Saturday, October 22, 2005

Re-evaluation

I went to watch my son play football after school yesterday. He's only 8 but he's very good, and when I'm there it seems to spur him on... he scored 2 goals while I watched, and they were both crackers. It occurred to me after a few minutes that I was the only parent watching the kids play. Like last week, and the week before. And no doubt like next week.

I remember a conversation I had with my divisional director shortly after I started with the company a couple of years ago. I was late for a meeting, and he decided to make an issue of it, even though he knew the shit I was going through at the time with my marriage break-up. And even though he insisted on a start time of 8.30 when it would have made no difference at all had it been 10.30 instead.

"This really isn't good enough, you know", he said to me. "Its the second time its happened and I'm not prepared to tolerate it."

"Dick, I'm sorry if its caused you a problem, but you know my circustances... I've just moved, we're all unsettled, and I really need to be able to have the kids with me sometimes during the week. Its important to them at the moment. And I can't drop them off before 8.30 because the school gates are shut. If we could just make these meetings half an hour later on the odd days I have to do the school run..."

He looked at me with complete fucking incomprehension, and said - wait for it - "Don't bring your personal problems into work."

I won't bore you with the whole conversation, but I told him it wasn't negotiable and offered my resignation there and then. He didn't accept it, but that meeting marked the end of my career, effectively, with the organisation I'm about to leave.

This attitude in corporates isn't that unusual, though, and it begs the question - how fucked up have we become? What on earth has happened to our values, when the emotional wellbeing of vulnerable children is less important than the start time of a meeting that wasn't even necessary? Or when whole generations of kids are growing up out of sight of their parents, because their parents are too scared to ask for a couple of hours to watch a football match, or to go see a school play?

Someone once said "Progress might have been alright once, but it's gone on too long". I think its time for a major re-evalution. And that's just what I'm going to do, now my life's my own again.

31 comments:

kt said...

God, that makes me mad. Fortunately I haven't directly experienced this kind of bullshit but I'm sure I will at some point. I just hope that I'll deal with it as well as you.
Does Dick have children? Aptly named, btw.

WDKY said...

He's a complete dick. No children, no life experience... but at least he's got an MBA.

kt said...

ah well, that should keep him warm at night. Lucky Dick.

unforgiving b*tch said...

I've gone to almost everyone of my nephew's soccer games. At the last one, we had an entire cheering section there (about 10 people)...I feel it's important to be there, and the one I did miss, he still hasn't let me live it down and he's only 6.

Sher said...

That's the one area where I am very lucky. I work for a company that is very pro family and if I need to bring Jade to work with me, attend a school function or work from home when she's sick I am able to do so.

It's hard to imagine in this day and age that companies still don't "get it" when it comes to families and the needs that go with it. Although, I do see this type of "family discrimination" happening more with companies predominantly run by men.

Looks like you will be free of so many burdens when you finally walk out this door.

Yea!

emma said...

I walk into an appointment with a director, and I have my period so I think I'm not a extra tight in the stomach as I usually am 25 days of the month, and he turns to my agent and says "I want the bowflex girl", which is not me anyway. Then he turns to me and says, "honey, can you lose that extra water weight by friday?" If I ever want to work again, I have to smile at him, give him that I'll blow you even though you're three sheets to the wind on whiskey with pudding cock smile, and say "of course". I know it's not the same, but I do not have a job job, but dickheads abound in all walks. You just have the balls to stand up to them, you're tough.

serendipity said...

Wow, what a complete asshole!
I'm glad you're leaving there, I hope after you're gone this Dick will be given some home truths....

check said...

as mentioned in earlier comments ..dick's a dick!! ..and.. ur a gr8 dad!

WDKY said...

UB - what a girl!! Come and watch with me.

Sher - it shouldn't be happening, should it? There are guys that get to their desks at 7.30 every morning just to be seen. ROFL!

Em - you didn't blow him, did you?

Serendipity - I would give him some myself, but he's promised me some work as a consultant. Got to put food on the children's plates...

Check - I try to be. It's the only thing that really matters.

Claire said...

You have to account though, that some parents just cant be bothered to turn up to kids things, and some prefer going to work. I'm not a capatalist by any stretch of the imagination but I think "Dick" would just see it as its not his problem. As callous as that sounds, its probably true. Obviously some people are willing to accomodate but I guess it depends on the industry a lot of the time...

