It's Nice to be a Prediction
One of our favorite big-time bloggers is Penelope Trunk, author of The Brazen Careerist and a blog of the same name. Her entries are always thought provoking, and even if you don't agree with her sentiments, she makes you question every paradigm.
Yesterday's Brazen Careerist entry was especially dear to my heart. Here, she announced her 7 predictions for American work structure. Not ideas she feels will catch on in full force in 2008, but concepts that she feels will become widespread trends in the semi-near future. And, you guessed it, ESP is one of them!
Here's a sampling of what Penelope says:
- Pay is equal for men and women until there are kids. This inequality [after kids] will change when Generation Y starts having kids because the men are committed to being equal partners in child rearing. We see already that among Generation X, men and women are willing to give up pay and prestige in order to get time with their families. Generation Y's demographic power will provide critical mass for big change.
- Women have already widely rejected the idea of sacrificing their time with children to a relentless, high-powered, long-houred job, and men are following suit. Women have also found that staying at home with kids all day is boring. Institutions are responding - finally - to these trends. Parents will choose some form of shared care [her term for ESP]. Each parent will work part-time and take care of kids part time.
- People will choose to work because they love what they do. Generation Y is more community oriented and team oriented than any preceding generation. These people will want to work to be part of something larger than themselves. Also, this generation sees work as a path to personal growth - something to look forward to.
Yep, that is Equally Shared Parenting! Equal, balanced and happy lives for men and women. Ahhhh!
I think the big barrier to ESP is the link of health insurance to 40-hour a week jobs.
So long as this is the case, for many families, especially those where someone has a chronic health condition, somebody must work a full-time job.
It's great to work for the joy of it. But it's also true that bills need to be paid, and the clearest path to paying the "health care" bill is a full-time job.
I agree that benefits, specifically health care coverage, are a stumbling block to part-time work. However, I believe that many companies do offer full health care coverage at slightly reduced hour work (mine offers it to anyone working 32 hours per week or more). My suspicion is that many employees are not well versed in their company's benefit structure, and simply assume that health care is not available if they reduce their hours.
With ESP, parents do not have to work part-time - although this makes balancing life much easier. But if they do reduce their hours, it is often only necessary for each of them to do so by a small amount (say, to 30-35 hours/week) because BOTH parents are doing so.
I hope someday health benefits are truly available to all employees (or through universal health care separate from work) at 30-35 hours per week.
Thanks for writing!
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