Monday, March 15, 2010

Two Vastly Different Outcomes for Older Women.

I am wondering which one of these two scenarios I have to look forward to.  Apparently, the number of older women that are out of work has doubled.  

But where there are women that are suffering, there are many others that are seeking flexible hours at the work place.  Super Mom realizes what she can and can't do and wants to do it all.

Dads are taking advantage of it too.  

I know that there is tons of sexism out there, although we're considered equal.  As mothers, women are often forced to make a decision and financial needs are forcing people to choose work. I hope that more companies offer flex time and telecommuting in the future, so that the children won't suffer as much as we did--coming from the mouth of a former latch key child.

I can't help but think that older women may be discriminated against because they may want to have a life with their children.  Employers may not be willing to that risk.  

Any thoughts?


  1. Well, something that I haven't really seen discussed & ticks me off is the idea that ALL women shouldn't be considered on the chance that they MIGHT have kids if they don't right now. Just because a large number of women eventually have kids doesn't mean that we ALL do.

    I personally got sterilized so I will most likely not be getting pregnant. If I do, it will be a tubal pregnancy--my life is obviously going to win out.

    While I have some sympathy toward children stuck in these situations, I also don't like being lumped in with mothers just because of my gender. However, the law firm I worked at in Atlanta managed to be family friendly & offer flexible hours for working parents. I don't see why other firms can't follow that example for their attorneys & think most employers should wake up.

  2. I pretty much assume at this point that, notwithstanding my "gold plated resume" and lots of experience and I am really good at what I do, no law firm would ever hire my late-30s self. Flex time and telecommuting will never "work" because the folks in charge don't want them to -- having a wife to take care of all the needs at home (for the menz) or "choosing" to have no life at all outside work and outsourcing the domestic stuff (for the few women who made it over the hump) has worked out for them, so why shouldn't the people coming behind do it the same way? That seems to be the attitude, anyway. When I was at my REALLY awful Biglaw firm, I was told by a partner (who had 4 kids under 10, a wife who had quit her job as a Biglaw lawyer, and a penchant for throwing things at my head) that he didn't understand why one couldn't bill 200 in-office hours a month and still see their kids. Well, asshole, because it takes 90 minutes to get to work including the daycare dropoff and 60 minutes to get home. How late do you think my 2-year-old is going to stay up? Because if he doesn't get some sleep, he's going to be as much of a jerk as you are.

    I guess my point is that Angel's comment about "having a life" (which I would think would be of interest to EVERYBODY, not just people with small kids) sort of begs the question as to what that means. To my asshole boss it apparently meant that his kids MIGHT wake up when he got home, to say goodnight to him. To me, it means spending enough time with them that they don't think that my job is worth more to me than they are. (And this, of course, is an uber-privileged POV--if I was still a secretary or a waitress or a miner like my stepdad or a shopclerk like my mom, I wouldn't even have the choice to do something with hours that work for me.)

    I used to have this fantasy law firm in my head (that I would start) that would get rid of all the BS "mommy wars" and "parents versus childfree" battles that seem to crop up every time we have these conversations about "having a life" (or, GOD FORBID, maternity leave). The concept was simple: (1) Do high quality work; and (2) Consider associates for promotion once they hit a prescribed number of career billables (something in the 14-16K range). If you have a bunch of high-billable years in a row, congratulations, you are up for partner a little earlier than you might have been otherwise. If you have lower-billable years because you had a baby or an illness or you took a sabbatical to write the novel or whatever -- maybe it sets you back a few months. Your choice. Promotions based on experience, not a predetermined # of years on a track (where we shove all women off either bc they get pregnant or we think they might)--or politics.

    A girl can dream. I am such a Gen-Xer.

  3. I don't understand why women always refuse to see what they do have, and that all and all it probably evens out in the cosmic sense.

    Sure, as a man, I can have a professional career with a stay at home wife and kids without agonizing over whether I'm sacrificing one for the other.

    Here is what I can't have:
    1.) Any realistic opportunity of ever being a non-parental, non-working spouse.

    2.) Any realistic opportunity of being a stay at home parent for more than a couple of miserable, divorce-inducing years.

    3.) Any realistic opportunity to live off of the welfare state

    4.) The joys of childbirth.

    5.) The right to become pregnant, and then have an abortion.

    6.) The certain knowledge that I will always be able to trade heterosexual sexual favors for just about anything I want.

    7.) Multiple Orgasms

    Just because as an individual you don't prefer the advantages that women have, doesn't mean they don't exist and that society is fundamentally unfair.

  4. ha ha ha. I dispute #3 and #4. #6 is okay within the context of an exclusive relationship...

  5. Um, what? I am a woman and have NEVER had #1-3. And #6? Do you also have the joy of being afraid to go out at night because of the ever-present fear of rape?

