Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Let's start talking about work/ family balance

When I think about my friend and 9to5 Atlanta Chapter member Leslie Hudson I recall a comment she made one day in reference to her then current employer. We were talking about the challenges we faced as single mothers. Leslie expressed frustration over the long hours she was forced to maintain at her job as a chef in a local restaurant. Leslie worked long hours to meet the financial needs of her household because she was paid an hourly wage. Leslie was often unable to take time off from work when she or her son was ill because she could not afford to lose the daily pay. When she was forced to take time off because her son was had an issue at school, her employer told her that her lifestyle did not work [for the employer] and she should consider finding new employment.

Leslie is one of many women in my personal life who have shared this type of experience with me. During my experience as an organizer with 9to5 Atlanta I have met many more women who share the experience of feeling marginalized by an employer because they struggle to balance family responsibilities with work obligations. Before I became an organizer at 9to5 my friends and I would complain about the lack of time available to focus on the needs of our families while pursuing our careers. At that time my friends and were not aware of the impact public policy had on our issue. We were complaining about the emotional and physical fatigue we were experiencing trying to “do it all”. We discussed the impact on our relationships with our partners, children and each other. We expressed anxiety over the upward mobility of our careers, and agonized over the possibility that a glass ceiling does exists. Could it be that our commitment to our families could be the very reason we were no longer viable candidates for the promotions and the professional accolades our childless peers seemed to be enjoying?

As an organizer I have become aware of the need to engage more working individuals with family care responsibilities in the dialog to craft workplace policies that provide access to family supportive benefits. During the month of February you can participate in a series of radio blogs on the subject by visiting You can also learn more about bringing family values to work by visiting or by calling 404.222.0037. You do not have to feel isolated or guilty anymore. Do something about it today and join the movement to bring raises, rights and respect to the modern workplace.

To learn more about Leslie's story please click on this link:

No comments: