Starting in Our Own Backyards: How Working Families Can Build Community and Survive the New Economy

Starting in Our Own Backyards: How Working Families Can Build Community and Survive the New Economy

Starting in Our Own Backyards: How Working Families Can Build Community and Survive the New Economy

Starting in Our Own Backyards: How Working Families Can Build Community and Survive the New Economy

Synopsis

Containing interviews with more than 100 middle-class working parents in the Boston area, Bookman vividly illustrates the inherent conflicts faced by today's two-working-parent families and the often unfortunate consequences for the community. In an important departure from the ongoing debate, she offers a new paradigm for the relationship between paid and unpaid work that could invigorate both family life and the quality of civil society.

Excerpt

A VIEW FROM THE BIOTECH INDUSTRY

Jessica Bromfield is a professional biotech employee. When I met her she had just started working part-time in a job share position at BioSegunda. With several years of research already completed, I was well aware that part-time work is not easy for women to get in biotech, and job shares are almost unheard of, so I was expecting to hear a tale of sensitive managers supporting time for family care. But that was not what I heard.

JESSICA'S STORY

Jessica is in her late thirties and has 15 years' experience in the biotechnology industry. She has a B.S. degree in biology and has worked in the quality assurance departments of several biotech companies. This work involves constant communication with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and she enjoys the challenge of getting government approval for drugs and products that will improve the quality of life for people who are ill. In the mid-1990s, she was hired as a senior associate in quality assurance at BioTertia; she has worked her way up to supervisor of a small group.

Several years ago Jessica became the mother of twin girls and took 12 weeks' leave. When her leave was up, she did not want to return to the workplace on a full-time basis, although she was willing to do full-time work. She proposed to her boss that she work half-time at home and half-time at the workplace. Jessica explains:

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