manager has a formalized position in the hierarchy and has the formal right to distribute your time as he or she sees fit in the benefit of the company. Do you have the formal power over your wife?

    Also, divorcing is a completely different story than firing an employer. You're comparing apples and bananas, divorcing is an action you or your wife undertakes if your relationship doesn't go well and isn't something carried out as a disciplinary action, while firing someone is (one of) the most serious disciplinary actions in business life.

    Moverover, your manager can't fire you because you're incompatible on a personal level but still are compatible on a professional level. As long as you do your job well (which includes actually being at work) you should be judicially safe in terms of preserving your right to keep you job while a relationship also requires deep compatibility on a personal level.
    I work in a field where knowledge is important, but I can honestly say that transferable people skills are far more important than any knowledge. I can teach people what a charging order is, or what the University's appeals regulations are, fairly easily but teaching them soft skills is much much harder. Teaching someone how to be a manager is very very difficult, so why throw that experience and ability away just because they might want to spend some time having children?
    Well, there are some jobs that goes beyond teaching people regulations and rules. Engineers for example, have to learn and preserve technological knowledge pretty efficiently in order to stay in business. I'm not saying interpersonal skills or transferable skills are not important, cause they are, but you are continuing to undermine the efforts needed to preserve specialised skills in many areas. Just because the efforts to preserve specialised knowledge is more or less negligible (according to yourself) in your area of work, that doesn't mean that's true for other companies or other fields.

    Also, I said nothing about not wanting to keep staff if they choose to go on leave. But I said that people can't expect to have opportunities served straight into their hands after a long absence. In our world and our workplace it has to be earned first, and that's pretty much the end of story.
    As for "arguing about the morality" being "pointless", er, no, it really isn't. Considering the ethical and moral implications of things is important, saying that something is acceptable just because lots of people do it is an appalling and lazy argument.
    Well, whether you regard it lazy or not, it's still valid. The focus should be on how to improve worklife opportunites for those absent for a long time, not debating the ethical issues over it.

    As a sidenote, I'm more than happy to discuss morality in a broader context, but I don't view this thread as a morality debate.
    Lots of managers employ people because they're friends or they're married to their children- do you think that nepotism is acceptable too? It's the same argument: "managers do it therefore it is right and acceptable".
    And again, I didn't assess the morality over the managers choice. But I know it happens, and I can tell you why I think it happens. Simply because it's easier, and simply because quite often someone you know will be well enough qualified for the job without starting expensive recruitement processes. It doesn't mean that it shouldn't change, it is simply a statement that it happens.
    Or how about racist managers refusing to employ black people? Surely if they do it then the moral aspect is irrelevant and it should be accepted as "the way things are"?
    Well, it's not that long ago black people didn't have the same rights as white people so this goes a bit beyond theoretical debates.

    And for the record, refusing to employ black people is not ok. But choosing someone you know is miles away from refusing to employ someone on the backround of "anything", so they're pretty much incomparable.
    You're going to have to come up with a better argument than "hard workers deserve rewards" and "you have to be present to be able". Industry does not equate to ability. Being at work does not mean you're working efficiently and to the best of your ability.
    No, YOU should come up with better arguments than the Absent people are just as able type of arguments. And the reason? Showing your ability requires that you can show, that you can communicate your skills and abilities to whoever you have to prove them to. How exactly would you prove your abilities if you took a job, then was there for a couple of days before you decided to go on a long leave? Finding the right person for the right job is the managers responsibility, but you have to let him have the chance to grow confidence in you. If you don't, then why should they consider you for a higher position?

    Aso, I didn't say that people have to be present to be able, but they have to be present to -show- that they're able, i.e. two different things.

    Being able doesn't mean that you're doing your best either. no one "own" the definition of "able" so every manager will put whatever they see important into that.
    There's no reason why taking time off to have children interferes with your ability or your knowledge- things don't change that quickly, and there are "keeping in touch" days to keep up-to-date with changing knowledge. The basics remain the same. They always have.

    Obviously you don't know a lot of working in technological fields. Pace may be high, and yes indeed, things can change "that" quickly. I know a helluva lot of people who were left out of the equation because they were absent for 6 months. In the meantime, the company had changed their type of technology, and they pretty much had to start from scratch when they came back.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    T-Kay wrote: »
    So you don't see the difference at all?

    Let me ask you a question. A manager has a formalized position in the hierarchy and has the formal right to distribute your time as he or she sees fit in the benefit of the company. Do you have the formal power over your wife?

