The cover of U. S. News & World Report September 3 issue caught my eye yesterday when I took it in from the mail, but I didn't get a chance to read the cover story–"The New Mommy Track"–until lunchtime today. While I applaud the publication for giving coverage of innovative ways that women combine work and family, particularly women with young children, the focus of the coverage on lawyers, bankers, executives, and entrepreneurs who design gadgets that make a million implies that innovative solutions to the work/family dilemma are out of reach for women with less flashy job titles and descriptions.
About 14 years ago, when my youngest son was about to start kindergarten, I negotiated a telecommuting arrangement with my employer, a large healthcare system. It was the first telecommuting arrangement approved in that system. And trust me, I was not one of its lawyers or key executives. It worked really well for about seven years, and through two bosses, until I resigned to start full-time freelance writing. Four years into this arrangement, I published a short article in a national magazine outlining the steps to working out a telecommuting arrangement with an employer. I mention all this here as an encouragment to any woman who may have read the story in U.S. News and felt excluded from possibility.
If you'd like a copy of that article I wrote, "Homework," send me an e-mail and I'll send you back a copy. (You may find it a bit outdated in that it doesn't mention cell phones, but consider the date–1997.)