Wednesday, 26 July 2017

An Open Letter To Management - From Working Mothers






Dear Management,



We did not suddenly lose vital brain cells when we became mothers.


Nor, upon resumption from our maternity leaves, did we become delicate porcelain pieces easily broken at the vaguest suggestion of a critique.


Moreover, prior to taking whatever breaks we deemed necessary, we were hard-working, high functioning professionals who consistently provided undisputed value to your organisation. 


And that has not changed.


Indeed, our competencies have not deteriorated because we decided to prioritise our mental or physical health and eliminate stress-related ailments.


We are not asking for the impossible. We just want the flexibility to discharge our duties, while also taking care of our families, so that we can continue to hit those key performance indicators that justify our tenures in your establishment.


So before you dismiss this letter as yet another feminist rant worthy of scorn, the points below plead our case: 



1) We are competent professionals but humans first







We would not apologise for deciding to have children. We are life-givers.



Yes, we realise that it is a choice we freely made; we know that not every female employee might choose the path to motherhood. 


Still, that does not mean that we are demanding preferential treatment.


For example, how is it 'preferential treatment' to be given extra time—upon strict medical instructions—to recuperate after complications at childbirth? We would do your organisation and ourselves a disservice, if we do not completely recover to perform at peak performance upon resumption.


Do not force us to choose between our families and your toxic, uncaring work environment, because we would leave in droves.


We are humans first.


Remember that the 21st-century work environment is a human workplace, whereby the allure of value for both the establishment and employees is undeniable.


Therefore, if we feel unappreciated, under-valued and are covertly penalised—by unfounded criticisms, poor performance reviews and delayed promotions—for the time taken off to attend to family matters, even when we continue to go over and beyond in our duties, we will research other fairer, more flexible work cultures and abandon ship. 


Empathy for our family circumstances goes a long way. When it is genuine, we would trust you, remain loyal and would include those discretionary efforts that boost productivity and increase profitability. In other words, we would become highly engaged at work.


In a statement that you would appreciate: The benefits of engaged employees make the strongest business case for treating us as some of your most valued partners. 




2) Life happens








It is a fact for us working mothers that there would often be circumstances concerning our families that we cannot control.



A child might become gravely ill at four a.m. so we would be unable to get to work a few hours later to deliver that big presentation to your top client.



Or a husband might be involved in a car accident at lunchtime and may require immediate surgery.



Or other family crises may hit, often at the busiest or most challenging points in our careers.



We would deal with such scenarios with the strength, grace and faith we can muster but deal with them we must.



Thus, despite our most precise plans to juggle family obligations and work commitments effectively, life happens.



In those situations, we would do our best to limit disruptions to our work while we deal with our family matters. Nevertheless, we would be grateful for your understanding.



Your directors giving us ultimatums, or our bosses verbally issuing loosely veiled threats that our priorities 'do not align with organisational goals', and  consequently, that our jobs are no longer guaranteed, would not be forgotten.



For you executives who have families or are lone working parents, switch your situations with ours in those trying moments. Now tell us if your chief concern would be a deal you must close or a report you must present.



Life happens.



And life happens to us all.
  




3) We cherish a culture of meritocracy






We have read the facts about the struggles of women in corporateville and know from experience how difficult it is for women to be appointed CEOs. We are also aware that women are rarely promoted to the C-suite.


We are often at the mercy of your Big Boys' Club (the powerful, close-knit group of male executives that calls the shots) when it comes to our professional advancement.


We concede that we have come a long way from the era of the suffragettes in the early 20th century, when women took a courageous stand to campaign for equal voting rights.  We are grateful that things are changing...albeit slowly.


Yet, we would like you to consider a culture based on equity and meritocracy. Allow us to be promoted, recognised or celebrated by objective markers such as meeting (and exceeding) our targets, increasing profitability by X%, expanding your operations in new markets, or cutting costs by Y%.


No, we do not want to 'take over' the Big Boys' Club. Based on our consistent performance, moderate temperaments, and conflict-management skills, (we have saved your top male cronies from many a public relations scandal), we just want seats at the table where key decisions are made.


Then when we have earned our stripes of excellence, ensure that we are rewarded.


Your company will not be praised as a beacon for diversity if your high achieving working mothers rarely progress beyond a certain level.


Thus, you should create policies that promote the advancement for women based on merit.





Make progress with such principles and watch how those positive ripple effects reverberate in your organisation and beyond your corridors.






Conclusion




So dear Management, the fact that we are working mothers who are requesting for the flexibility to do our best work, or who would be required to attend to family crises when they occur, does not make us irresponsible or unproductive.


It makes us human.


Since the modern employment relationship is strengthened or weakened by human decisions, we hope you consider our views as valid for further deliberations.


We have been one of the most loyal groups in your establishment thus far.


Help us to help you ensure that it stays that way.


Now over to you: What are your thoughts about the concerns of working mothers?


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N:B- First image courtesy of Jk1991, at freedigitalphotos.net. Second and third images courtesy of Stuart Miles, at freedigitalphotos.net. Fourth image courtesy of Iosphere, at freedigitalphotos.net. Last image courtesy of Vlado, at freedigitalphotos.net.


2 comments:

  1. Hi Lucille,

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    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Anuj,

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      Delete

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