WDKY said...

I don't know about that Claire... there's been lots of research on what makes staff more productive, and enabling a proper life balance is right up there.

I also got offered a job on the board of a similar company, and the MD specifically looked at these issues as a major cultural differentiator. Unsurprisingly, he was divorced with two young children.

kimmyk said...

i work for a company that is all about the company. i get like 2 days a month for sick time (for me, child, family member) so if someone is sick i can take time off....but, i get a black mark everytime i use of my sick days that i've worked to get. it's a catch 22 anyway ya look at it.
i am fortunate enough though, that the doc i work for has 2 children who are quite active and so i work a schedule (6.30-4.00) that lets me leave for after school functions and one day a week i come in late (8.30) and make 'em breakfast-makes me feel good as a mom to do that once a week. sad though, it's only 1 day in the week i get to do it, but i'll take what i can get.
it's sad even in the US that some employers think business comes first-when they forget our real job is at home.
I'm sure the new start you'll soon be making will all be worth it.

WDKY said...

Aty least your schedule gives you half a chance, Kimmy. Why are you up so early?

NewYorkMoments said...

There's nothing I hate more in the business world than the "8:30am meeting." It's just as pervasive in the US, and I find that organizations or managers who insist on sticking to the "8:30 meeting" are generally control freak wankers who get off on making everyone rush to an early morning meeting. It's a power trip for them. Generally, I find that most people aren't that prepared or awake at that hour. It's particularly common in sales organizations. I'm convinced that the only way to be able to live life is to work for yourself!

WDKY said...

I'm so with you. Come and work with me... we could start the day with an 8.30 shag instead.

And you've summed Dick up to a tee.

ladylongfellow said...

This is one of the reasons that I have liked working for myself! I don't have a boss bitching at me...if I want to spend the whole day in my jammies or half naked, I can! the only person to bitch, is myself when things don't go the way I want or when my lazy ass procrastinates!

Make sure you put in for vacation...lol..when I visit the UK! lol

me said...

wow deep thoughts...and yeah i agree with u, children should be must more important than progress and jobs, careers and shit like that...anyway what i really like about that guy it's his name...lol. english is a wonderful language....

WDKY said...

LL, you're definitely welcome to look me up if you come over. In or out of your pj's.

Hi again, Paula. Yes, a dick's a dick in any language, isn't it? Ther's absolutely nothing in this world more important than my chidlren.

NewYorkMoments said...

I told you...Give me a job!

PS...I'll be Dick's dick is small.

WDKY said...

I'll need you to come over and show me what you're capable of first, nym.

NewYorkMoments said...

Let me know when! Or, you could come here & I could show you.

WDKY said...

Both are possible, nym. In fact, all things are possible.

Mister Hand said...

That's really a bunch of suckage, dude. And meetings are so fucking pointless. When was the last time one of those fucking things was even close to being productive? I don't even know what kind of meeting it was, I'm just guessing, but I'll bet I'm right that those meetings this guy's getting all chick-bitchy about are absolutely devoid of having any sort of point whatsoever. Corporate masturbation.

Good luck on whatever new career you choose to embark upon!

WDKY said...

Mr Hand, this is true... when I started we used to have pre-meeting meetings. Now, we have meetings about the pre-meeting meetings. How fucked up is that?

zooz said...

I wish I could say "That's really a bunch of suckage, dude" and it sound anything other than ridiculous in my queen's english

WDKY said...

Yes, but you can't :-)

zooz said...

I was shit on demonstrations too.

MAGGIE, MAGGIE, MAGGIE
OUT, OUT, OUT

just didn't sound right in posh north london

WDKY said...

Have you had a spliff?

zooz said...

No, did that sound very random? I was making an important sociological point about the difficulty of being posh socialist totty

Networkchic said...

You are so right, society puts importance on the wrong damn things. I remember when I was pregnant and my boss wouldn't let me leave early for my prenatal appt.. He said, can't they schedule them after work...UM NO. Anyway I walked out, told him he could fire me if he wanted but the health of my unborn baby was more important. I didn't get fired, I even got to leave early on a regular basis. Sometimes I think people just need a good kick in the arse to make them see what matters.

WDKY said...

I'm proud of you, nwc... I love a woman with balls (!?).