Magazine article Industrial Management

Flextime: A Difficult Decision

Magazine article Industrial Management

Flextime: A Difficult Decision

Article excerpt

Maxine, a 40-year-old, married woman with two teenage children, has a respectable position in a company she has been with since she left college. To read her bio and to meet with her, you would never believe that Maxine has run out of steam. She came to see me to discuss her work situation and suddenly, she blurted out, "I'm a fraud! I'm absolutely miserable in my job and I can't pretend any longer. I go through the motions as if I love what I'm doing, but I simply don't feel appreciated. Everything I do, somebody else gets credit for."

Does this strike a familiar chord? On more days than not, do you feel as if you cannot continue working under the present circumstances? Do you pretend that you enjoy what you're doing but the reality is quite different?

Her outburst set the tone for our work together. She related to me how she works so hard, has put in many years of service, is well-paid but feels underappreciated as well as invisible and without a voice. When she attends team meetings, she feels her input is minimized although, by her account, she offers a more knowledgeable view than the one being accepted. She feels insignificant relative to the managers and supervisors who attend these meetings and who have, by virtue of their titles, far more clout than she has.

Maxine decided to go back to work after her children were born. She elected to have a flexible work schedule so that she could be available to them and her husband. The company that hired her agreed to let her choose the hours she could spend working at home and the office. If there were times when the schedule would need to be altered for either her needs or the company's, they both agreed to be flexible. At the time, she was elated at the opportunity to have both a career and a stable home life without anyone being the loser.

Years later, Maxine now has a different view. She has been overlooked for promotion many times and is not climbing the career ladder. Why? Maxine is simply not in the office enough hours during the week to have the continuity and collegiality she needs to become a visible and significant member of the team. She does not put in enough time in the office to have continuity of presence and become part of the office conversation. While she is given projects to work on, she doesn't have a commensurate title that will give her the status or the power of those who are the movers and shakers of the company. …

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