The Working + Going to Graduate School + Being a Mother Manifesto

Dear (Corporate) World:

We need to talk. We’re just not connecting. You haven’t changed over the years, but I have. I think we want the same things. But we’re not doing a very good job of listening to one another. I feel like we have different ideas regarding time and what it means to be a productive, engaged, happy employee. You seem to want all of me. All of the time. Enough for me is not enough for you!

Were on the same side, you and me! You want productivity, creative ideas. You want to get things done and make some money. Me too! I want to do these things for you. Make you happy. But not at the expense of myself. What I need is some flexibility. Your emphasis on “butts in seats” as a measure of work being done and productivity is draconian. The world has changed, but your management practices are still based on work and working styles from the 1930’s. It’s time to live in the present.

Freedom + efficiency = happy, engaged employee. Allow me to have control over my time. I’ll get more done, I promise. You see? Do you want my time? Or do you want my work? These are not necessarily the same things. I suspect what you want is the service that I provide, and haven’t considered that hours in the office is only one way to measure and define work. Lets look at the results-only work environment. Have you heard of it? It works like this; people are paid for a chunk of work, rather than a chunk of time. This idea creates a workforce that is energized, focused, disciplined, and happy. Plus, it’s good for your bottom line.

Leisure time is not wasted time. Let me repeat that. Leisure time is not wasted time. It’s valuable. Important. Necessary. People who take time out for themselves to unplug are happier, more engaged workers who do a better job for YOU. John de Graaf co-founder and executive director of Take Back Your Time found: “It’s actually a common finding in epidemiology that health goes up during economic downturns,” he said. “It very much has to do with people having more time. Working hours are down.” See?! I need to take vacations for YOU!

We need to be able to trust one another. This hasn’t been easy for us. In part because there’s the whole “mom” thing. There I said it. It’s out in the open. You have a bias. Because I’m a mother you see me as something of a burden. “Oh, god, she’s going to have to take her kid to the doctor. She has to take some time off for parent teacher conference, what happens when the kid gets sick? And worse…. she’s going to want to talk about them.” Yes. I will do those things. So what? Seriously, so what? That’s life. It’s messy and it’s unpredictable, and children and mothers and fathers have to function within the world of work. You see, with more control over my time, (see above) with the idea of flexibility, trust, and results built into the mindset of the workplace, this becomes a non issue, doesn’t it?

School: I’m doing this for our relationship. Continuing my education is my gift to you! ;) Being involved in the dMBA program has already improved our relationship and helped our communication. We were never able to speak this openly before. Sure I may be becoming more demanding, but I think you secretly like it.

These articles were created as part of the course work for “Live Exchange” the foundational course on communication for The MBA Design Strategy Program at California College of the Arts. Read more about the project here.

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