Posted by: skyward | August 17, 2008

Diversity, a Nice Concept, But….

My co-blogger made his second ER visit in five days.

As my husband rushed Daniel to the hospital in the dark, I stayed at home with our little girl.  Well, precisely speaking, the two of us were dreaming and snoring.  Of course, our daughter, who learned about her brother’s ER visit in the morning, complained about staying behind; apparently, she missed the thrill and excitement, plus some viewing of the Olympics in the waiting room like before.  (We don’t own a television in our household.) 

Well, readers, you can already tell that my co-blogger is alive and well.  He is, to make a long story short.  Once again, he woke up in the middle of the night, suffering from agonizing pain.  The advise nurse my husband had consulted urged him to err on the side of caution. 

In fact, this last week, both our children became sick.  Thankfully, I’m currently outside the workforce.  Not too long ago, I completed my contract work for an out-of-state law firm.  It turned out to be a stimulating job, which allowed me to participate, though indirectly, in international patent infringement litigation, all the while working from my kitchen table. 

Yes, it was a telecommuting position –a rare opportunity in the conservative (according to my view) legal community.  The suit involved a few multinational corporations, and I had the privilege of working with multiple Japanese-speaking attorneys from various cities across the U.S.  Some, like myself, were mothers with young children, and we enjoyed comparing notes.  Now that our project is over, we exchange e-mails about how challenging it is for us to find telecommuting attorney positions. 

Working out of home itself is hardly an alien concept in contemporary America.  Yet, the reality we face as mommy-track lawyers remains harsh.  As much as we cherish motherhood, we strive to build our own identity outside the family sphere; in so doing, we inevitably find that achieving a life-work balance remains a perennial issue in the professional community.

I sincerely hope (and I believe I speak for many others) that more employers willingly consider telecommuting as an option.  Yes, I admit –telecommuting would be a compromise from the employer’s perspective.  However, simply because it is not necessarily an “ideal” situation, the concept should not be readily dismissed. 

Moms are not the sole advocates of work-at-home opportunities.  Consider many other groups of potentially talented and dedicated but under-used workers.  Perhaps the disabled.  Perhaps those caring for elderly parents.  Recent years have observed a sharp increase of employers proclaiming diversity as a vital theme for their workforce.  But diversity means far more than a photo of a racially mixed group of individuals smiling harmoniously in a company brochure.  It should be practiced, not just preached.

Allowing workers the freedom to work remotely may be only one approach to bringing together “non-traditional” professionals and creating a more integrated, more dynamic workplace.  But it is an option worth considering.



  1. […] public links >> household Diversity, a Nice Concept, But…. Saved by yehwan on Sun 28-9-2008 Breaking the break Saved by justinknoll on Tue 23-9-2008 Free […]

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