Special thanks to Genevieve, who let me rant about this to her last weekend, and who was kind enough to reassure me from her position as a working expectant mom that no, I'm not being an unreasonable bitch.
So a few weeks back I was at Borders and ran across this new book Water Cooler Diaries: Women Across America Share Their Day At Work, edited by Joni B. Cole and B.K. Rakhra. I got excited because right there on the cover, there's a post-it saying "Librarian."
I love my profession, but I'm first to admit we suffer from a self-promotion problem. We suck at it, and I have a theory why, but that's another post. We also do a variety of things, and we have a public perception problem. People a) don't know what we do and b) can't believe a Master's degree is required (whether it really is or not is another story). So that someone, namely Tonia N. Sutherland of South Hadley, MA went and wrote up her day at work and it published with other diaries of glamorous, mundane and exciting work days of women, is awesome.
Except Sutherland didn't go to work that day. Her kid got sick and she stayed home with him and worried about her job instead.
And I got pissed.
1) Librarianship's a female dominated profession with a boatload of problems from issues of deprofessionalization,
sex ratio disparities, the assumption that even our best and brightest are just marking time until we stay home with babies. And that's on top of general disrespect and low pay.
So Sutherland had the baton to do us a favor, and she dropped it. That's disappointing. If there were other librarians writing for this project and the editors just picked her piece to include to illustrate a point, I'll publicly apologize for my pissiness and send her flowers, and go toilet paper the editors' lawns.
2) Grrr. Look, this is why you don't talk too much about your personal life and work. Because Sutherland wants pity/understanding for the way she's sabotaging herself at work and I can't give it to her. She's sabotaging herself by confusing her role as a wife and mother with her role of a worker. She had 4 meetings, including one about restructuring her job so that she got to do work she wants to do and a full day of work to do and she blew it off to stay home while her husband went off to his job where he makes half of what she does and gets no benefits. Honey, if "the library will not collapse because my child is sick," neither will the hospital where your husband is a nurse's aide. But your career will stall and collapse if you don't show up to work on your busy days, and I have no sympathy for the "my baby is sick!" argument. She should worry about her job--if I were her boss, I'd have trouble taking her seriously.
Part of feminism is the acceptance that when we took the right to move beyond the role of the angel of the house, we also got a new set of responsibilities. Your responsibility is to work on your career and succeed so you can provide for your child and family because you have a career and not let your husband dick around thinking that his job is as important as yours when it provides none of the benefits or responsibilities that go along with what we term good jobs.
And I get that it's hard to have kids and work. But this is why you try to structure things so that you have the primary breadwinner and a secondary person, and switch off whose career is important when, and not assume that because you're female you're responsible for the sun rising and setting.
Oh, and don't air your dirty laundry in print so bitches like me get mad and take you to task.