Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Will Gen X men lead the way to family-friendly workplaces?

I had a really cool experience recently. I got to sit down with a group of Gen X professionals and talk about the issues that are affecting our careers – and our lives.

One issue that came up was regarding Gen X men and fatherhood and work. One guy in the group said, “I can’t stay late. Maybe 30 years ago I could work 15 hours a day, because maybe my wife would stay home. But we have kids and my wife has a job and we have stuff to do.”

And the other guys in the audience nodded. And the gals, too.

In the last century, we were rewarded for taking longer to do our work. You must have worked really hard on that project if it took you 8 hours to complete rather than 4. Today, it just sounds ridiculous.

I wonder if in this century it will be Gen X men who will be fighting for family-friendly workplaces. It makes sense. There’s probably even more pressure on them from older guys to give it all to the company (in some ways, I think it’s a lot easier for a woman to get a pass when it comes to these issues.) If I were a guy, I would think it’s ridiculous that I was expected to spend more time away from family because of my gender.

What do you think?


Kristina said...

I definitely think so. It's true of the GenX men I know.

Anonymous said...

It's true of this GenX Dad. As a mom and a dad who own their own businesses, we're always a walking circus act juggling our schedules.

I would go so far as to say that Gen X (and Gen Y for that matter) men who can't shape a family-friendly workplace and schedule won't stay an employee. They'll either look elsewhere or set out to work for themselves rather than "the man."

Andrew Frenette said...

I work in the oilfield and we're expected to be away from home a lot as it is. When I was younger (and single) I used to work through my days off frequently (the oilfield equivalent of staying late at the office). Now, though, as I approach my late 30s, I tell them at work that I won't work through my days off, they're sacred. The company I work for has been asking this of all of us more and more - give it all to the company. And most of us are frustrated and seeking work elsewhere.