Comments on: Just in case you wondered what they really say about you at the office http://www.historiann.com/2008/12/05/just-in-case-you-wondered-what-they-really-say-about-you-at-the-office/ History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present Sat, 30 Aug 2014 03:06:06 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 By: Having a life « The Accidental Mathematician http://www.historiann.com/2008/12/05/just-in-case-you-wondered-what-they-really-say-about-you-at-the-office/comment-page-1/#comment-149598 Mon, 15 Dec 2008 04:41:32 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=2188#comment-149598 [...] Having a life I’ve been traveling for the last two weeks and didn’t check my favourite blogs as often as I usually do. Apparently I’ve missed out on some really good stuff. [...]

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By: Deborah Judge http://www.historiann.com/2008/12/05/just-in-case-you-wondered-what-they-really-say-about-you-at-the-office/comment-page-1/#comment-142920 Sun, 07 Dec 2008 17:07:03 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=2188#comment-142920 Oh yes. We have department meetings 8-10pm, or on Sundays, and yes they are mandatory. We’re also all expected to teach night classes. The college is also pushing students to take study tours now, which means that someone’s got to lead them, with no additonal compensation or course release (and spouses have to pay their own way if they want to come along, and forget bringing children). And, of course, a book for tenure. And salaries that are too low to support a family, so you can’t rely on a stay-at-home partner to pick up the slack.

My department is half male and half female, and the male faculty don’t have children either (and probably won’t, unless they divorce and remarry younger women). So, this may be a problem for men as well.

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2008/12/05/just-in-case-you-wondered-what-they-really-say-about-you-at-the-office/comment-page-1/#comment-142909 Sun, 07 Dec 2008 16:35:46 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=2188#comment-142909 Indyanna, I can’t tell if you’re complaining that child-free people are expected to publish more, or that people with children aren’t expected to publish at all? (Or is this not a complaint but just an observation about your departmental culture?)

Ann, that’s very interesting–I think you’re right that child-free women are probably leaned on more by other women, because women expect that other women won’t judge them as harshly (or because women expect other women to do more work too.) You’re exactly right: it’s the institution that needs to accomodate family issues and needs, not individuals.

And Deborah–I think the trend you observe is highly significant. In the age of increased expectations everywhere, where even places with 3-3 and 4-4 loads and no pre-tenure leave are expecting books for tenure (at least in History departments), I predict that the already low birthrate for women Ph.D.s will sink even lower. (Do you seriously have late night and weekend department meetings?)

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By: Deborah Judge http://www.historiann.com/2008/12/05/just-in-case-you-wondered-what-they-really-say-about-you-at-the-office/comment-page-1/#comment-142895 Sun, 07 Dec 2008 15:50:05 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=2188#comment-142895 Funny, I can’t answer this question for my department, because our junior faculty don’t have children. There are three senior faculty (out of ten of us) who were hired ten to fifteen years ago when ‘standards’ (ie uncompensated workload) were lower and they have teenage children. Anyone hired within the last ten years is childless, and given our ages we’ll probably stay that way. I do wonder what would happen if one of us insisted on childbearing – or got saddled with another kind of dependent care – and suddenly began refusing late-night and weekend department meetings, overload teaching assignments, etc. It would change the department culture, that’s for sure.

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By: Ann Bartow http://www.historiann.com/2008/12/05/just-in-case-you-wondered-what-they-really-say-about-you-at-the-office/comment-page-1/#comment-142877 Sun, 07 Dec 2008 15:18:11 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=2188#comment-142877 This is a great thread. There seems to be a general practice at most law schools to require more service from women than men. That women with children would look to childless women for help or relief with this, rather then addressing the structural problem generally, is understandable if regrettable. I have to admit, I almost always turn to women when I need help, because that’s where I’m most likely to find it. It never occurred to me that childless men get dumped on as well, but it should have.

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By: Indyanna http://www.historiann.com/2008/12/05/just-in-case-you-wondered-what-they-really-say-about-you-at-the-office/comment-page-1/#comment-141324 Sat, 06 Dec 2008 04:50:01 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=2188#comment-141324 At Brezhnev State U., where I toil in the mined-out heart of Transaltoonia, I’d say that no one is differentially asked or expected to take on specific structurally defined activities (such as unpopular teaching schedules or extra service assignments) based on family or dependent duties. And when I wrestled for several years with a gathering eldercare crisis–especially when it spiralled briefly toward meltdown–people of all designations stepped in to pick up the slack and never said a word about it, then or later. That said, kids do seem to be viewed as the equivalent of so many cutting-edge monographs who just happen also to need orthodonture appointments and soccer practices. If you crank out enough of them, it seems to be seen as beyond reason that you should also be expected to at least review some books here and there or even publish a few cookie recipes. (There are considerable exceptions to this generalization, I should say). Collectively, parenthood does seem to keep the life of the mind running a distant second to the life of the mined. There’s no coercive regime of presumptive task shifting, in other words. Less gets done in the aggregate. Creation of new knowledge becomes defined as a sort of lifestyle option, and there’s even been talk of a “granny track,” as colleagues, er… mature.

