Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Bringing your baby to work

Babies? In my office? It's more common than you think

One recent morning at the offices of Farm Aid, as managers sat around a long table and talked business, Shailagh Heneghan got cranky.

She squirmed. She grumbled. She made sure everyone knew her displeasure. And so the staff did what they often do at Wednesday meetings: The associate director of the 22-year-old organization held Shailagh. Then the campaign director tucked her under his arm in the football hold. Finally, the operations director lifted Shailagh into her arms.

"We sort of did pass-the-baby," said Wendy Matusovich, Shailagh's mother and Farm Aid's resource development director.
"It's not only good for the employee to have this flexibility . . . but it's really good for the [other] employees in the organization, whether they have children or not. It kind of gives them a different view of where they work," said Gee, former present of Southern Vermont College.

So this is where we're headed, eh?

Let's put all the obvious stuff aside for a moment. This is going to be a human resources nightmare. It is inevitable that "being a team player" now is going to include, at first, tolerating babies in the office, and eventually, helping to take care of the babies in the office. Most of us are expected from time to time to pick up a co-worker's phone if it rings... now it's going to be "can you change my baby while I'm in the meeting?" And I can guarantee you, the people expected to do most of this will be the other women in the office.

The infertile people who had at least one safe haven from seeing the babies they can't have, now lost it. The people who are sensitive to smell? Shit out of luck. And good luck talking to your client on the phone, what with the colicky baby in the next cube over.

Let's not forget the critical mass aspect as well. Maybe the office can deal with 2 or 3 babies, but no more. Now it's time for job interviews. Are you really going to run the risk of hiring more women of child-bearing age, especially when they know your company accepts people bringing their babies?

It's a nightmare in the making.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I saw this article - I pray that it doesn't work its way into the banking industry. This is wrong in so many ways.

I guess this is another perk to my home office, which I can attest to as "baby free".