Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Check It Out, Sister.

On another note: at the suggestion of some girlfriends I recently picked up an audio book...aka downloaded an app for 1 month free to listen to a book I don't have any time to read...which some of you sassy career business women special business women out there probably already know about :  Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg.

Lean In
Great read (to listen to, in my instance): encouraging and educational and touches on a topic I hold near and dear to my heart...that I have to say, I did not hold near and dear to my heart until after I had a baby.  And realized, just how different my life began to look than my husband's life, in terms of our careers. 
Initially, Anne-Marie Slaughter  grabbed my attention after I read this article in The Atlantic (ok which I only read after she appeared on the Colbert Report, just keeping it real, sister.)  Whitten was maybe 7 months old and I had been back at work full time for about 4 months. 
The Atlantic
This was after being told by one of my bosses, the day before returning from maternity leave (yes I was called at home on a Sunday) that the company no longer approved the new FULL TIME schedule agreed upon (which I requested and had documented approval of by my 5th month of pregnancy). 
Alternately, I was also told (at 2 weeks post partum) by my casual employer (because  up until that time I had CHOSEN to work 2 jobs that I enjoyed) that despite the fact my family medical leave of absence was approved for 12 weeks of leave, I would now be required to return to work 4 weeks postpartum. I was told that should I not be able to fulfill this commitment, my management would be more than happy to offer a positive reference to another department (with the clause that the department may not be hiring at that time). 
If you have or have not had a baby (or if you are a nurse) you know that no OB/GYN is going to approve of a woman going back to work at 4 weeks post partum to take care of total care patients for 12 to 13 hours at a time.  When I argued this point, my manager at the time did verbalize to me that she understood and agreed.  Honey, you're not dense-you get the picture-essentially I was pushed out of the latter position. 
To say I was jaded and angry is an understatement.  Excellent employee and peer reviews at both of my places of employment no longer mattered.  My new role was more or less an inconvenience, really.  
Long story short, I put on my big girl panties and went back to work, with little argument regarding the original approved work schedule agreement, as I never intended to stay home, I'd never identified myself as the "stay at home mom" type. 
Returning to work.  Was.  Horrible.
 To say I felt unwelcome is an understatement. 
I got wind of comments (from upper female management) like, "Well too bad, if I had to do it, she has to do it." 
And (more female management), "Plenty of other women work and have children, she can figure it out."
And (once again, female management), "I'm sorry, I'm sure you understand, but I have to look out for what's best for the unit."
Or (from a man), "Well, then you chose this profession, if you didn't want it to be like this, you should've thought about that before you decided to become a nurse." 
How about, "How do you even know your role?  When I was your age, we knew our jobs, I did mine, my husband did his, now, I just don't know why you girls do this..."**
I feel our culture encourages this attitude, and discourages a woman from repeating these comments to others, or confronting them because she will be seen as whiny and lazy.  These comments were made in the work place. 
Keep in mind I work in a very politically correct, all inclusive environment.  People (multiple, without hesitance, on separate occasions) felt comfortable and justified in making these comments in a professional setting.   
Also keep in mind I never asked (nor ever had a history of asking) for permission not to work or to be paid for work I was not willing to do.  I asked to be treated as though I had just had a child.  Which is not synonymous with asking for handouts, pity, special allowances or the like.  That is how I was being treated.  Josh never encountered any issues in returning to work-by the way.
**I hate to say, (no I don't) this last comment started to sound like the most glorious music of the hills are alive.  Anything to justify me getting out of this over-worked, over-tired, over-achieving, nonstop LIFE was something I wanted to, needed to hear. 
I have since made changes for my mental health and well being-not to mention quality of LIFE-that I question every week, but that's another topic. 
Either who I was thrilled to stumble upon this post on Tumblr by Excellence Is Not An Act But A Habit touching on yet another woman speaking out about real life: Debora Spar, the president of Barnard College, and her new book, Wonder Women: Sex, Power, and the Quest for Perfection 
This is not a quest for working mothers only, and these ladies are not man-eater feminists.  I am just sharing my personal experience as a woman in the workplace, and these women simply speak out the honest truth: We have been lied to.  Women cannot have it all do it all be all and everything to everyone and do it well.  I'm sorry.  I'm not in the least bit sorry.  Just being real.
Check it out, sister.

1 comment:

Janet Morgan said...

YOU go sister. Tell it like it is!