Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A working woman's holiday thought

As a lot of people sat down and prepared for two weeks worth of laying in the bed and hot-cocoa drinking, I thought of all the work that I needed to get done at the office. Has anyone else suffered like this? As matter of fact, I type this while sitting at my desk 45 minutes and one staircase away from my electric blanket and eggnog. I don't necessarily mind that I have work to do, I mean, I love my job. And not just in a "I'm glad to have a job" sort of way. The people I work for are fantastic and would be upset to learn that I am at my desk 2 days after Christmas while the entire office is closed. What concerns me is my general acceptance of  deciding to work when everyone else is off. I don't have immediate deadlines. No one is harping on me to get things done. It is a totally self-created requirement to forego vacation time and work.

I could throw out general statements like "we as Americans feel the need to work" or "people do what they need to do to get ahead." But truthfully, its simply just hard to turn off. We go to college, we work hard to get a job, then you work hard at your job so you can get promoted and make more money. We all seem to have this natural need to work, even when it isn't necessarily required. How many of you get emails on a BlackBerry or iPhone.? Do you really need to answer all those emails immediately? Will your project fall through if you respond tomorrow? (Sidenote: I am not asking this question to doctors, sales people, entertainment folk or anyone who does international business). It just seems like our incessant need to be available to our jobs will always be an issue. Family time? Sorry, can't play scrabble because I am answering an email that a client sent egregiously late at night.

Secretly, I know that part of the reason that I work so hard (even during vacations) is so that no one thinks that I can't hang! My totally unfounded fear convinces me that I need to prove that I can do what needs to be done at all times. Because I know that as soon as I take maternity leave, as soon as the baby comes, the advancement of my career slows down by 6 weeks, at least.

So yes – I went from working during the holidays, to how great my job is, to generalizations about Americans' need to work, to unlikely discrimination due to motherhood.

Yup, join the party.... there is plenty of room. Do any other women feel this besides me?

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