    My contract of employment, and most contracts of employment, gives management no such formal power. My job description, codified in my contract of employment, says where and when I have to work and what that work involves. Not that that is particularly relevant to the argument.

    The basic skills involved in managing people are the same regardless of situation. It's quite scary and quite depressing that you're unable or unwilling to see that. Soft skills- empathy, tact, diplomacy- are as important inside business as outside. And yes, that includes taking disciplinary action against people.
    Well, there are some jobs that goes beyond teaching people regulations and rules. Engineers for example, have to learn and preserve technological knowledge pretty efficiently in order to stay in business. I'm not saying interpersonal skills or transferable skills are not important, cause they are, but you are continuing to undermine the efforts needed to preserve specialised skills in many areas. Just because the efforts to preserve specialised knowledge is more or less negligible (according to yourself) in your area of work, that doesn't mean that's true for other companies or other fields.

    I didn't say it was negligible, I said that knowledge is a lot easier to teach than soft skills and, in many cases, you can teach knowledge but not teach the soft skills.

    Knowledge changes in my area of work (I'm a lawyer) but the basic skills required don't change. You can always look up a new interpretation of a law, or a new web coding style, or a new way of assembling concrete. You can't look up the ability to research, or be empathic, in any book.
    Aso, I didn't say that people have to be present to be able, but they have to be present to -show- that they're able, i.e. two different things.

    I know what you said and what you meant.

    But you're wrong. You couldn't actually be more wrong if you tried.

    If someone has a track record of being talented and industrious, how does taking some time out to have a child change that? Do they suddenly become lazy and stupid because they've got a child? When they return to work they can still rely on their track record of being intelligent, able and industrious, because they still have that track record and they still have the knowledge of their job. They don't suddenly lose all their intellect when they give birth.

    There is no field of employment where knowledge changes so radically in 12 months that an intelligent and able employee cannot catch up very quickly. Especially as intelligent and able employees will still maintain their knowledge whilst on maternity leave, by continuing to subscribe to trade journals and attending seminars for their paid "keeping in touch" days.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    My contract of employment, and most contracts of employment, gives management no such formal power. My job description, codified in my contract of employment, says where and when I have to work and what that work involves. Not that that is particularly relevant to the argument.
    I.e. having control of your time at work. When a contract states where, when an what work should be done, that can be considered a formalisation of how you're going to spend your time for that company for all practical purposes. I'm not saying that most managers will constantly hang over your shoulder, controlling whether you're doing your work, because most managers will pay attention to what you say and your opinions on how to create better revenue. But the point is they -can- pass on formalised
    reactions should an employer not honour the agreement in the contract. Or said in an everyday tone: If you don't do your job.
    The basic skills involved in managing people are the same regardless of situation. It's quite scary and quite depressing that you're unable or unwilling to see that. Soft skills- empathy, tact, diplomacy- are as important inside business as outside. And yes, that includes taking disciplinary action against people.
    Why is it scary that someone disagree with you? And by the way, I didn't say that soft skills weren't important as well, which encompasses empathyu, tact, diplomacy, respect and a whole range of other transferable skills. I do think they're important, but I also do think that worklife is often much more specialised than you seem to realize. -Both- specialised and general skills are important. Is it any clearer now?

    Still, it is hardly possible to undertake disciplinary action to someone in a private relationship, simply because you possess no such formal power over them unless they commit a crime against you (and that actually means that it's the state, not the individual that passes on the judicial response.).
    I didn't say it was negligible, I said that knowledge is a lot easier to teach than soft skills and, in many cases, you can teach knowledge but not teach the soft skills.

    Knowledge changes in my area of work (I'm a lawyer) but the basic skills required don't change. You can always look up a new interpretation of a law, or a new web coding style, or a new way of assembling concrete. You can't look up the ability to research, or be empathic, in any book.
    Well then, your field of expertise differs from mine. I'm currently in a very technical business, and it's certainly not enough to look up things and to read over new knowledge, you have to get some experience with them, which takes time and resources, which brings us back to the initial question, it is possible to subsitute people without disruption?

    Moreover I don't agree that the ability to research can be compared to be emphatic. Being emphatic is an attribute of your personality rather than a trainable skill, while the ability to research can be trained to some extent. That doesn't mean everyone can become Stephen Hawkins, but it means that a lot of us can train our research skills in order to become better "scientists" if we choose to.
    I know what you said and what you meant.

    But you're wrong. You couldn't actually be more wrong if you tried.

    If someone has a track record of being talented and industrious, how does taking some time out to have a child change that? Do they suddenly become lazy and stupid because they've got a child? When they return to work they can still rely on their track record of being intelligent, able and industrious, because they still have that track record and they still have the knowledge of their job. They don't suddenly lose all their intellect when they give birth.
    I never said anything about people loosing their intellect when they go on absence for whatever reason, neither about loosing a good track record. Of course you can stille use a good track record, which gives you a good chance to be promoted, to search for a new job or whatever. But you may compete against people that have that same excellent track record, -and- they've been able and present during your leave, which may give them at least a small advantage should you be competing for the same promotion.

    Moreover, depending on your field, your knowledge may also be a bit "dormant" straight after long abscence, i.e. you need some time to get back into routines. The fact that it takes some time to get back into work is a well documented phenomena, and it suprises me that you're unable to see that.
    There is no field of employment where knowledge changes so radically in 12 months that an intelligent and able employee cannot catch up very quickly.
    What's considered very quickly then? Because I can mention a few associates that have been subjected to radical changes in short time, with difficulties picking up. But I see no purpose in discussing that aspect any more, since you seem unable to see that there are indeed other fields of work outside the law department.
    Especially as intelligent and able employees will still maintain their knowledge whilst on maternity leave, by continuing to subscribe to trade journals and attending seminars for their paid "keeping in touch" days.
    Well, but that's a whole new premise, if it holds I can agree to a greater extent. But still the question remains, can you maintain your specialised skill as well as someone who does it "all day" when on leave? For a maternity leave I'd say that's a bit unrealistic. I thought the purpose of a maternity leave was to spend time with your new-born child, not practising your skills.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I work in a highly specialised and technical field, with the above mentioned engineers. Yes, someone new joining a team will need training up in how things work, but as will the team moving onto a new project.

    It's pretty straight forward to learn to use the latest design code, or technical standard. Theoretical engineering ability gets taught at university and from there on is a basis of deep understanding and academic capability - being away from the work place doesn't change whether or not a person has that. The ability to work with others, which is the deciding factor for most specialist roles, is again and acquired skill that doesn't disappear if someone is away from the work place and that is much harder to teach than technical updates.

    Going back to the original topic, I wouldn't say it's feminism that has held back working class men, but it is fair to say that the rise of women in the work place has reduced the number of professional jobs available to men. That's basic arithmetic that one is.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    T-Kay wrote: »
    Well, but that's a whole new premise, if it holds I can agree to a greater extent. But still the question remains, can you maintain your specialised skill as well as someone who does it "all day" when on leave? For a maternity leave I'd say that's a bit unrealistic. I thought the purpose of a maternity leave was to spend time with your new-born child, not practising your skills.

    I'd say it was fair to state that over a relatively short term (e.g. up to a year) that someone can maintain their specialist skill while on leave to the level it was at when they went on leave. Expecting another years worth of development on the technical side is unrealistic for some, however maintaining the existing skill is realistic. As is building non technical skills during the time.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Goodness me, I think I must be talking to an engineer here.

    The skills involved in managing people are the same as with any other type of social interaction: you have to act with tact, diplomacy, empathy and assertiveness. Learning how to be assertive but not to be a cock with your kids teaches you how to be assetive but not to be a cock with the lazy worker you're managing.

    You can prove ability with past action, not just present action. Yes, all other things being equal there might be a slight advantage for people who are in work, but it is very very rare that all things are equal. Being present should not be the deciding factor on employment. That it is shows a certain laziness in management, something that is morally wrong, just as nepotism is morally wrong.

    You still don't seem to grasp, though, that taking time out for parenting affects your ENTIRE career, not just the 6-12 months after you return from leave. And the simple truth is that, once people are back at work, your entire argument for the status quo goes flying out of the window.

    Yes, it is perfectly possible to stay up to date with developments in a field whilst on maternity leave. I use law as that's my area of specialism, but I have worked in other areas and the same thing applies there. Technology doesn't go to obsolescence in a few months, no matter how much Steve Jobs tries to pretend otherwise.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Parenting definitely affects your entire career. There are many many roles within my industry that would be completely impossible if I were a parent and that isn't specific to my role or my industry.

