In 1989, sociologist Arlie Hochschild published The Second Shift, a book about her long-term study of how a group of employees balanced their work and their family commitments. The title of the book referred to the employees putting in a shift of work at their workplace, and then going home to undertake another round of work in managing their households and their families. The book was hugely influential in many ways, not least of which was Hochschild’s finding that even when the employees had access to flexible work arrangements, such as compressed work schedules or flextime, they were reluctant to use them. Even if flexible work arrangements would have helped the employees better manage the demands of their two “shifts”, the employees – especially the male ones – thought their careers would be hurt if they were perceived as being less than committed to their jobs or to their employer.
But that was 1989. Things are different now. Or are they?
Anyone who’s spent any time studying or participating in progressive organizations knows that, ironically, sometimes these organizations treat their own employees worse than the organizations they campaign against (as so brilliantly pointed out by this cartoon).
I thought about this paradox when I heard about the campaign asking five hosts of MSNBC television shows to (more…)