That’s correct about Fast Eddie (Rendell), Historiann. Philadelphians learned years ago, and other Pennsylvanians more recently, you get the good with the comedic. I clicked on the Campbell Brown segment and he was pretty much just schmoozing. Still pretty tacky. He did flatten a few linebackers last spring to spring Hillary for a pretty big gain in April, and for that we’re still grateful. (I’m sure she’d whop him upside the head for the Napolitano jibe, however).

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By: Erica http://www.historiann.com/2008/12/05/just-in-case-you-wondered-what-they-really-say-about-you-at-the-office/comment-page-1/#comment-141277 Sat, 06 Dec 2008 02:11:01 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=2188#comment-141277

Quite frankly, the parents of young children I know are probably envious of people who have the luxury of time that being “alone” affords.

I sure am :)

I don’t have much respect for parents who take advantage of childless co-workers. Admittedly, I’m not in a field with funky scheduling like medicine or academia; however, engineering has its moments of unpaid overtime, weekend emergencies, whatever. I had plenty of co-workers who had an awful lot of “convenient” family emergencies. (And some who used family as an excuse for why they were staying at work more. Those guys were asshats, though.)

If I HAD to leave for kid-related reasons (e.g., “daycare closes at 6pm” or “my daughter has a horrible fever”), I knew that would put extra pressure on other (non-parent) engineers. But while I often couldn’t do overtime, I could do other things to make up for it, so I’d finish some boring paperwork for whoever had filled in for me. It’s simply not fair to use family as an excuse to not do your share of work. (I think I was the only one who ever did that, though.)

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By: Clio Bluestocking http://www.historiann.com/2008/12/05/just-in-case-you-wondered-what-they-really-say-about-you-at-the-office/comment-page-1/#comment-141255 Sat, 06 Dec 2008 00:20:36 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=2188#comment-141255 I’m with Squadro. These days, people have extended-family responsibilities and concerns. For instance, I would love to be able to put my nephew on my benefits for the same reason as your friend would like her nephew to have the free tuition, Historiann. Neither of his parents are particularly wealthy. His father’s company only pays insurance for employees, not the family of employees. That means the the family is on my sister-in-law’s insurance. She works full-time and goes to college full-time. She’d like to drop down to full-time but they can’t lose the benefits. She’s willing to do without, but they can’t let my nephew go without. He is only four, after all, and has a heart murmur. His parents, due to proximity, will also probably be the ones who care for my parents as they become less mobile. I’d love to be able to do this one little thing for them.

While I’m glad that so much has been done to make workplaces more accomodating to families, I wish that they would open the definition of family. I also wish that “family” would be seen a part of a bigger definition that encompasses “life not at work” and that, no matter what you do in that life, no one’s “life not at work” is less important than anyone else’s.

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By: squadratomagico http://www.historiann.com/2008/12/05/just-in-case-you-wondered-what-they-really-say-about-you-at-the-office/comment-page-1/#comment-141230 Fri, 05 Dec 2008 23:41:31 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=2188#comment-141230 I’d just like to add that I not only think that the definition of “family” needs to be broadened beyond “children,” but also beyond blood- and legal marriage relationships. I think my earlier comment may have sounded exclusionary of long-term partnerships, whether gay or straight, that lack a legal sanction. That was not my intention: I should have used the word “partner” rather than “spouse.”

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2008/12/05/just-in-case-you-wondered-what-they-really-say-about-you-at-the-office/comment-page-1/#comment-141203 Fri, 05 Dec 2008 23:07:47 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=2188#comment-141203 Fixed–and I agree, wholeheartedly. (I was hoping you would chime in!) The fact is that people who don’t have children are disproportionately on the hook for dealing with elder care. (And, there are a lot of parents who will one day have to deal with their parents aging too, so wouldn’t a family leave policy that recognizes that be a benefit to all?)

A friend of mine at my former university was irritated at the benefit that only parents of children get free tuition for their children at that university. She has a nephew whom she knows would really be able to use it, as his parents didn’t make a ton of dough. While aunts and uncles aren’t ordinarily expetected to chip in for a child’s college education, it would be more equitable to offer a one-time chit to child-free faculty for free tuition for anyone of their choice. You’re absolutely right that OPU’s policies inscribe another kind of privilege, while they work to dismantle other privileges.

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