Yesterday's column posed the question: "Has the workplace become so pro-family that if you don’t have a child, you have to make one up in order to get fair treatment?" For those who say "yes," there is, apparently, a solution of sorts: The Office Kid. "With one simple kit, you can do as your coworkers with children do -- make excuses, miss work and blame it all on your kid," the site says. The kit includes a framed snapshot of a child and a childish drawing to display in your cubicle. (!)
I've blogged about being childless/free in the workplace before. I guess I'm fortunate that I've never really felt taken advantage of at work because of my childless status. (Of course, until just a few years ago, few of my immediate coworkers had young children.) I'm willing to cut my co-workers some slack for whatever reason, so long as they don't abuse it, & I expect they would do the same for me, kids or not.
Also, I've never been one to hang around the office at the best of times. As a couple of the commenters said, you have to manage people's expectations. Maybe I'm foolish -- and I'm not particularly ambitious -- but I'm just not into accumulating face time to score brownie points with the boss. I'm already away from home 11 hours a day, including the commute -- and after a certain point in rush hour, the trains only run once an hour. That's a long enough day, in my opinion. I don't mind picking up slack for sick or overly busy coworkers occasionally, and I will stay late (or take work home) if it's necessary -- but most days, when the clock strikes 4:30, I'm outta there. I may not have kids, but I have a life too. (At least I think I do, lol.)
But I do know this is an issue for many childless/free people.
One anonymous commenter (who apparently can't spell) had this to say:
"Why do you fell this way, having kids DOES entitle one to flexibility, if you are jealous of you co workers having flexibilty because of kids, simple fix is to have your own kids, then you can actually contribute to soceity instead of wishing for what others have. Grow up"
I felt like cheering when, a few comments down, I read this:
"I most likely can’t–and many others can’t either. Thanks for providing such a “simple,” empathetic, and well-thought out solution, those struggling with fertility (and those, like me, who have come to terms with being childless) certainly thank you. Wow. I’m able to manage my situation quite well, but I am a manager. Others aren’t so fortunate. Since being a mom doesn’t appear to be in the cards for me, I’ve developed a full life outside of work that should command just as much respect as those who have children."
Whoever you are, thank you!!