    And #4? Spoken like somebody who had never had such "joy" -- which for me has included tears (inflicted AFTER the doctor turned off the epidural against my wishes) so horrible they required surgery to correct, broken bones, and a number of other "joyful" effects. I had 5 weeks off after baby #1, 3 weeks after baby #2, and 3 DAYS after baby #3, and after all of these children I went back to work full-time plus, only to be dinged by my employers (many of them men who liked to buzz off at 3pm to play golf) for having the gall to have these kids. I am pregnant with my fourth child and STILL work two jobs. And you think that being a woman means that the welfare gods issued me a sugar daddy? Jesus Christ. What the hell is wrong with people?

  6. Men are ignorant. Just raise your boys to have empathy. Most men of our generation don't have it.

  7. I am one of those women over 50 and have been out of work for 7 months now. I have a JD from a TTTT which I know is not worth anything and my spouse who is also over 50 has an electrical engineering degree and has bee laid off for 4 months now. We both realize that we have reached the non-viable years in which corporations have ceased marketing to us because they know we will not fall for their money making schemes and employers have stopped showing interest in us because we may ask for too much money and we may just know more than they do.

    However, the actual truth is just the opposite. Our children are now grown thus we are not spending money on clothes, toys or the other million things one needs to purchase while raising a family. We might spend about $60.00 per week on groceries, our cars are paid for, and if we could sell our homes which are on the market (we married in July and still have 2 houses, mine's paid for, his is not) then we could purchase a smaller home for cash and no longer have a house payment. Thus we would not require the salaries that a younger family would. Unfortunately, employers don't see it this way. Instead they see our age as a barrier in that we may be behind the times and won't be able to contribute new ideas or assimilate with a younger work force. However, age diversity is a very important factor in the workplace as it encourages that the younger ones learn from the older ones and vice versa. Gender diversity, racial diversity and sexual orientation diversity in the workplace are also very important as it helps to dissolve on going sterotyping.

    I'm not suggesting that emloyers strictly hire those of us over 50, as younger people need jobs too, but at least give us the opportunity to show our viability in the workplace. You just might like what you see.

  8. I'm 42 and was asked at an interview if I had "enough energy" to work more than 8 hours. I reminded him I got to the interview without a cane.

  9. I really have nothing to add to this discussion other than the fact that Percy the Dachshund is the cutest little puppy dog I have ever seen. Carry on.

    P.S.: Angel, I fed your fish.

  10. Let's stop with the battle of the sexes. Maybe it was cute in the 1960's but it's unproductive now. Both sexes have their advantages and disadvantages.

    Angel, I love your blog, but when you say things like "Men are ignorant. Just raise your boys to have empathy. Most men of our generation don't have it", I have to disagree.

    People are ignorant, not men. Actually, people are nothing more than very high order animals. Humans are advanced chimpanzees, nothing more. You can't teach empathy, it's one of the highest order mental attributes of sentient beings, and unfortunately most people don't have it. People are for the most part born the way they are. Ignorance is a mentality born of limited emotional potential.

    Man(humans-no pun intended) is the most cruel and dangerous animal. That’s why our world revolves around exploitation, competition, violence, and reproducing faster than resources grow. That’s why there is a military and police. That’s why we have wars and revolutions. Humans are great at proliferating and exploiting tools, the environment, and each other. They always have been, and always will be.

    Anon at 8:15 made some good points. I find splitting hairs about which sex has it worse to be tedious, pedantic, and absurd. It’s like debating whether its better to have your right leg or your left leg sawed off without anesthesia. Throughout history and up until now, both sexes were subject to the same forces of exploitation. Actually, until the 20th century, life was pretty shitty for the overwhelming majority of people.

    You don't have to be a Marxist to acknowledge that all political power comes out of the barrel of a gun, and that society is a class hierarchy. There will always be masses and elites. As long as the masses are more interested in Bud Lite, “the game”, and American idol, genuine equality and democracy will be an abstract ideal.

    Of course, when there isn’t enough bread let alone Bud Lite for even the plurality of people, the masses will take to the streets with vengeance. Heads will roll, blood will flow, and a new group of elites will be placed in charge. Exploitation will continue, but at least some basic freedoms will be preserved. As Thomas Jefferson said, "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." Those in charge are less likely to take their abuse of power too far when they know their lives and the lives of their family are at stake.

    Just to recap, no sex is better than the other. Keep up the good fight against the law school cartel and the education bubble.

  11. I apologize. I tend to use extreme speech which is definitely a bad thing. I hate to qualify statements and make exceptions. I was speaking to the individual that wrote that the ability to prostitute for favors and push a watermelon out of something the size of a lemon was a positive thing. I retract! Let's just say, if you have children, teach them how to relate to others and live life in their shoes. Only then can we learn to live in harmony. I know... never going to happen. But I can dream.

  12. So what is it that women want? Equality(and all the expectations and demands on your time that come with it) or special treatment (flex time, day care, etc.)? Also, why should women insist that they are the same as men when it suits their purposes and at the same time insist that their femininity gives them certain inate traits that are superior to men. You can't have it both ways, ladies.

  13. I'm no feminist. In terms of gender, I believe in equal, but different.

  14. Warning: The story behind the link below might burst Angel's victimology bubble:

  15. It must be easy for employers to make room for a work-life balance when they have less work for their employees.



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