Back to work! Family time is money!

Reader Response to “Don’t Marry Career Women” – Back to work! Family time is money!

Back to work! Family time is money!
Like it or not, nothing has deflated wages and increased working hours more than women entering the work force. When women entered the workforce the talent pool doubled. More competition for jobs means that all of us (both men and women) have to fight like dogs to pay our rent, feed our children and send them to college. Think about it. Who has a nine to five job anymore? Those hours are laughable by today’s standards. Most career people are working 10-12 hours a day if not more. To the corporate puppet-masters diversity is money in the bank. The more people they can get into the talent pool the more they can lower wages. Today, both men and women are both working and pooling their salaries just to live the same lifestyle that a man of the 1950’s could’ve provided for his family with one job. There is no easy answer to this. Women deserve their advances and should have every opportunity to have their aspirations and ambitions fulfilled. But in the end we all lose, we both work harder, we have strangers raise our children, and corporate profits keep going up due to increased productivity and decreased wages. Now get back to work.

08-26-2006 09:43 AM

Re: Back to work! Family time is money!

You have an interesting point about the size of the labor pool and the effect on salaries.  I hadn’t thought of that before.

However, I think a more important reason why today’s families seem to work so frantically to support their lifestyles is that we seem to have lost the important distinction between necessities and luxuries.

We are not, in fact, working to support the same lifestyle as our parents or grandparents had in the 1950s.  Think about the change in the size of homes, for example.  I’m not sure of the exact figures, but I believe the average size for a single family home has just about doubled in the past 50 years, even though our families are smaller.  How many children share a bedroom with a sibling these days?  My mother shared not only a bedroom, but a bed with her sister, until she left home to be married.  Her brothers shared a bed until they left home, too.  It was considered perfectly normal.  Also, the closets in those old houses were tiny, because people didn’t have 600 different outfits hanging in them.

Now, let’s look at the “necessities” of today.  How many families, even those who are struggling financially, are willing to do without cable TV?  How many people do you know, other than older adults, who do not have a personal computer and internet access?  Or a cell phone?  How many families have only one car?  Granted, in a rural area like mine, that makes life very inconvenient, but then again, let’s look at the cars.  They’re huge, and inefficient.  Aside from the environmental concerns, that makes them expensive.

I enjoy reading articles on personal finance, but sometimes I have to laugh when the advice for those trying to budget their way out of a financial crisis is, “try to eat out no more than once a week.”  Once a week?  Are they kidding?  Unless I’m travelling, I rarely eat out at all, other than for special occasions.  I bring my lunch to work, and I cook.  That’s right, COOK — from scratch, not reheating some chemical-laden garbage in the microwave.  It’s healthier and cheaper, and it tastes better.  Also, I grow whatever vegetables I can in my garden.  It’s a hobby I enjoy, but my interest started from necessity when I was unemployed for a year.  I depended on that garden, just like my grandmother depended on hers in the Depression.

A friend of my husband’s (a 30-ish guy with a wife and two small kids) was facing a possible bankruptcy recently, and asked our advice.  We tried to make some suggestions, but he was absolutely shocked when we brought up the idea of cutting off the cable.  He NEEDED that TV to babysit his kids!  The computer, too!  He did eventually sell his huge RV – reluctantly – and trade in his fancy truck for a cheaper model.  Then he started expressing interest in buying the motorcycle my husband was trying to sell.  We really wanted to sell it, but we told him he was out of his mind!

Anyway, my point is, this is not the 1950s lifestyle.  Not that I’d choose to go back to a two-bedroom, one bathroom house with one closet and a party-line phone (anyone else old enough to remember those?), but let’s be realistic!

08-26-2006 08:51 PM

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