Sunday, June 11, 2006

Dads vs. Globalization

My buddy and British spy Susan Godstone sent me "Is being a good dad ruining your career?" from the U.K. Observer, which links falling job security to the rising number of involved fathers and stay-at-home dads:

The current generation of 30-something workers may already be at the height of their careers. If we are lucky our earnings will peak in our forties, after which we will be obsolete - replaced by upstart, bargain-bin graduates. At best, we will have to take pay cuts. More likely we will be nudged towards retirement, for which few of us have made adequate provision...

If you care about spending time with your family that is a raw deal: work longer and harder to be a bit poorer at the end of it all. Instead of delaying the gratification of time off, perhaps indefinitely, people in their twenties and thirties should really be taking their leisure and family dividend when they can afford it. We won't get a life in retirement, so we should demand one now.

Actually, the article (by Rafael Behr) goes a way past the merely economic:

The loneliest I have ever been was sitting at the kitchen table at 2 o'clock in the morning while my wife and our newly born daughter were still at the hospital. Adrenalin carried me home. Then I grappled with an absurd dilemma: to tidy the house so that our new life could get off to an orderly start or to sleep. (Anyone who has had a baby knows the easy answer. Sleep.)

After a few minutes ineffectually carrying objects up and down the stairs and depositing them in random places I sat down and poured myself a drink. Then I cried. I like to think I was moved exclusively by relief that everything had passed without medical emergency. But if I'm honest there was also a pang of helplessness, the feeling that at that precise moment there was nothing I could do for my family. It is a terrible thing to fear redundancy at home and at work.


This is probably as good a time as any to announce two things.

First, starting on June 15 Daddy Dialectic will become a group blog - I'll post in a few days to introduce my fellow Dialectical Daddies. Second, not coincidentally, starting on June 15 my wife will be off for the summer - she's a teacher - and I'll be ramping up my consulting and freelancing work for the duration. While it might seem like that'd give me even more time for daddy dialectics, in fact I'll be focusing on other things...things that pay money!

No comments: