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tigtog (aka Viv) is the founder of this blog. She lives in Sydney, Australia: husband, 2 kids, cat, house, garden, just enough wine-racks and (sigh) far too few bookshelves.

This author has written 3413 posts for Hoyden About Town. Read more about tigtog »

8 responses to “Work/Life/Family Balance in NSW”

  1. Shaun

    The idea of working longs hours is sometimes borne of necessity but frankly, a lot of it is just bullshit macho posturing – a cult as you put it with all the irrationality and groupthink associated with cults. Coupled with corporate managements styles that are inherently inefficient and a lot of the day is wasted on useless tasks forcing people into overtime.

    In my case, I do a 9-5 and try and get home before the Little One is asleep. However I’m armed with a Blackberry so I’m in contact all the time. The working day extends around my home hours. I do wish for more home time with the Little One.

    There are a lot of reasons to dislike Iemma but this is one where he should be praised.

  2. tigtog

    I can understand that business cycles mean occasional flurries of critical implementation that require overtime. But if a business is requiring all its employees to work 12-14 hour days all year around, then it’s taking the piss and needs to start recruiting to enable staff capacity such that no more than 1 week out of 4 is at significantly more than 40 hours per week.

    There’s no credible justification for a standard expectation of 50 or 60 hours+ week in and week out.

  3. Shaun

    But employers are expecting that. They are trying to do more with less. Employees are treated as variable of production not as human beings with associated feelings.

    I do work for a startup so irregular hours are the the norm. Which is why I’m up at the moment blogging while dealing with a few issues. But I do have the luxury of a good boss who had no problem with me leaving a 1:30 today. My sister and her family came a visiting yesterday and this evening so it was good to be home early for once.

    We have one very over-excited Little One who is now thankfully asleep.

  4. Helen

    Heh. I just saw this news item and was going to come back to my previous post and put in a comment about it – but you’ve already done it.

    Welcome back Tigtog.

  5. tigtog

    Thanks for helping to keep the blog warm, Helen.

    Amanda Marcotte had a fascinating post on Friday about how current economic rationalist policies (that celebrate the excessive work hours cult) are constraining the choices of the middle-class (fall into the corporate line or fall out of the middle class) with the perhaps-not-inadvertent result of essentially dismantling the middle class as a pool of non-corporate creativity.

    The broader social control effect of requiring excessive work hours and a don’t-rock-the-boat mentality ties into the hostility against those who seek a work/life/family balance: fighting for the fulfilment of familial desires above professional desires make one a less predictable (reliable) employee/citizen/voter.

  6. kate

    My grandfather worked for the Navy (as a civillian) through WWII. He never worked overtime, because it was believed across the organisation, that overtime was inherently unproductive. He worked his way up, and by the time he retired he was quite senior. He still didn’t work overtime.

    Much of what happens in corporate life is machismo, not hard work. A work culture where it is frowned upon to leave at 5 is a place where people burn out, and quit. It is a place where people get so tired they make mistakes.

    I don’t live in NSW, but I do want a leader who is in touch with ‘the real world’, who takes his family life and responsibilities seriously, and who isn’t so thick that he thinks his children can wait five years for bonding storytimes. Kennett was that thick, we all suffered for it, and his wife (temporarily) left him.

  7. blue milk

    I had thought of so many things to say in response to this fantastic post.. but the comments have pretty much covered it.

    Oh well, I’m left with – we need senior men to model good work life balance behaviour because work culture is notoriously stubborn to change.. except when the boss does something and then magically it can change overnight. Good on Iemma.

  8. djfoobarmatt

    Rather than fight the culture of my family un-friendly engineering job, I decided to get a job in government (ended up at a university) so that I could be a part of my childs life. As I type I am taking the second day off work this week as my son has the flu. In my previous job I could have done this too but would have had to fight to justify it and felt like my position was in danger. My current boss actively encourages me to put family first (aggg a political party has hijacked my language) which has the effect that I am more motivated to do a good job for them.

    Having mentioned Family First – I think they are onto something with their marketing. For many Australians, family has become an important source of meaning as well as simple wealth and status creation.

    And I agree with the comment about the machismo of long hours. Some employers like to think they’re getting their moneys worth but often there is little productivity gained from employees who may stay late to surf the net or play solitaire. Some employees like to feel that they are important and indispensable and like to project that image. As for me, I was just worried about my job all the time.

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