Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Kids Kill Careers (Or So They Say)

I know this isn't on the subject of SAHDs (or even, particularly, fathers), but given that work-family balance is my other great area of interest, I really wanted to post on new research that shows families will screw up your career. On some level, this is a no-kidding finding ... it's harder to be a workaholic if you have significant interests outside of work, be they kids or participation in community theater or multiple hockey leagues or volunteering commitments.

Of course, this depending on making the single, increasingly flawed assumption that fewer hours at work is worse than more hours at work. While I'm sure that there are plenty of widget-based jobs where hours-worked is a good measure of productivity, a large and growing number of jobs rely on "burst" productivity -- great leaps in a short period of time. And assessing these kind of workers in an hourly model does them (and their families) a great disservice.

Of course, hours-worked remains the gold standard by which all employees are judged, but -- and this is a pet peeve of mine -- we'd all be better off if we started looking at better ways to measure quality and output, rather than just counting the minutes. Because, as the research shows, the moment you start counting minutes, you start punishing those who think that they should invest some of those minutes outside of work.

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