    It's fair to say it's not just parenting that has that impact, being anything other than completely independant has the affect to a certain extent, and having any kind of dependent puts you in pretty much the same boat as a parent.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Goodness me, I think I must be talking to an engineer here.
    Yes I do have a technological background, but trying to act sarcastic doesn't improve your argument.
    The skills involved in managing people are the same as with any other type of social interaction: you have to act with tact, diplomacy, empathy and assertiveness. Learning how to be assertive but not to be a cock with your kids teaches you how to be assetive but not to be a cock with the lazy worker you're managing.
    So then, please show me where I wrote that you should act as a cock against lazy workers. All I pointed out was that in a professional relationship you have certain formal options that you simply don't have in a personal relationship.
    You can prove ability with past action, not just present action. Yes, all other things being equal there might be a slight advantage for people who are in work, but it is very very rare that all things are equal. Being present should not be the deciding factor on employment. That it is shows a certain laziness in management, something that is morally wrong, just as nepotism is morally wrong.
    Most of us prove our ability with both previous and current experience and skills which forms the basis for our "competitive edge" when applying for new jobs or promotions. For managerial positions for example, you'll have to expect heavy competition, and you should always assume that your competitors have a strong and relevant background for the task in question and that your current positions may influence your chances to get that job.
    You still don't seem to grasp, though, that taking time out for parenting affects your ENTIRE career, not just the 6-12 months after you return from leave. And the simple truth is that, once people are back at work, your entire argument for the status quo goes flying out of the window.
    As I said in an erlier post, yes I realize that taking parental time out during a critical time of your career can have substantial affect. I did not, however said I do agree to the world functioning like that, but it doesn't make it less true! Besides, how affected your career is depends on what type of job you have and on your responsibility, but let's face it, people in "high" positions may have such a strong background that even a year out for maternetiy leave may put them behind in the competition. As people are getting better it takes less to distinguish them.

    And no, my argument does not "go out of the window", again you're trying to make cheap points. Argument still holds, because when you get back at work after leave, you'll need some time to get back into tasks and routines, no matter what you're trying to convince others of.
    Yes, it is perfectly possible to stay up to date with developments in a field whilst on maternity leave. I use law as that's my area of specialism, but I have worked in other areas and the same thing applies there. Technology doesn't go to obsolescence in a few months, no matter how much Steve Jobs tries to pretend otherwise.
    There's really no point in cointinuing, as you seem to prefer ridiculing other peoples argument over presenting your own. So much from a person that sports assertiveness, diplomacy and empathy.

    But to answer; yes, it's possible for you. But can you for once understand that not everyone is a lawyer, and not everyone works in the same company as you. In fact it is allowed to try and see how others work and see some of the work conditions that others have.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I'd say it was fair to state that over a relatively short term (e.g. up to a year) that someone can maintain their specialist skill while on leave to the level it was at when they went on leave. Expecting another years worth of development on the technical side is unrealistic for some, however maintaining the existing skill is realistic. As is building non technical skills during the time.

    I agree, and it's a useful distinction. Building and learning new knowledge is something completely different from preserving what you already know, the latter being an easier task. But it comes down to what we mean about "maintaing specialist skills". I find it hard to believe however, that a person that's just back from leave could just jump into a time critical, complex project and expect to perform as well as the coworkers.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    If you're relying on an extra 9 months experience over your career to get you a manegerial role then your skills are obviously hugely lacking elsewhere.

    Especially if you're in a technical field, the number of technically competent people with really good soft skills and manegerial skill is far lower than the roles available.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    T-Kay wrote: »
    I agree, and it's a useful distinction. Building and learning new knowledge is something completely different from preserving what you already know, the latter being an easier task. But it comes down to what we mean about "maintaing specialist skills". I find it hard to believe however, that a person that's just back from leave could just jump into a time critical, complex project and expect to perform as well as the coworkers.

    Depends how good they are compared to the co workers? I'd expect someone with specialist expertise to jump in and do a better job than the co worker, assuming the co worker was willing to support on the practical details. That's assuming that person has a specific skills that's needed on the project. Otherwise you'd hope that there was a suitable management strategy in place that put someone returning from leave into working on a suitable project. Any well managed project should have capacity for dealing with staff turnover, be that through leave, illness or people changing jobs. One that doesn't is poorly resourced.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    If you're relying on an extra 9 months experience over your career to get you a manegerial role then your skills are obviously hugely lacking elsewhere.
    I'd say if things stand pretty equal, even smaller deviations may put one ahead of the other in a competition for a position.

