Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Hewlett Returns, this Time with 50% More Whine.

After the media blitz and sales disaster that was her first books, Hewlett is giving publishing another go. In her first book, Hewlett dismissed the possibility that declining birthrates had anything to do with choice, concluding instead that those who put off parenthood for too long were teeming with regret. Her implication that women should have babies young (anything being younger than her ripe age of 50) caused even future mom Tina Fey to state:

I definitely should've had a baby when I was 27, living in Chicago, over a biker bar, pulling down a cool 12 grand a year. That woulda worked out great.

Now Hewleet is ranting about how employers fail to subsudize women's dreams of 'having it all. InThe hidden brain drain, we discover the source of her bitterness:
[S]he was told that she hadn't made tenure because she had "allowed childbearing to dilute [her] focus".
then quit her position as the first female head of the Economic Policy Council because they refused her flex-time.

Indeed it seems a cornerstone of her demands:
The key seems to be to convince the people at the top that all jobs can be done flexibly.

"The trick," says Hewlett, "is to make flexibility totally universal, and to make it very real." Flexibility can mean working 10 months a year instead of 12, or working a compressed week (a full-time workload compressed into less than five days), or just getting a cast-iron promise that you can have dinner with your kids twice a week. But the main point is that it should be available to everyone.
Of course, she ignores the very reason that such programs are not in place (as they would be if they really were good for businesses). Many positions, including political appointment, require availability. What happens when a client finds a new company after consistently being told on a Thursday afternoon that her contact won't be available until Monday?

If someone finds an article that actually deals with the hard questions, point it out. In the meantime, brace yourself for a politically-correct charge of one-sided pieces that fail to give the critical look that made her first book such a highly discussed failure.
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm going to flag this on my blog as well. Patricia Hewlett's book was one of the first ones I read in making the decision to be childfree. I didn't know her first book was such a flop, but I'm pleased to hear it, as I thought some of her suggestions were really of the wall and in the realms of fantasyland.