    But, if this isn't a problem anyway and that 9 months doesn't affect your opportunities at all, why do parents complain about being left out of the equation?
    Especially if you're in a technical field, the number of technically competent people with really good soft skills and manegerial skill is far lower than the roles available.

    I agree in times like this, but the labour market will always vary. There are good times for people with techinical bacground and bad times, as there is for most others.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Fnagh, my point is that you don't just learn professional skills whilst you're at work. Being a parent, or being ill, or being on sabbatical can teach you many professional skills that you can then apply in the workplace. Saying you're not learning whilst you're on parental leave is wrong.

    My point is that the world shouldn't operate like it does. How it operates now is largely irrelevant to that argument. I understand why the world operates like it does, but I think the reasons given by most people for maintaining the status quo are horseshit. There is a culture of presenteeism in this country, as if industry equates to ability, and the people who promote that culture have no interest in discovering that, actually, working fewer hours and working flexible hours gets more done.

    I use the law as my personal experience, but I understand that the world isn't just employing lawyers. Perhaps your particular field has such a fast pace of development that 12 months out leaves your entire knowledge and skill base obsolete, but most fields of employment do not have that. Things change, but an intelligent person paying attention can stay on top of it.

    Scary Monster, I would agree to an extent- if you have family commitments then you cannot move to a new area with short notice. But given the technological rise in telephone and internet conference calls, I think having to physically attend seminars will gradually happen to less and less. Whether that applies in your job I don't know, but in a lot of areas it does.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Depends how good they are compared to the co workers? I'd expect someone with specialist expertise to jump in and do a better job than the co worker, assuming the co worker was willing to support on the practical details. That's assuming that person has a specific skills that's needed on the project. Otherwise you'd hope that there was a suitable management strategy in place that put someone returning from leave into working on a suitable project. Any well managed project should have capacity for dealing with staff turnover, be that through leave, illness or people changing jobs. One that doesn't is poorly resourced.

    True, but even specialists may need some time to "get that knowledge back into their fingertips" if they've been on a long leave. No one is a superhuman, and my point is that some managers put unrealistic expectations on their specialist staff.

    But I do agree that so many projects should have been better managed, I've been in so many projects where there's a complete lack of a strategy pertaining to what to do if people get sick or have to be absent for whatever reason. Strategies of how to transfer knowledge and deal with absence should be a mandatory part of the initial project planning.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Going back to the original topic, I wouldn't say it's feminism that has held back working class men, but it is fair to say that the rise of women in the work place has reduced the number of professional jobs available to men. That's basic arithmetic that one is.

    Definitely, as I said earlier on.

    It isn't just that the number of professional jobs available to men is reduced, it's that the income gap between professional families and non-professional families will inevitably widen as a result.

    People generally end up marrying people of a similar socio-economic status and similar intellectual ability, which means that a professional family will now have two adults earning good money and a non-professional family will have two adults earning less good money. The financial difference between the haves and the have-nots will widen as a result, having inevitable results on the life goals and ambitions of their children.
    T-Kay wrote:
    But, if this isn't a problem anyway and that 9 months doesn't affect your opportunities at all, why do parents complain about being left out of the equation?

    Theory and reality are different.

    Taking time out to be a parent affects your opportunities because you are automatically seen as being less capable if you work part-time or flexible hours, or if you have had the time away from work. This is the perception of many people, that if you're not physically in the workplace then your brains turn to mush and you're useless for anything.

    The perception is not correct. Challenging that perception, as you are proving, is rather problematic though.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I work with some fantastically talented people, all of whom have flexible working arrangements, and several of whom work part time. In many cases, without one or both of those options that talent would have been lost entirely.

    There are some roles that are unsuitable for parents, but on the grand scale those are relatively few and far between. If you have creative enough management, then talent gets identified and suitable roles identified for that talent. There's the on call rapid response team, and then there's the specialist expertise, who work pretty much whichever hours they fancy. Good management will put people in the right one of those.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Definitely, as I said earlier on.
    Theory and reality are different.

    Taking time out to be a parent affects your opportunities because you are automatically seen as being less capable if you work part-time or flexible hours, or if you have had the time away from work. This is the perception of many people, that if you're not physically in the workplace then your brains turn to mush and you're useless for anything.

    The perception is not correct. Challenging that perception, as you are proving, is rather problematic though.

    This comes back to the communication of the abilities bit, and frankly I see no purpose of going down that road again, but let me just say that in addition to show your abilities and recent development there's a whole lot more to work than just being there to prove yourself. In many workplaces you show your coworkers your personality and interpersonal skills and how you deal with situations and people in general. People still like to see you're there and that's probably what makes it safer to choose someone who has been around for some time provided that person has shown enough ability to perform work tasks.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I work with some fantastically talented people, all of whom have flexible working arrangements, and several of whom work part time. In many cases, without one or both of those options that talent would have been lost entirely.

    There are some roles that are unsuitable for parents, but on the grand scale those are relatively few and far between. If you have creative enough management, then talent gets identified and suitable roles identified for that talent. There's the on call rapid response team, and then there's the specialist expertise, who work pretty much whichever hours they fancy. Good management will put people in the right one of those.

    Sounds fantastic, there should definitely be more managers like that. I think the problem is that so many managers doesn't fully understand the domain in which theyr employers work. There is a saying taught to students in many managerial colleges around, namelly the fact that a good manager can manage any company. I'd say that's an overstatement.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Going back to the original topic, I wouldn't say it's feminism that has held back working class men, but it is fair to say that the rise of women in the work place has reduced the number of professional jobs available to men. That's basic arithmetic that one is.

    It may be basic arithmetic, but its probably also wrong as the number of professional jobs has gone up from 1% in 1911 (ie pre-any serious equality) to 5% in 1991 - I would suspect it's increased since.

    http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons/lib/research/rp99/rp99-111.pdf

    Overall employment has also gone up from 68.3% in April 1984 to 73 in Dec 2007 (before the downturn) and even now is 70.6%

    http://www.statistics.gov.uk/statbase/TSDdownload2.asp

    Getting the best person for the job male or female creates extra value and that creates more jobs. Just getting men in, if a woman would provide be better, is what reduces employment.

    Or to use a really simple example - Ms Scary Monster is so good at her job she creates an extra 10% profits, which is either reinvested in the companies new factory creating jobs, is paid out in dividends or in bettering your wages, either the shareholder or you use this money to buy a new car which helps create employment in the manufacturers and the car dealership.

    Mr Flashman's Ghost on the other hand is a bit crap and reduces the profits by 10% or even worse is so bad he leads the company into a loss and people need to be made redundant.

    I'd be very surprised if David Willets believes that their is a fixed number of jobs and that women are taking them from men. If he does he's in the wrong party and would probably find one of the communist parties more fitting...
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I think a more obvious culprit for why men are being held back is that the education system does not seem to work as well for boys. More girls pass their gcses and I remember how when I was at uni and even sixth form college there were slightly more females staying on in education. You get exceptions but generally to get a "professional" job you need to be educated.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    JanePerson wrote: »
    I think a more obvious culprit for why men are being held back is that the education system does not seem to work as well for boys. More girls pass their gcses and I remember how when I was at uni and even sixth form college there were slightly more females staying on in education. You get exceptions but generally to get a "professional" job you need to be educated.

    That's one thing that's definitely been playing on my mind after I found out I was having a boy. I live in Iceland and here's it's the same story, boys feel worse at school from early on and at university girls are more than 50% of the students and the ratio is only increasing.

    While it's great that girls fit so well into this education system, why isn't it working out as well for boys and what can be done to help them?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Jaloux wrote: »
    That's one thing that's definitely been playing on my mind after I found out I was having a boy. I live in Iceland and here's it's the same story, boys feel worse at school from early on and at university girls are more than 50% of the students and the ratio is only increasing.

    While it's great that girls fit so well into this education system, why isn't it working out as well for boys and what can be done to help them?

    Numbers are roughly the same up here. i.e. ratio between female and male students. I don't have the answers for concrete actions to be undertaken to improve male participation in higher education, but there should certainly be more focus on it.

    In my country, there seems to be a general unwillingness to admit that boys do also experience difficulties in life, not only women, and are not always on top in the hierarchy. Participation in higher education clearly shows that. At the same time feminists continue according to their old habits, arguing for the existence of the patriarchy, in which men -always and in any situation - are better of than women. I'm not saying that I oppose what they have achieved for women, because that was indeed important. But many feminists will never admit that times have changed now, that there is no patriarchy and you see severe signs that men also struggle in many aspects of life.

    So again, unfortunately I don't have the answers, but I do know, until politicians and feminists are willing to see that men also strive today, you can't do nothing about it. It's hardly possible to do anything with a problem if you're not willing to admit there's a problem in the first place.
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